6 Ways you can cut your Technology energy costs – Now Mar 20, 2008 13:55 by John Sollars
We all have the environmental issues high on the awareness Radar these days, but I like most people struggle to juggle running a business with reducing my Carbon Footprint. Being slightly cynical I sometimes think that this Carbon Offsetting is a scam to take even more money off me. Green Taxes from the Government are just Taxes in a different guise, if they were actually set aside and allocated for Environmental projects that at least would be honest.
So, we are all aware that we have a responsibility to reduce our Carbon impact. Increasing fuel prices will probably contribute more to that than any individual initiative, but as a business we are committed to generate a profit whilst minimising our environmental impact (where possible and sustainable). If it is possible to achieve both of these ends simultaneously then it is a ‘no brainer’ and we all win both ways.
Any business person will have a long term business plan. Part of this should be reviewing your corporate practices from the top down with a view to maximising profit and minimising our impact on both the local and global environment. Some easily implemented ideas to achieve this are:
1. Turn Desktop PC’s off at night
This sounds like it is too easy, but according to research 80% of users end up turning off the default power management settings that ship with new PC’s within 60 days because ‘it gets in the way’. I’m guilty of that and will re-instate the power management settings today!. Many Enterprises leave their systems on all the time so that upgrades and security patches can be applied overnight when there is little or no network traffic – TURN THEM OFF when they are not in use.
2. Extend the Lifetime of Equipment
The average lifetime of a corporate PC in the States is 3 – 4 years. If you can extend this lifecycle, you will contribute more to the environment than you would by replacing ageing units with new more energy-efficient machines. A 2004 study by the United Nations University showed that almost 2 tons of material, including chemicals, water and fossil fuels, go into building the average desktop PC and monitor. That is more than the weight of the average family car, and, the study says, accounts for most of the resources and energy consumed over the machine’s lifecycle. Ten years ago the software that we used demanded buying the latest processor/memory combination to get the most benefit from the software, however over the past few years processor speeds have remained pretty static and the only real technology drivers have been in gaming. This means for the average business there is much less need to replace machines as often as previously.
3. Turn off Printers at night
Another ‘no brainer’ you’d think, all new laser printers come with a ‘sleep’ mode. Reduce the time to sleep to 5 minutes and start saving energy costs today. I’ve just been round all of our machines and checked the average sleep times which varied from 15 minutes to 30 minutes – they are all down to 5 minutes now.
4. Buy Energy efficient machines
As consumers, we can affect the way that technology evolves, by demanding that the manufacturers pay more heed to our justified environmental concerns. Most of the major technology manufacturing companies are now designing machines that generate less heat, use less power and use much less resources in the manufacturing process and are fully recyclable at the end of their life. When time does come to renew that (by now very old) machine, ask the relevant questions.
5. Replace CRT Monitors with Flat Panels
With the move from older CTR based monitors to flat panels a huge contributor to energy waste has died. Monitors used to generate more heat and use more energy than almost any other technology component in the average company – replace them as soon as you can afford to, it will benefit your office environment immediately with less heat generated, better quality screens meaning less eye strain and less desktop space taken up.
6. Stop Wasting Paper
I keep banging on about this, when you buy new printers, make sure that they can duplex (i.e print both sides of the paper), then set the default settings on on the printers to make sure that they automatically print in Duplex, rather than them having to select it as an option. You can halve your paper usage. Use narrower margins when laying documents out – what a brilliantly simple idea?. When allocating Network printers to users increase the number of users to each printer – check the capability of your printer and make sure that you are sharing it among the maximum number of users.
These ideas are not going to prevent the Icebergs melting and the eventual destruction of our rainforests, but they are dead easy to implement and can save you some money, so putting cash onto your bottom line and also act as a bandaid to assuage your conscience and I commend them to you all.