Going green makes sound business sense, especially considering the ever-increasing demand for IT infrastructure and, subsequently, energy. In fact, one estimate has IT-related energy demand increasing by a factor of nine between 2006 and 2025. Another projects that annual global center IP traffic will reach 7.7 zettabytes by the end of 2017 – a threshold of IT usage, like the unit of measurement, reaching unfamiliar territory.
The rising consumer demand for technology requires businesses to invest heavily in server resources and data centers that — according to a report from Pacific Gas and Electric (PG&E)— require 100 to 200 times more electricity than standard operating systems.
As populations grow and world economies develop, technology use will continue to increase dramatically. However, a high-impact, scalable energy efficiency plan will help your business prepare, and ultimately, save significantly on overhead.
Going green isn’t just a PR move signaling your business’ environmental awareness; it’s a bottom-line strategy that saves you money. Take the following steps to reduce your company’s environmental impact and establish smarter business practices.
1. Set Tangible Goals for Going Green
Energy efficiency is a core part of your business’s bottom line. That’s why it’s important to choose variables that reinforce core cost-saving initiatives. Start the goal-setting process by exploring the following questions:
- In what areas is your business positioned to grow?
- What infrastructure costs will be needed to support this growth?
- How can your business scale infrastructure as efficiently as possible?
The answers to these questions will help you set standards and commitments to tangible numbers. Ricoh, the sponsor of WorkIntelligent.ly, has established such a long-term goal: By the year 2050, the company argues that developed nations need to reduce their environmental impact to one-eighth of their 2000 levels, and has instituted programs to achieve that within the organization. Initiatives including plant-based plastics and biomass toners are contributing to these green goals.
2. Educate Team Members
Energy efficiency and going green is a process that takes practice, patience and commitment. Your executive team needs to be able to clearly explain why green initiatives are important and what employees can do to make a tangible impact.
Energy efficiency is a process that happens at all organizational levels – not just from the top down. Tell your team members why going green is important and what objectives your leadership team is hoping to accomplish. Team members can become excellent collaborators in setting standards, benchmarks, and best practices to guide your organization through this process. These employees can help you identify high-impact initiatives and put the appropriate programs in motion.
3. Understand the New Energy Star Standards
In December 2013, the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) launched an Energy Star certification program for data storage centers. Vendors of data-storage equipment can now designate eligible hardware as Energy Star certified.
“Differentiating energy efficient data-center storage equipment will help data center owners and operators select products that will save them money on their energy bills, assist manufacturers of efficient equipment in increasing sales, and will drive down the energy use of data centers,” said Robert Meyers, product manager for Energy Star Data Center Storage, in an announcement.
When shopping for new data-center equipment, look for the Energy Star logo, and consider the long-term effects when deciding which option to purchase.
Final Thoughts: Weigh Short-Term Costs with Long-Term Goals
Going green may require some up-front costs for your company. If you’re committed to the long-haul, however, those costs are turn back into your favor in the end. It’s important to look at both sides of the spectrum – what will you accomplish now, and what will be the impacts later? Both are key pieces of the energy efficiency puzzle – a puzzle that’s much easier to solve when you can show a real impact to your bottom line.