Beat the Texas Heat With 3 Tips on How Your Business Can Remain Sustainable
Are you feeling the pain from this never-ending summer? Despite the cold front we got yesterday (with rain, finally!), temperatures are still hot so it doesn't matter whether you're inside or outside, wherever you are, it's hot (and if it's not then your AC bill will debilitate you more than the heat). So how is the heat in Texas impacting businesses? Well, it depends on how you've set up your infrastructure and sustainability model. And if you're not sure, we pride ourselves on helping companies achieve (or even start!) your sustainability goals.
***Stay tuned at the end of the blog for practices you can start implementing today to protect yourself from the scorching heat***
Heat index numbers are rising and as of this last week (before our rain showers last night!), most parts of Texas have had less than 1.25 combined inches of rain since May 31st and our power grids are feeling the strain (National Weather Service). While our grids in the south are engineered to withstand these higher temperatures (which we saw the polar opposite—pun intended—strains in January of 2022), the prolonged exposure to heat can cause significant issues down the road. Even though air conditioners are cranked down (which stresses the power grid), businesses are still seeing repercussions to the heat index across Texas.
On top of that, workers at small and midsize businesses in Texas' tourism, entertainment, and recreation sectors — all dependent on the outdoors — worked 20% fewer hours between mid-June and mid-July this year than they did in the same month between 2019 and 2022, reported Gusto economist Luke Pardue. Furthermore, if the heat continues as predicted through the end of next month, Texas' gross state product will take a $9.5 billion hit — equivalent to a 0.47% lower growth rate — economist Ray Perryman told The Wall Street Journal. That's a lot of zeros negatively impacting your business.
So yeah, we're feeling some heat. With 4 locations across Texas, Centre is right there with you. But the weather doesn't have to keep us out of the game. You can still work towards and succeed at your goals even with the unrelenting heat.
3 Sustainability Tips for Your Modern Business
We understand why you're working towards sustainability as a company. By implementing sustainable practices, not only will your organization reduce your footprint on the Texas environment, but you will also prove to customers, partners, and communities that your reputation is built on working towards a lasting and impactful future. You're enhancing customer loyalty, improving financial stability, and attracting a more skilled workforce.
Besides, this isn't just a local issue but a Texas issue. In June, the federal government announced more than $50 billion to help Texas communities become more resilient to climate impacts like heat waves. This money will be used to create a more sustainable future for businesses and communities alike. You have the opportunity to contribute to providing a better future while still achieving business goals despite the summer heat in Texas. Our creative IT solutions and partners will help you not only accomplish your goals but contribute to our state as well.
1. Utilize Cloud SolutionsWe could go on and on about cloud sustainability. But there are 4 main reasons why the cloud should be your go to when assessing your first steps into sustainable development.
- Better Infrastructure. Cloud computing data centers also use less wattage to provide back-up power and cooling for their data centers due to superior hardware setup. These data centers are designed at scale and built for efficient energy use to achieve optimal utilization and temperature.
- Remote Workforce Options. When your employees are in the office during the summer months, ACs are running on full blast. By utilizing the cloud during prolonged 100-degree days and sending employees home for consecutive days, you lessen your impact on the local power grid and it allows you to hike up that AC a little more, decreasing energy bills each month. Employees don't have to get out in the heat, you save money, and the power grid remains in tact for another summer. Win, win, win.
- Reduce Electricity Use. Using traditional hardware requires constant maintenance and as long as they're in use, consistent power supplies. By moving to the cloud, you'll save immense electricity costs. A case study done by the Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory projects that moving business software such as email, CRM, and more (on a national scale) to the cloud can save enough electricity each year to power Los Angeles for 12 months. This means the cloud would lower the total energy consumption of these software applications by 87% (sourced from MissionCloud.com).
- Reduction in Climate Impact. Hardware and traditional infrastructure use a lot of energy, that's obvious. But that energy contributes to a higher carbon footprint for your business and regardless of what industry you're in, the higher your carbon footprint, the less climate-conscious you are. But migrating to the cloud, you improve efficiency and, as an added bonus, contribute a smaller carbon footprint. Companies are doing this nationwide, committing to lessening carbon emission by so many percent by 2030. Be a part of that change!
