Buy Green, Live Green: Sustainable Manufacturers Worth Your Business

green-electricity-manufacturersRecycling, driving less, turning the lights off when you leave a room; these are all great ways to reduce your footprint and live a greener, more sustainable life. But, when it comes to green living, you might be forgetting about some very important factors. How green is your smartphone? Does your TV cause harm to the environment? Here’s what you should know about green electronics.

Look for the Energy Star Label

Developed by the United States Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), the Energy Star label helps consumers make smart, sustainable choices when making purchases. There are a variety of products on the market today that have the Energy Star label, like televisions, refrigerators, microwaves, home computers and washers and dryers. The blue Energy Star label is used to show an item’s efficiency. In fact, since 1992, products with the Energy Star label have reduced 2.5 billion tons of greenhouse gasses and also saved consumers a hefty amount of money on energy bills, $362 billion since 1992, in fact. Today, this program stands alone as the most successful energy conservation movement in history. Next time that you are shopping for a home appliance, be sure to look for the blue label.

Sustainable Smartphones

Apple is committed to looking out for the environment. That is why they have switched to using greener materials in their manufacturing process and have established a consumer-focused recycling initiative called ReNew. In 2015, 93 percent of the energy used by Apple came from renewable sources. But that’s not enough for the Cupertino-based business; they are striving for 100 percent. But Apple’s manufacturing isn’t the only thing that’s green about their business. Apple is also known for their streamlined packaging. More than 99 percent of the company’s packaging is recycled. They also have significantly less packaging than their competitors, which means less ends up in a landfill. Additionally, nothing for the iPhone or Apple Watch assembly lines ever makes it to a landfill, which makes the new iPhone a sustainable choice for green-minded smartphone users. Steady improvement can also be seen in the fact that the iPhone 7 Plus’ aluminum enclosure has reduced the greenhouse gas emissions by 55 percent when compared with the emissions from manufacturing the iPhone 6 Plus.

Eco-Friendly TVs

The television is a standard fixture of the American living room; nearly everyone has one. However, when TVs are discarded into landfills, it can lead to some big problems. Many old TVs are built with toxic substances like lead, mercury and cadmium, which can wreak havoc on the environment if not disposed of properly. There are dozens of recycling programs across the country that dispose and recycle old TVs properly. A quick search on the EPA’s website can guide you in the right direction. Today, manufacturing has come a long way and TVs now, more than ever, are safer. Not only are they safer, they are better for the environment, too. Vizio’s D39h-D0 D-Series 39″ Class Full Array HD LED Smart TV is the most sustainable on the market today and highest-rated in energy-efficiency by Energy Star. Whether you’re in the market for a new TV or looking for a sustainable way to recycle, your choices can impact the Earth.

Green Gamers

Yes, even video game consoles leave a footprint. However, some, like Playstation, lead the way in sustainability. In fact, Playstation has a lower lifetime energy cost than its competitors and the Sony console has an energy-efficient score of 100, the highest mark there is available on the scale. To put that into perspective, Nintendo’s Wii achieved a 67. Playstation is certainly leading the way as an eco-minded example that we can only hope other companies follow.

Change The Little Things For A Greener Planet

Nearly everyday there are stories out there about greenhouse gases, carbon emissions and environmental challenges. The issue most of us face is how to combat these startling statistics and help create a better future.

Do the Little Things

There are little things we can all do to make our homes and lives more energy efficient including:

  • Unplugging appliances when you leave a room.
  • Making sure you turn everything off when you are out of the house.
  • Putting appliances on one power strip so it is easier and more effective to turn off the power strip rather than unplugging each individual item.
  • Turning off appliances completely because standby mode wastes energy.
  • Going on energy saving plans through your power provider to save yourself money and the planet.
  • Trading out all of your light bulbs for energy efficient CFLs (compact fluorescent light bulbs).
  • Keeping your refrigerator cold and making sure the seals are current to prevent energy loss.

Update Your Heating and Cooling

Did you know that nearly half of the energy spent in your home goes towards heating and cooling costs? ENERGY STAR suggests keeping your HVAC units clean and updated. Changing your air filters regularly also will make a difference in the air flowing through your home and how your system runs. Additionally, you should get your HVAC system tuned up to ensure things are running smoothly once a year.

