The U.S. celebrated Earth Day on April 22, and in honor of the eco-friendly holiday, we thought we’d look at some ways in which businesses can reduce their carbon footprint by implementing cloud computing.

1) Reduces paper waste
Paper has been a staple in offices around the world for decades, but the cloud has dramatically reduced the need to create physical documents. While external communication may still require the use of paper, internal memos and messages can all be sent electronically now. Documents and files can also be stored and shared in the cloud, improving energy efficiency as well as security, as duplicates can be created easily in a backup server.

2) Reduces energy consumption
By locating computing infrastructure off-site, organizations do not have to run the dozens or hundreds of servers necessary to keep their business running, nor any of the equipment required to cool those servers. Cloud service providers host thousands of servers within their facilities, allowing them to utilize efficient processes available to them because of their bulk.

The cloud offers a variety of eco-friendly benefits to businesses.The cloud offers a variety of eco-friendly benefits to businesses.

3) Allows employees to telecommute
Companies using internal, on-premises solutions have a hard time offering their staff remote working options because of the security risks that can arise when trying to connect to the enterprise network from an outside location.

“If 40% of employees worked from home half of the time, American companies could save $200 billion.”

The cloud offers businesses the ability to secure their networks while still increasing accessibility and improving collaboration and productivity. And the benefits do not stop there. According to Kate Lister, an analyst with the Telework Research Network, if 40 percent of employees worked from home half of the time, American companies would realize $200 billion in productivity gains and $190 billion in savings from reduced real estate expenses, electricity bills, absenteeism and employee turnover. By cutting commuting by that amount, companies will also be able to save 100 hours per person, reduce greenhouse gas emissions by 50 million tons and save 276 million barrels of oil every year.

4) Take advantage of government incentives
If you are noticing a trend of money saving benefits, it is because it really pays to go green. The cloud helps to save organizations money on its own, but the residual effects of cloud adoption also lead to cost savings. Both local governments and federal agencies offer incentives for corporate energy efficiency, ranging from tax incentives to rebates. While many states’ cloud-related tax incentives pertain solely to service providers, there are a variety of grants and tax credits available for companies taking advantage of renewable energy systems and energy efficient initiatives.

Businesses that pay attention to their carbon footprints and take steps to be more energy efficient are becoming much more popular with clients, and implementing the cloud offers enterprises a way to not only benefit the planet, but the company itself. From energy savings to lowered costs, cloud computing is a win-win solution.