2. Invest in Sustainable Partners
This is daunting, we get that, and it can take time to implement some of these practices. As an SMB there's a lot of things to consider, and with limited staff, you can get overwhelmed. Whether you fit that mold or not, partnering with other organizations is a near requirement to build out your sustainability long-term. But don't forget, it is paramount that you align yourself with like-minded individuals in your quest for becoming a sustainable business. It's the age-old "teamwork makes the dream work" adage. Without a common language, the goal is never met.
As an example, at Centre, we align ourselves with partners like Microsoft and VMware who harness robust technology and work daily to create a sustainable future. We're backed by their technology and ensured by their dedication.
With a diverse and cloud-based goal planning process, our partners at VMware say "as of , we achieved 82 percent of our Scope 1 and 2 emissions reduction target relative to the  base year, 44 percent of our Scope 3 emissions reduction target for fuel-and-energy-related activities relative to the  base year, and 50 percent of Scope 3 emissions reduction target for employee commuting relative to the  base year. In addition, 52 percent of our suppliers (by spend) have at least committed to setting science-based targets." This means VMware has accomplished almost 50% of their goals and they're not even half way through their time frames. They are a great cloud solutions success story! By partnering and participating in their efforts, it allows for overall sustainable growth in your company and an optimistic outlook on accomplishing it.
Additionally, Microsoft's May 2023 report on their sustainability goals, they tout that "in 2022, our business grew by 18% and our overall emissions declined by 0.5%." While 0.5% decline is not substantial, it is the fact that despite their growing workforce (meaning more hardware and more energy company-wide usage, they still managed to decrease their emissions. On another level, their "Scope 3 reported emissions increased slightly in 2022, by 0.5%, despite a 25% increase in purchased goods and services due to business growth." While an increase should be bad, this statistic instead speaks to their diligence in creating a sustainable future for Microsoft. They purchase 25% more pieces of hardware, but that only increase them by 0.5% which should have created a near 1:1 increase in good to emission percentage.
Still, hopefully you see an important distinction in their report. Microsoft, a large and reputable technology company, made goals that are challenging to meet. They go on to say "we made ambitious commitments in 2020 and we knew that progress would not always be linear." Your process will not always be linear, but by investing in partnerships that share your passions, we're confident those aspirations will be met.
If you're curious about how partnering with cloud-based or future-ready and sustainable businesses, let us know. We want to see you sitting next to the right people, pursuing your goals with double the tenacity.
3. Prepare for the Future...Today
Complete sustainability is a long-game. Even Microsoft has speed bumps in their journey, but they forage on using practical preparation for the future months. Because guess what? Weather is messy. One January it's below freezing for weeks and the next year January is reaching peak heat temps. You can't predict the weather, but you can prepare now and put into practice some practical energy saving strategies. Consider these daily tips (in office and at home!) you can start doing today while you build out your tomorrow:
- Shut out the Sun. Close the blinds on the south and west side of your home during daytime hours. Studies have shown that approximately 40 percent of heat comes through windows during the summer.
- Increase Your Building Temperature. Now, not by much. Don't forget, as long as there are humans in the building, you need to make sure they can function appropriately. But a simple 1 degree temperature increase will make your energy efficiency jump by 3% and additional 3% per degree higher you go. We can also recommend investing in fans, but that will impact your carbon footprint as well, so tread lightly on your purchasing.
- Turn Off Unused Electronics. Are you a hybrid office? Are some employees at home? Then turn off their hardware! Turn off lights in unoccupied rooms and limit the use of electronics. Computers, TVs, and other devices can emit heat and use energy, even in standby mode.
We want you to know, we're right there with you as you navigate this. Centre is constantly striving to make an impact on SMBs and we want to make sure you're accomplishing your goals at all times, especially with such a worthy goal as creating a sustainable future. Like we said, it's a long game but it's worth it in the end. We hope you feel the same way, too.
If you need help, more tips, or just haven't been outside in a while and want to chat, contact Centre Technologies to get you started on your sustainability journey today!
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