10 000 computers left on overnight produces 2 600 tons of carbon dioxide. And 64 000 trees would need 10 years to absorb all that CO2. We hear facts like this all the time coupled with images of distressed polar bears stranded on shrinking sheets of ice. But let’s convert these statistics into a language we all understand: Money. 10 000 computers left on 24/7 amounts to R1,3 million in wasted energy.
That’s what Tim James, founder and director of sustainable IT, specialises in. He identifies where a business’s habits waste energy and cost money, then sets about creating efficient systems that reduce carbon emissions and saves money, lots of money. “Efficient IT is not just about saving the world, but saving the money that makes the world go round,” he says.
The numbers game
But you’re a small business with a photocopier, a printer and a couple of desktops. That’s nowhere near the scale these statistics are based on. True. But each device costs between R150 and R300 in wasted energy. Add up all your devices and they start producing numbers that make you take notice.
In the future carbon taxing in South Africa will take the form of the carbon tax recently passed in Australia, meaning your small business may not be first in line to be taxed, but when it comes around you’ll be looking at forking out R150 for every ton of CO2 emissions.
Going green doesn’t mean you have to change your equipment or use green consultants. As with all things in vogue, they’re often expensive and not always all they’re cracked up to be. Tim suggests the following fixes guaranteed to make a difference to your energy use:
It’s that simple. It’s a misconception that all computers need to stay on for maintenance by IT departments after hours. Identify the ones that can be switched off, and do it. Alternatively, use tooling that can shut down and wake PCs remotely. This goes for printers and photocopiers too.
2)Optimise your server
A server doesn’t need to operate at full capacity all the time. Identify when your server is used at its peak and for housekeeping like antivirus and index checking, and calibrate. You could cut your data center energy by 12%.
3)Kill unused software
This is not just an energy saving issue, it’s a matter of saving on license fees and maintenance costs.
4)Check out team green
There are many businesses claiming to be green or offer green products. But scratch a little below the surface and they’re not what they claim to be. Do your homework and make sure that the business you are using or partnering with practices what they preach.