The IDC estimates that for every dollar spent on IT, 50% is spent on related energy costs.
Source: IDC, Worldwide Server Power and Cooling Expense 2006-2010 Forecast, Doc # 203598, September, 2006.
Certainly a business could spend a truck load of cash on building new, energy efficient data centres with the latest in ambient cooling technology and low power consumption servers. However, the majority of businesses are looking at how to go green with what they already have. Server virtualisation is perhaps the most talked about technique for doing so.
Perhaps it is not immediately obvious, but a Service Orientated Architecture is green. By focusing on the goal of having one set of application assets that effectively and efficiently serve the business needs and using those assets to the fullest, one is reducing computational and IT asset waste. Moreover, as the level of seamless integration with loose coupling grows, there will be some systems, or components of systems that are identified as surplus to requirements. As in, the Currency Transaction Report system is no longer required, because the logic is part of the customer initiated financial transaction orchestration.
Some other quick solutions to reducing costs are:
- Duplex printing. The maths is fairly straight forward, but if one has to print something, printing on both sides of paper nearly halves the amount of paper used.
- Turn off the desktop PC and monitors. Leaving desktop PCs running when not in use is a big waste of energy, the power saving mode is not nearly as efficient as the not turned on mode. We got into the habit of leaving machines on because it took so long for them to boot in the first place. If it is taking a long time for the desktop machines to boot, then check the configuration. Still taking ages, even after removing all the unnecessary start up stuff? Then use the time constructively, like going for a coffee. Talking about coffee…
- Use coffee Mugs, not disposable cups. How much time do disposable cups really save? How long does it take to wash a mug out people?
- Recycle inkjet cartridges. Many businesses still use inkjet printers. They can be the cheap and easy option to put convenient printing in a manager’s office. Recharging the cartridge is so easy these days. Some companies, such as castleink, give cash back for empty cartridges and will even pay for the postage!
- Opt for energy efficient light bulbs. Office lighting retrofits can be relatively inexpensive with quick ROI (five years or less). A lighting upgrade in one Pacific Northwest National Laboratory building resulted in annual electricity savings of $6,167 and 154,163 kilowatt-hours of energy.
- Control office lighting with timers and motion sensors. Installing timers or motion sensors on CFLs and T8s set to stay on for 15 minutes or more provides a good balance of light life expectancy and energy savings. However, rooms that are occupied for shorter periods of time (bathrooms, storage rooms, and so on) should be fitted with light emitting diodes (LEDs) or incandescents with motions sensors or light timers.
These are all simple, straight forward steps. Getting people involved is generally not an issue, particularly as they feel they are doing their bit for the polar bears.