Making ‘net-zero’ efficiency and office reality

 

Small strides toward energy efficient computing can have a large impact.

Economic instability has forced a number of difficult decisions onto the desks of business executives in recent years. Chief among them is the challenge of how to shrink operating expenses without fundamentally damaging commercial potential.

In many cases, this has spurred a reduction in human resources and a more conservative approach to investment. But amid these tough times, some savvy companies have found unique strategies for cutting costs in waysthey can be proud of. By promoting an ethic of sustainability in everything from PC power usage to building design, companies can gain a reputation for environmental stewardship while bolstering the bottom line.

Watch your intake
Technology is a vital component in today’s workplace, but it is no secret that rows of desktops and rooms of spinning servers soak up a considerable amount of electricity each day. So before companies can inch any closer to the status of an environmental leader, they must get a grasp on how much energy they consume – and how much they realistically need.

According to GreenBiz, simple concepts and habits can go a long way toward conserving power and lowering bills. Even the basic rule of powering down machines that are no longer in active use can have some dramatic effects. Project leaders should start with a well-publicized policy to set employees expectations, but contingency tools such as PC power management software should also be in place to sweep up the mistakes of forgetful employees.

Aside from regulating how devices are used, managers should also consider consolidating their inventory. According to Greener Ideal, migrating processes from backroom servers into the cloud can drastically reduce IT energy footprints, considering few if any office servers will need to be booted up around the clock.

Consider your output

Reducing PC power usage and consolidating IT inventory are both smart and effective strategies, but companies pursuing a truly net-zero office space will have to consider the other side of the equation as well.

Any business that wants to keep the lights on will have some form of energy intake, but there are several ways to offset thiswith innovative outputs. Solar, wind and thermal power generation can have transformative effects, but such projects are not always within the scope of a smaller organization’s current capabilities.

There is, however, an emerging class of energy saving computers and other devices that literally feed electricity back into the grid when their needs have already been satisfied.

What energy efficiency projects is your company eyeing for the future? What can be done to reduce consumption today? Let us know what you think in the comments section below!

Kate Beckham

Kate has been lighting up the blogosphere for over 5 years, with a keen interest in social media and new malware threats. When not sitting at a café behind her Mac, you’ll usually find her scouring the racks for vintage finds or playing guitar.