Even the smallest changes in the workplace can move businesses down the road toward becoming green companies. Just one simple change is to determine which is more environmentally-friendly: hand blow dryers or paper towels. The answer is slightly more complex than it first appears.
How Hand Blow Dryers Impact the Environment
The main factor that influences the impact of hand dryers is their source of electricity; obviously, fossil fuels have a far greater environmental impact than renewable energy. The average dryer uses around 2,200 watts of power to run, which means for the 30 seconds it takes the average user to dry his or her hands, the dryer uses 0.018 kilowatt hours of electricity, according to Livestrong.
How Paper Towels Impact the Environment
The effect of paper towels on the environment depends on factors such as the material with which they are made and how they are disposed. For instance, most enter a landfill, where the waste decomposes in an oxygen-starved environment and releases methane.
Deforestation is less of an issue with paper towels as most are sourced from commercial forests that are regularly replanted; however, the process of logging, milling and transporting materials consumes significantly more fossil fuels than the manufacturing and transportation of hand dryers, which typically only require replacement every 10 years. This being said, recycled paper towels may cut energy use by up to 40 percent, according to an EPA estimate.
The Best Option
Generally, hand dryers are the more ecological choice as they cause between 9 and 40 grams of carbon dioxide emissions per use compared to the average of 56 grams of carbon dioxide emissions for paper towels, reports Climate Conservancy.
However, the best option of all for green companies is to use the newer, high-speed models of hand dryers. These are extremely efficient and blast cooler air than traditional models. These two factors combined make such machines as much as 80 percent more efficient than the hot air dryers of the past.
When building or remodeling a structure, it is important to select green building materials for your project to ensure you meet the requirements for a green building certification. Fortunately, many of the products in today’s marketplace meet EPA standards for green certification while providing durable and aesthetically pleasing options for your project. In order to meet green standards, materials are evaluated using the following criteria.
Indoor Air Quality
To receive a green building certification, materials must provide customers with the highest standard for indoor air quality. This means minimal chemical emissions with few or no carcinogens. These products resist moisture, reducing the likelihood of mold growth. Additionally, they can be successfully maintained and cleaned with minimal chemical treatments.
Reusable or Renewable Resources
Green building materials are made from either recycled or renewable sources, which reduces deforesting and waste. Additionally, these items are often manufactured or harvested locally and can be broken down and reused, completing the Life-Cycle Assessment. To meet these criteria, materials must be certified by an independent third party.
Green materials reduce the amount of energy consumption required to operate a home or office. They incorporate alternative forms of energy, thermal efficiency, load reduction and energy waste reduction to minimize the energy footprint of a home or office. Furthermore, these products are manufactured using energy efficient technology and methods.
Water efficiency is particularly important in commercial structures. To meet green building certification, products must have been manufactured using techniques that prevent pollutants from entering into the local water supply. Products reduce water waste by managing internal systems for maximum efficiency and use. These materials will also assist with the recycling of non-potable water for use in site irrigation systems.
For more information about green building certification, contact us at Class G.
You would be hard-pressed to find a company that could not benefit in one way or another from using green practices in one or many parts of their distribution chain. Very often, this distribution chain involves shipping of some kind, which can prove to be difficult to optimize. However, properly implementing green shipping protocols can save on energy consumption, and translate into dollars in the long term.
Here is a short list of green shipping practices that can improve sustainability and profitability in the long and short term, and can lead to an inexpensive and meaningful green certification for business:
- Route optimization: Ensuring all shipping uses the best route possible will decrease fuel usage, and result in less air pollution. Use of one of the many options in delivery route software can help plan efficient routes and make changes on the fly. You can also pair shipping needs with correct vehicles and ensure packages are stocked by location. Use return trips for pickups whenever possible.
- Better delivery practices: The United States Postal Service has stated that one of its largest green initiatives is the encouragement of foot deliveries among their employees. Encourage your employees to park their vehicle, and simply walk the deliveries when possible. This also promotes employee health by exercise.
- Minimizing waste: One very critical way to minimize the amount of waste used during shipping is to go digital. Updating equipment for electronic signatures can allow for more efficient tracking as well as delivery confirmation – without any paperwork. Use smartphone applications like those from JumpStart Wireless to enable your field staff to exchange information with the home office – without having to come into the office and transfer paper forms to computer data. This improves productivity and enables quicker billing for better cash flow.
Class-G offers a green certification for business shows how much you value sustainability to your clients, customers, prospects, vendors and community. Class-G enables anyone to get their business certified based on current practices, in addition to suggesting green practices to further increase sustainability.