Changing the way you use technology can save money and help save the planet for future generations
Our increasing dependence on technology is creating huge environmental problems across the world, but individuals and organisations can do a lot to rebalance the scales. Even by making some small changes, finance professionals can reduce their impact on the environment – and improve the bottom line.
Start by choosing energy efficient appliances whenever possible, whether it’s light bulbs or laptops. An energy-saving light bulb will cost more to buy, but it will use less power and last as much as 10 times longer. A laptop uses between 75 and 90% less energy than a desktop PC, and flat-screen monitors use a third of the power consumed by a cathode ray tube (CRT) monitor.
Check PCs, peripherals, and other devices for energy-saving options, such as ‘standby’ and ‘sleep’, and make sure these are enabled. Fax machines, for example, are often left on continuously, but are rarely used for more than an hour a day, while printers spend approximately 95% of their time sitting idle. To save money and conserve energy resources, turn these machines off if they are not being used for several hours, and turn off your monitor if you are not using your computer for 30 minutes or longer.
Don’t leave electrical equipment on standby overnight and at weekends. Even a device as small as a mobile phone charger can have a big impact, if enough are left plugged in and drawing power when not in use. If you switch off the photocopier before leaving the office you can save enough energy overnight to make about 1,600 photocopies, so it is worth turning PCs, printers, and other peripherals off at the mains when the office closes, and during weekends and extended holidays.
Think before you ink. Don’t send paper copies via snail mail when you can send a digital copy via e-mail. Don’t print unnecessary hard copies. Opt for 80g paper instead of thicker sheets. Reuse paper when possible. If one side is clean use it to print draft copies or make scrap notepads. Set the printer default to duplex, so that it prints on to both sides of the paper. Encourage yourself and others by putting recycling bins close to desks, printers, photocopiers, and faxes: make it harder to throw away waste paper than to recycle it.
Use recycled products. Recycled paper costs less to buy and takes less energy to produce. The cost of a recycled ink cartridge can be as little as 20% of a new one, and provide the same performance, print quality, and page yield for a fraction of the price. Most inkjet cartridges can be refilled an average of three times, while laser cartridges can be remanufactured indefinitely.
Give a little more thought to the way you use technology, and our increasing dependence on it doesn’t have to cost the earth.