Blog Feature

By: Jennifer Devitt on April 21st, 2015

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Happy Earth Day! 8 ways technology is supporting Mother Nature and protecting the planet.

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Happy Earth Day. Earth Day is a global initiative day to bring awareness on how to protect our planet. There are many who can argue Global Warming all day long, but the fact is that there are over 7 billion people in the world today, we all need to do our part to protect and appreciate the planet we live on.

Technology is a growing trend in protecting the environment. We have discussed before how going digital can save your business money, save a few trees as well as making your business more efficient. Let's discuss a few ways technology is supporting Mother Nature.

1. Paperless billing.  A 2007 study "2007 Online Banking and Bill Payment: Trends, Forecasts, and Strategies for Reinvigorating Growth and Adoption" stated that by going paperless 17 million trees were saved and 4 billion tons of greenhouse gasses were avoided. And, that was in 2007 when paperless billing was not as widely adopted as it is today. The study showed that if all households adopted paperless billing the annual benefits would be 2.3 million tons of wood saved or 16.5 million trees - A YEAR! I addition it would reduce fuel consumption, toxic air pollutants, reduce toxic waste water as well as lower solid waste.

2. Apple reduces carbon footprint. Apple one of the world's leading technology manufacturers is doing its part for the environment. Apple reports that 100 percent of it's US operations use renewable energy, 100 percent of its data centers run on renewable energy and 87 percent of its Global Operations utilize renewable energy, And, Apple just purchased a forest! Yes, you read that right. Apple partnered with The Conservation Fund to purchase 36,000 acres. Apple's goal is 100 percent paper packaging from renewable sources.

3. Nest thermostats. Today for every Nest Smart Thermostat purchased the company will make a donation to the Arbor Day Foundation to plant five trees! We are proud owners of a Nest, which I reviewed back in 2014. Nest is a learning or smart thermostat that learns your patterns to save energy. It will show a green leaf when you select an energy efficient temperature. Nest provides monthly status updates on energy uses.  As we discussed in January of this year Nest will work with your Whirlpool appliances to create more energy efficient cycles.

4. Paperless offices. There are many ways to go paperless in an office environment. Yale University has made strong strides. In 2011 the university used over 211,000 reams of paper which is equivalent to 12,662 trees! In 2012 they cut that down to 203,000 reams.  Yale is using digital technology to save trees and money, By switching to digital time sheets, the employment office saved $100,000, the School of Medicine saved $92,000 by taking their course packets digital via iPads and the Finance and Business Operations office saved $60,000 annually by discounting mailing their annual report and making it available online instead. There are many ways companies can partner with developers to go paperless. They can use online forms, digital catalogs, digital time clocks, generate digital invoices, utilize online order management and more

5. Green Apps. The EPA has a website geared towards apps. It boasts 290 apps to help you understand and protect the environment! For example, Think Dirty is an app that can be used in the beauty and personal products industry to aid in selecting products with safest, most environmentally friendly ingredients.

6. Sustainable Farming. Disney is a leading innovator of sustainable farming/agriculture. In Walt Disney World's EPCOT center, there is a ride called "Living with the Land". Disney guests travel through a sustainable greenhouse powered by hydroponics, or growing plants without soil. This educational cruise through greenhouses as well as an available behind the scenes tour to show how Disney is supporting its theme park by using renewable energy and sustainable agriculture. Most of what is served in Disney's restaurants is produced onsite via the sustainable greenhouse.

7. Hybrid and electric cars. Hybrid cars produce 90 percent fewer pollutants and use less gas. Electric cars focus on renewable energy by using rechargeable batteries and they reduce air pollution and reduce green house gasses. Hybrids and electric cars reduce gas consumption worldwide.

8. Streaming. A 2014 study shows that streaming movies is better for the environment. It uses less energy and emits less carbon dioxide. Researchers from Lawrence Berkley University and Northwestern University found that by streaming instead of DVD's, enough energy would be saved to meet the equivalent energy needs of 200,000 households!

These are just a few ways that technology is helping to save the environment.  This Earth Day I invite you to take some time to think about how you can follow in Yale's footsteps and reduce paper usage in your office or switch to a smart thermostat to save energy. If we all do our part, imagine the money and trees we could save, the reduction in pollution and green house gasses. Tell me how your office has gone green. If you would like to discuss ways that software development can make your office more environmentally friendly, contact us today. Now go outside, take a deep breath of fresh air and hug a tree in thanks!