The business benefits of energy efficiency
Energy efficiency isn’t just a green issue, it makes good business sense – saving energy is saving money. Historically businesses have been concerned that reducing energy consumption inevitably means reducing capacity and performance, but this isn’t the case.
In fact, if you are not making decisions based on energy efficiency now, then you are likely to be left behind the curve: an Accenture study from 2013 found that
- 80% of businesses see sustainability as a route to competitive advantage in their industry
- 63% of businesses expect sustainability to transform their industry within five years.
Step 1 – Use what you’ve got, but better
Understand what’s using power, and focus on the quick wins
- Turn things off! Make sure that out of office hours, only the minimum number of devices are left on, or plugged in.
- Use stand-by settings. Computers can be set to sleep after a certain amount of time.
- Create a checklist of things that must be off before staff go home for the night.
Step 2 – Replace old hardware
Modern hardware is more efficient than older systems.
- Go Virtual: Virtualisation allows you to run multiple virtual servers from one physical machine, which eliminates the waste of servers running with spare capacity. A virtualised server can save you £250 / year in energy, and 3 or 4 times that in licensing and maintenance costs.
- Boost your performance: Solid state drives are more expensive than traditional spinning disks, but they use a fraction of the power, as well as being faster, more reliable and lasting longer.
- The power savings alone may not justify the additional expense, but the increase in productivity and efficiency will reduce your biggest overhead – employee time.
Step 3 – Embrace new ways of working
- Think about flexible working: according to the Carbon Trust, home working could cut costs by £3bn/year for businesses, and save 3m tonnes of carbon.
- Use remote meetings and collaborative tools.
- Take advantage of Video Conferencing and Telepresence. Quite apart from the energy saving – think about the savings in travel time and expenses.
- Desktop sharing, and real-time collaboration through tools like SharePoint Online and Google Apps mean that your staff can work together on documents just as easily via the web as they can in the same room.