Upgrade Your Windows

Another topic to consider is the type of windows you have installed in your home.You can install energy efficient screens and windows to help maintain the temperature in your home. If you don’t want to buy new windows, Energy.gov suggests caulking or weatherstripping around the frames to prevent leaking caused by rain or other moisture as well as the escape of heating and air conditioning. If you are interested in energy efficient windows, do your research. There are many types to choose from including awning, casement, hopper and sliding. If you aren’t sure what works best for your home, contact a professional that can help you select the right type for your needs as well as help you with the installation process.

Consider Window Accessories

Installing awnings outside of your windows can help keep your house cool and create a nice shaded area in your yard. Awnings don’t have to be just practical either, but can serve as a design opportunity.

Similarly, window treatments offer energy efficiency and are cheaper than buying and installing new windows. Ask yourself: What window treatments am I using in my home? Is the drapery energy efficient? If the answer is no, you can make the switch with ease. There is such a wide variety of energy efficient blinds and drapery for the home. Try implementing solar shades, roman shades, drapes, blinds or vertical systems. Remember, saving energy can be beautiful. Create a comfortable, wonderfully designed home while doing your part to keep the planet clean.

Don’t make saving energy a daunting task. Try these small tips to help make the world a better place.

Getting the Most Out of BYOD From a Green Perspective

BYOD, energy efficiency, greenAccording to a Bureau of Labor Statistics survey, 75 percent of American businesses reported using at least one green technology in August 2011. The most common technologies used either reduced the creation of waste materials or improved energy efficiency, the survey found. Going green cuts business expenses, benefits the environment and generates goodwill. One growing tech trend, BYOD or ‘Bring Your Own Device,’ offers a range of environmental benefits that can green your business.

How BYOD Can Help You Go Green

At first, it may seem that allowing employees to view work content from their iPad instead of their company-provided desktop computer doesn’t have much to do with green technology. However, according to renewableenergyworld.com and empireone.com, BYOD can accomplish the following environmentally friendly goals:

  • Employees will print less when they can easily view work files on the go, at home and in the office.
  • Employees no longer need to maintain one or more personal devices plus one or more workplace devices, leading to less power consumed.
  • Smaller devices such as tablets or smartphones consume less energy than desktop computers.
  • Staff and management can work together to ensure that outmoded office technology is recycled or donated, helping to keep electronic waste out of landfills.
  • From BYOD adoption forward, business can enjoy greatly reduced electronic waste disposal, which benefits the environment.
  • Smaller devices require fewer raw materials, which slows the depletion of natural resources and reduces fossil fuel depletion transporting materials to manufacturing plants.
  • Old employee devices can enjoy second lives when wiped of sensitive data. As staff outgrow devices, they can recycle them to other family members, donate them to charitable organizations or keep one as a backup in case of device loss.
  • When employees have access to their business information from their personal device, they are less likely to forget an important document and require courier service, fax or scan transmission or other energy-consuming last minute solutions.

Getting the Most Out of BYOD

BYOD marks a big transition, and it will go smoother if you adopt a policy that outlines what this change means for employees, what types of devices and applications are directly supported and what level of oversight IT and management will have. An effective policy should also cover device activation upon entering the program, device deactivation if employees leave the company and how employees can report lost or stolen devices. Forty percent of small businesses do not enforce any type of BYOD policy, which creates vulnerabilities, according to windstreambusiness.com.

BYOD poses difficult questions for personal privacy, as employers require some amount of oversight over enterprise data stored on these devices. Blackberry offers solutions to the challenges of maintaining a business and personal balance with enterprise BYOD.

Employee attitude toward software updates and patching can put the business at risk. If an employee downloads illegal applications or clicks open a phishing email, the device could become infected with malware and your business data could be compromised. Enterprise protection measures such as firewalls and anti-virus software can offer some measure of protection, but aren’t comprehensive. A partitioning system that keeps enterprise assets safe and separate from personal assets or regular IT device security screening and updating can help mitigate business risks.