The term “green technology” conjures images of overpriced, uninspiring office buildings with unnecessary HVAC systems and rooftop greenhouses. But what if these ideas are completely off base? What if the best way to reduce carbon emissions is not in large office buildings with excessive amounts of air conditioning, but in homes with small windows and solar panels? Unfortunately, this is the case. Many companies use green technology without understanding its implications for marine life or local ecosystems. One company I recently interviewed was resolute that they were moving toward a more sustainable business model, but their policies were so prohibitive that it cost them market share. These policies included expensive and unnecessary employee fees, usage fees for certain products and services, and maximums on the number of employees they employed at any given time. A second company I interviewed implemented new management software that cost them up to 20% of their annual revenue to use. This article highlights 5% of the most common green technologies used by businesses and their negative effects on biodiversity and local ecosystems. If you operate an organization or are considering adopting a new business practice that could help reduce greenhouse gas emissions, read on to learn more about each of these technologies.
Greenhouse Gas Emissions
Greenhouse gas emissions from buildings and commercial operations are increasing, and there is a lot of debate around how to reduce them. The 2015 Global Biospecific Biodiversity Targets report states that 50% of greenhouse gas emissions can be eliminated through 2030. A more intense level of biodiversity will result, with more species being able to survive and thrive in an altered environment.
LED lighting is becoming more popular in offices, homes, and hotels, and it is often used in combination with solar panels and wind turbines. The amount of energy consumed by an average household with these setups is extremely small—estimated to be less than 0.5% of the total energy generated by the country. But these small energy efficiencies add up over time, and together with the fact that most homes and businesses have only one lightbulb per room, LED lighting has the potential to have a much larger environmental impact than previously recognized. In fact, LED lighting has been shown to have a much smaller environmental impact than traditional light fixtures. LED light fixtures do not require electricity to operate, emitting only half the amount of heat and water vapor as a traditional lighting fixture. Furthermore, LED light bulbs are made from a single electronic part, eliminating the need for transformers and circuit boards, as well as the associated air and noise pollution. Finally, LED bulbs do not produce any form of greenhouse gas emissions, making them a true “green technology” that has no negative impacts on the environment.
Solar panels are becoming more and more popular in residential and commercial applications, and they have the potential to power everything from homes to businesses without being replaced with a new electricity generator. The popularity of solar panels can be attributed to a number of factors, including the availability of cheap, energy-dense sunsets in places like Africa, the popularity of mobile phone apps that provide accurate solar forecast data, and the rise of internet-of-things (IoT) devices that can be used to automate solar panel installation and monitoring. However, the adoption of solar panels by businesses has been slow, and many companies are only now starting to realize the benefits of this technology.
Wind turbines are used to generate electricity, but in some parts of the world, they are also used to generate clean, sustainable energy. These turbines are often located in windy areas, such as the American Southwest, where Case-Shiller homes are common. There are many benefits to wind energy over traditional forms of energy, including its low impact on the environment and the fact that it is almost free. A single wind turbine can power as many as 10 houses, compared with the electricity generated by a large-scale power plant that would need to power thousands of homes. Additionally, wind turbines can be sited in places with poor access to power, like remote areas of Canada’s boreal forests.
Hydropower is one of the oldest forms of energy, and it has been used since the beginning of civilization. However, over the years, hydroelectric dams have been getting larger and larger, with the largest structures in the world spanning hundreds of feet. In addition to their size and power, dams also harbor a lot of aquatic wildlife that can become extinct or endangered as a result of increased dam constructions. Hydroelectric plants also produce a large amount of greenhouse gas emissions, including water flows that increase water temperatures, lost biodiversity due to displaced species and potential catastrophic flooding. When it comes to green technologies and their potential effects on aquatic ecosystems, hydropower is probably the most debated.
Big Data Analytics
Big data is a growing trend in business, and it has the potential to have a significant impact on people’s lives. But not everyone is convinced that big data has the potential to make a real impact on climate change. Researchers are exploring the role that big data analytics played in the relegation of Australia’s Great Barrier Reef to a disaster. Big data can also be used for social good, with companies like Oxfam using it to drive change and make an impact on global issues. However, big data can also be used for nefarious activities, like the PR campaign against bitcoin that was recently revealed to be using large-scale commercial data analytics. The potential benefits of big data for climate change mitigation and sustainable development need to be balanced against the dangers.
Another emerging trend in business is content marketing, which is intended to be used to drive both direct and indirect customer engagement. In theory, this method could help reduce overall carbon emissions, as content can be used to produce two types of marketing: awareness and emotional connection. Over the years, research has shown that both of these factors play a significant role in the adoption of products and services.
Green technologies are becoming more and more popular in the business world, with the most widely known being the adoption of solar panels and wind turbines. These technologies are also beneficial for the environment, but they need to be balanced with the potential for negative impacts on biodiversity and local ecosystems. As business leaders increasingly recognize the benefits of green technologies, they also need to evaluate the potential impacts of each new technology they adopt. By doing so, they can better decide which technologies are worth the cost, and which need to be left out.