The global coronavirus pandemic has claimed far too many lives over the past few months and caused millions more to fall ill with the virus.
We have seen life change beyond recognition. We’re staying at home for the majority of the day. We’re working remotely. We’re homeschooling our children, maintaining social distancing rules when outside of the home and rethinking every single trip we take outside.
But despite all of this, there is a brighter side to COVID-19. The many eco-effects of Covid-19.
We’ve seen satellite pictures taken of Europe that show how much less polluted and cleaner our air has become, because of fewer people flying or driving. Newspapers across the world are reporting how wildlife is returning.
As we can’t go shopping as we used to and economic activity has been put on pause, there has been a significant drop in factory emissions.
It’s certainly very encouraging news for the environment.
But what happens when the lockdown is lifted? Can we maintain this positive effect to create a greener, cleaner planet?
The answer is, “Yes!” Here are some ways your business can take steps to maintain the ecological benefits of coronavirus and support the eco-effects of covid-19.
1. Get an EPC
If you want to reduce your business’ energy consumption, the first step is to gain clarity on your energy usage.
The most efficient way to do this is to invest in an EPC (Energy Performance Certificate). This will help understand your energy efficiency and also provide you with useful advice on how you can take steps to improve it.
But it’s not just your energy consumption that could drop when you get an EPC.
According to EPC For You, “Understanding your business’ energy usage and taking steps to become more energy-efficient can benefit your business in a range of ways such as; lower carbon emissions, reduced costs, and enhancing your brand image.”
These certificates are now a legal requirement when a commercial building is being built, sold or rented, so it makes good sense to have one.
2. Reconsider the commute
Thanks to the coronavirus, we’ve been cancelling non-essential trips, working from home and rethinking every single trip we take. This has resulted in a huge drop in carbon emissions from transport.
So why not help maintain these benefits by switching to a greener form of travel and asking your staff to do the same?
Instead of jumping into the car and driving to work, why not cycle? Or catch the bus or train? Or start a car sharing pool? Perhaps consider using Zoom or Skype to conduct those meetings instead of travelling?
Making these switches won’t just benefit the environment, either. It could also save you money, help you get fit and even help you make new friends!
3. Reduce, reuse, recycle
Another effective way to reduce your business’ impact on the environment is to follow the ‘3 Rs’: reduce, reuse and recycle. You’ll save your business money, lower your consumption of raw materials, reduce litter, keep plastics out of the ocean and lower your carbon footprint.
Here are some tips that should help:
- Ditch those single-use plastic items. Items like coffee cups, water cups and disposable cutlery often end up in the oceans or in landfill. Instead, use reusable coffee cups, water bottles and real cutlery, and ask your staff to bring theirs from home if they like.
- Only print when absolutely necessary. Do you really need to print that document? Or could you share electronically? If you managed to complete these tasks digitally during the lockdown then you can likely do the same now.
- Recycle. Place recycling bins in easy-to-access locations throughout your premises and encourage your staff to use them. Explain how to do this effectively if needed.
- Reuse old printed documents as scrap paper. Provided the document doesn’t contain sensitive or confidential information, you can simply tear it into pieces and reuse it for notes.
- Buy second-hand. Do you really need a brand-new scanner? Or a new monitor? Choose a Preloved item and you will be saving the earth’s valuable resources, reducing your carbon and energy footprint, saving items from landfill and saving your business money at the same time!
4. Adopt more energy-efficient practices
When it comes to our energy usage in the office, many of us aren’t as energy efficient as we could be. Our habits mean we waste energy needlessly and end up generating huge energy bills and carbon emissions. However, there are many easy, environmentally friendly changes you could make.
Here are some quick tips:
- Switch to energy-saving light bulbs or LED lights.
- Switch lights off when you don’t need them.
- Turn off equipment when they’re not in use
- Turn down the thermostat by just a degree or two.
Make your staff aware of these changes and encourage them to do the same.
5. Switch to a sustainable web host
Did you know that your business’ web host could be having a significant impact on the environment? They might seem innocent enough, but they actually demand a huge amount of energy in order to stay running 24/7 and to prevent overheating.
Usually this comes in the form of fossil fuels that power the data servers housed in those vast warehouses.
But there are many green, ethical web hosting services which operate on green energy and often make donations to charities too. Ethical hosts like Kualo or Green Hosting are good choices.
6. Invest in renewable energy
Thanks to continual advances in technology, green energy has become far more reliable and widespread than ever before. This makes it a great eco-friendly alternative to fossil fuels that will help keep our carbon emissions low and maintain some of the eco-effects of COVID-19.
Great ways to do this include switching to a green energy supplier or even considering installing on-site renewables, like solar panels or wind turbines.
Although they aren’t cheap when you first start, they soon pay for themselves in the long run. This makes them an intelligent way to save money whilst also taking care of the planet.
There are also numerous UK government initiatives that can help you find grants and additional funding if required.
To quickly recap, we can help maintain the positive ecological impact of the coronavirus by making small changes to our business habits.
To maintain these eco-effects of Covid-19, start by getting an EPC then embrace the ‘3 Rs’. Switch to green energy, consider a sustainable webhost, and rethink your transport – you’ll do your bit for the planet and save yourself money too.