Going beyond going paperless to save energy - Our Daily Green

Thursday, August 28, 2014

Going beyond going paperless to save energy

paper tiger
image courtesy of : wikimedia commons
Going paperless is a mantra of many cost and environmentally conscious folks. We embrace the opportunity to utilize email for communication. We use email to receive everything from jokes, to sales fliers, to family news, to corporate communication. If you've embraced paperless communication in order to lessen your impact on the environment, you're ready for the next step.

Even less paperless communication. Yes, you read that right. Email has become a "paperless tiger", loading up our inboxes with an unending stream of communication. Ask any business person what wastes more time in the day than anything? Going through email. According to an independent study by Atos Origin
...the average employee spends 40% of their working week dealing with internal emails which add no value to the business. In short, your colleagues only start working on anything of value from Wednesday each week. Our own analysis found worrying levels of email traffic: of 95,000 emails sent, 75,000 were internal, while 68% of the 127,000 received also came from internal sources. 
It's not just the issue of time, there is actually a carbon footprint to all that sending, opening, reading, or deleting email followed by a repeat every single day. Projections from The Radicati Group estimate that in 2015, the average business person will handle 125 emails/daily, up from 105 in 2011. Each email sent uses about 4 grams of carbon, which doesn't sound like much, until you extrapolate those numbers per person, per email, per year and suddenly, the average person emails the amount of carbon equal to a 200 mile car trip. We're not advocating to stop emailing, but rather email intelligently.

Considering the amount of useless emails we send and receive, it shouldn't be difficult to cut that number in half. Here are some tips from SingleHop cloud computing:
  • Stop hitting reply all. Often, a conversation between two people need not involve an entire email list. 
  • When you email, you do not need to contact everyone in your address book. Instead, judiciously send to those who need to know. 
  • Search your email by keywords instead of asking someone to resend a document that was buried in those 100+ emails from the day before. 
  • Unsubscribe. Often, whenever we shop for something online or research a topic, our email gets entered in a database and we receive daily notifications. It's just as easy to go to the website instead of have the website come to you in an email. 
  • Get up and walk over to someone's desk instead of sending an email. Talk to your co-workers face to face. Think of the number of emails that are generated that may have simply needed a 2 minute conversation. 
Taking these steps to reduce our paperless output could make the words "You've Got Mail!" a welcome thought, in addition to saving the planet.

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