Is Videoconferencing Good For the Environment?
We often talk about how our audio visual communication solutions can improve employee productivity and team collaboration, but one benefit of our technology that we don’t shout enough about are the environmental factors.
Videoconferencing and the Environment
We did some searching around on this subject and found a study from the Carbon Disclosure Project (CDP) from 2010. This study found that an individual business implementing four telepresence systems can reduce its CO2 emissions by 2,271 metric tonnes over 5 years. That reduction is the equivalent to the annual greenhouse gas emissions from over 400 passenger vehicles. The 2010 study also estimated that US and UK businesses with annual revenues over $1bn could cut nearly 5,500,000 metric tonnes of CO2 emissions by 2020 as a result of deploying a total of around 10,000 telepresence units. These reductions are equivalent to the annual greenhouse gas emissions from over one million passenger vehicles.
How Do We Help?
The study got us thinking about our own impact on the environment, through our videoconferencing installations. We created a hypothetical case study of a typical customer and their use of a video conferencing solution and how much they’d save in CO2 emissions.
Let’s imagine this customer is an architecture firm, with offices in Guildford, Leicester, Manchester and Newcastle. They generally have 4 meetings per month (one at each location for health & safety, planning, collaboration and sales discussions), with the manager of each branch. We worked out the total of the journeys each manager would make for these meetings per month, in miles and time, and we got the following results:
- The Guildford manager travels 1,284 miles, using 23 hours of company time per month.
- The Leicester manager travels 828 miles, using 17 hours of company time per month.
- The Manchester manager travels 940 miles, using 19 hours of company time per month.
- The Newcastle manager travels 1268 miles, using 23 hours of company time per month.
To translate this into carbon emissions, we’ll say each manager drives an Audi A4 company car which gets, on average, around 45 miles per gallon. The total distance covered by all four managers in a month is 4,320 miles, so they’d burn through 96 gallons of diesel. Each gallon of diesel burnt releases around 12,183g of CO2, meaning their monthly total CO2 emissions just from commuting is 1,169,568g of CO2!
Of course, there are other environmental factors that we’ve not mentioned above. Most of the time in face-to-face meetings, attendees are accompanied by paper documents, printed just for that meeting. Reports, agendas and notes, ready to be typed up afterwards and thrown in the bin. There’s also the disposable cups from the water coolers and coffee machines, and if food is provided in the meeting, it’s usually done so on disposable trays, with paper plates, napkins and leftover food all going to waste. All of this is reduced or completely eliminated by adopting a video conferencing solution.