Power costs: Green solutions to lower your IT spending

Lawrence Jones

Wednesday 1 October 2014

There’s plenty of help and advice available for those companies committed to sustainability through cutting energy costs

Technology research company Gartner estimates that IT departments spend around 5 per cent of their budget on power consumption. And, as Spiderman (and Voltaire) once said: “With great power, comes great responsibility.”

As fossil fuel resources dwindle and an increasingly turbulent political situation in energy producing regions affects future confidence, prices are only going one way.  As a result, reducing energy consumption costs could be the key variable in a company’s plans to return a profit.

In the UK, the majority of our energy still comes from fossil fuels but not for long with the Government targeting 15 per cent of our entire energy consumption from renewables by 2020.

Here are five ways your company can save money by cutting energy costs:

1) Thinking green is big business

UK Energy and Climate Change Secretary Ed Davey recently announced a £20 million fund to support organisations in reducing their carbon footprint.

Even if you aren’t eligible for funding, you can do your bit by choosing an eco-friendly energy supplier.  Companies like ecotricity specialise in offering businesses of all sizes access to a range of carbon neutral energy suppliers.  Facebook and Oracle are already making the leap, so why don’t you?

2) Cloud computing

Your data centre is likely to be one of the biggest users of power.  As size and complexity increases, so does the wattage.  Increasing usage of cloud computing solutions could reduce your reliance upon huge, power hungry proprietary servers. Public, private and hybrid options are available and the system can be built around your requirements, without compromising security.

3) Virtual reality

Desktop virtualisation could reduce energy consumption, while enabling more flexible working and improving business continuity.

If a virtual desktop solution is too much, a simpler remote-working solution can save time, money and energy. In addition teleconferencing, instant messaging and virtual document sharing platforms can all improve productivity while helping to save the planet.

4) Green hosting

Web hosting is an energy intensive business that uses huge, continuously cooled servers drawing on massive amounts of energy. Instead your company could consider swapping your existing supplier for one of the new breed of green hosts such as Memset which is 100% carbon neutral without compromising quality.

If you make the change, make sure your customers know about it.

5) Change your habits

Green IT is as much about behaviour change as it is about systems and suppliers. Successful carbon-reduction initiatives like 10:10 have shown the big impact that small actions can have.

Lead the change and show the big impact small actions like switching off monitors, turning off computers and printing only essential documents can have on the bottom line.