In The Country Magazine
In The Country Lifestyle

Can technology help us live more sustainably?

We first sat down to write this in lockdown 3.0 and I think many would agree, it was the toughest one yet. More homeschooling, more isolation from family and friends but this time around with just the dark, short days of January as a distraction. Thankfully, we’re now enjoying summer sunshine, the pubs are back open and we’re (hopefully!) just under over one month away from all restrictions being lifted. 

 But all the extra time at home and a determination to be positive got us thinking about those little silver linings to the changes that Covid-19 has given us. In the first lockdown, road travel dropped by around 60% and air travel virtually stopped, at least in this part of the world.  Carbon emissions dropped for the first time in decades. People noticed the natural world around them as they walked or cycled with their family to get their daily exercise. 

Of course, it’s not realistic to suggest that we should all shun international holidays and sell our cars, but there are some positive changes for the environment which will stick around. 

Business travel may never return to the same level as before. Companies have found their staff can still sell and communicate without face-to-face meetings requiring expensive air travel.

It looks like ‘WFH’ is set to stay for many of us, as businesses both large and small announce they are reducing their office space for good. It’s predicted that a blend of office and home working will become ever more popular – which has to be good a good thing for our busy roads and air quality? 

black nova designs

So, back to our particular area of expertise, here at Black Nova Designs! Ask yourself… what enabled us to live and work remotely? It’s technology, of course!

Tech has transformed our way of working in the past 12 months and allowed businesses to pivot to online selling. Collaboration using Teams, organisational tools such as Trello or Monday and instant messaging apps like Slack mean many people can work without the commute.

It got us to thinking about how we can all use IT and technology to make our lives both more sustainable and easier. Perhaps we can do a little bit of good for each other along the way too? Even the littlest changes help! Read on for some ideas…

Save the trees!

If you run your own business, then you might find that you burn through paper at an astonishing rate. Sadly, printers and copiers use more energy than most other office equipment and research has shown that the average office worker uses 45 pieces of paper a day, only a third of which is really needed. Why not see what technology is out there to help you print less?

For example, your packing slips, order confirmations, manifests and so much more can all be automated and kept online. There’s even handy software for online document signing such as Docusign. Switch to smart packing materials too which can either be recycled or used again for something else – they are more affordable now than ever before. 

Upgrading old technology

Did you know that just like old cars, older tech is worse for the environment too? The older your computer technology is, the worse it will be for our planet as it will need more power to run. 

The same is true for all our technology – fridges, phones, TVs and more. Of course, you need to make sure your old technology is properly recycled and doesn’t end up in landfill when you do upgrade it. There are charities and organisations who can help you with this, so make sure you do a little research online.

If you fancy being really green (and having your paws on the latest tech at all times) you can even rent your computer.  The Carbon Trust has some excellent advice for smarter energy practices for businesses. 

Apps to help you live more sustainably

There are so many apps out there which will help you live a more eco-conscious and sustainable life, so we’ve picked our three favourites for you:

  1. Oroeco is an app which shows you the environmental impact of how you spend your money. It also helps you learn how to reduce and offset your carbon footprint in every area of your life, from transportation to food and drink choices.
  2. Think Dirty (an excellent name, we think!) is an app where you can scan the barcode of your toiletries and it will tell you how environmentally friendly they are, helping you minimise your use of harmful chemicals. 
  3. Good on You is an app which rates clothing brands on their sustainability credentials so you can shop ethical fashion with ease. 

Streamline your life

So, we’ve looked at how technology can make us greener, but what about how it could make life easier? We touched on this a little bit earlier, but the Covid-19 pandemic has accelerated the adoption of a range of apps and software which can help you save time and money.

For example, whilst some people can’t wait to get back to the gym, others have embraced online classes and fitness apps, and love working out at home. Even if your gym is only 10 minutes’ drive away, if you go 4 times a week you get 80 minutes back! 

For your personal or business finances there are apps such as Emma, which groups all your bank accounts and cards in one place, allows you to set budget goals, highlights wasteful subscriptions and even prompts you to save a certain amount each month depending on your income. 

If you’re on the hunt for apps to help you work with and organise a team, investing a small sum each month in a collaboration tool like Teams will make life so much easier. There are also heaps of different apps to boost productivity, such as Asana for project management, Evernote for taking and storing notes, Toggl Track for time management to Planoly for social media scheduling. 

black nova designs

Choose a web hosting company which shares your green vision!

Did you know that data centres and their cooling systems use a LOT of energy? Data centres are like a physical brain at the heart of the internet. They process, store, and communicate the data behind all of the IT that we rely upon every day, from streaming video and games to email, social media and websites.

Many hosting companies own the data centres, so if you can work with a website hosting company with sustainability aims and green credentials, you’ll be helping the planet in yet another way. It means your website and emails will be less harmful the planet and that company is taking positive action to be more sustainable. It’s exactly what we do here at Black Nova Designs for our web hosting customers!

Tech is here to stay, so make it work for you…

Tech is definitely here to stay, so we say let’s embrace it and use it to live a better life. Spend less time on the apps you know make you unhappy and steal you time, and more energy on streamlining, saving and boosting productivity.

If saving time by using apps means you get more time to enjoy hobbies like riding, shooting or meeting friends (those days will come again) then it’s got to be a good thing! Plus, if we can all make small changes which benefit the environment, they will add up to make a bigger difference. 

*This is a sponsored post, in partnership with Black Nova Designs, images by by Jasmine Punter Photography.

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