A global energy crisis is looming. Climate change is top of the news agenda and businesses everywhere are looking for ways to cut down on expenses. Going ‘green’ is a stated goal for many organisations, along with working more sustainably and reducing their carbon footprint. One great way to achieve all of the above is taking a good look at your IT systems and working out how to reduce their energy usage and make them operate in a more ecologically responsible way.
Responsible change for the planet and your pocket
According to some sources, average business energy consumption figures sit at around 10,000 kWh per year for a micro business; 25,000 kWh per year for a small business and 45,000 kWh for a medium-sized business. (SOURCE: What is the Average Business Energy Consumption in the UK? (smarterbusiness.co.uk). Of course, these figures will rise even more for larger businesses and multi nationals. This puts a strain on the finances, as well as the planet. Here are five top tips to help your business with going green and using energy more sustainably.
Knowledge is power
Knowing how much energy your business uses, as well as the devices and systems that are most power hungry, is a great starting point. After all, you cannot make meaningful changes without the correct information about what is happening where. Carry out an IT energy audit. This could include working out how many devices you are running, such as computers, printers, phones, scanners etc. Which ones consume the most energy? Are any older and could be replaced with a modern alternative that uses less energy? Can you switch to renewable energy anywhere, for example installing solar panels or sourcing solar-powered devices?
Outsource your IT
If you have fewer devices on site, you will, inevitably, need less energy to power them. Consider outsourcing elements of your IT support, for example cloud-based storage and virtual servers to replace back-up tech and physical servers. Take advantage of outsourced IT help desks, cloud computing, hosted phone technology and IT security functions. The associated costs can be offset against the energy savings you will see, plus you have the benefit of external IT expertise, advice and support. An outsourced business IT services company has the ability to spread the costs of energy usage across multiple clients to help lower the fuel bills.
Make people accountable
If you want your people to take going green seriously, make the initiative visible and people accountable for its success. Appoint a ‘green team’ from among your staff. Give them a mandate to carry out energy audits as per the point above, look into outsourcing IT business services and spread the word about responsible energy usage among the rest of the staff. Make sure that they have the support of senior management and are given the opportunity to report back regularly on their findings.
We have all read articles giving suggestions on how to save energy at home. Many of the tips provided can also be used in the workplace to reduce IT energy costs. For example, unplugging devices when they are not in use. Asking staff to power down computers and devices when they go for lunch or are away from their desk for extended periods of time. Turn the lights off when you are the last person to leave a room and switch to energy-saving lighting, such as LED bulbs. Aim to go paperless, encouraging people to think carefully before printing documents out – can they use cloud-based storage for important archives and files instead?
While many offices automatically gravitate towards always having the latest IT equipment on the market, this is not always necessary for the smooth running of a business. If an existing system is working well, wait a while before upgrading it. Talk to an IT business services expert to see what you need to upgrade straight away and what you can hold off on replacing for a bit longer. When you do replace IT equipment, make sure you dispose of it responsibly – many organisations offer a recycling service that enables ethical repurposing or reconditioning of older IT equipment. Speak to an outsourced IT business services company to find out more.