Home > Carbon Reduction Commitment, Green IT > To turn it on or to turn if off overnight? But why wait for legislation to make the ‘right changes’?

To turn it on or to turn if off overnight? But why wait for legislation to make the ‘right changes’?

I read about the Carbon Reduction Commitment (CRC) legislation on a website, which is due to come into effect in April 2010.

The CRC affects major supermarkets and high street chains, as well as other private and public sector organisations who consume a lot of electricity.

But why have organisations had to wait for this legislation to make the right changes to reduce their energy and carbon footprint?

I once worked with the Rising Tide voluntary organisation (please see website link 1 below), and we actually went out on a mission at night to see which businesses left their lights on. I prefer not to say who, but there were quite a few from different business sectors.

However, some had automatic settings installed to turn the lighting off at a particular time (a bit like power management for a PC you might say…. Green IT!), others used low energy light bulbs (a bit like putting a PC into sleep or hibernate mode, or having an energy efficient PC which uses less electricity …Green IT yet again!),  a few only had the lighting in the shop/office window displays  and others (I was told) needed them for the security purposes.

There were a few where it seemed the lighting was not needed, such as those near street lighting or where the lights were left on across the entire office floor.

The organisation which had the entire floor lighting left on had one person working past office working hours. Was the whole office lighting really needed for one person though?

There were even some plasma screens (notice the plural!) showing the same information in a few shop/offices window displays which were left on all night.  

  • How much energy is being consumed because of all this?
  • What are the reasons organisations do what they do?

Start thinking ‘reduce energy, reduce carbon emissions and reduce costs’.

Green IT again!  This is almost similar to those who leave their personal computers on overnight…..ish. Although I have to say, the most common reason I hear is because people do not want to wait for a PC to boot up first thing in the morning as it’s too slow. That all depends on the machine itself, connection to the network, what is running in the login script, etc.

To leave a PC running overnight is going to use up electricity and therefore increase the IT carbon footprint and costs. Again, some might say there is a need to leave the PC on overnight. For instance – to run updates, software updates, hardware upgrades, database scripts, etc. The main reason given tends to be because it is to cause less impact to the daily business activities….which is a good enough reason.  Is that the right option though?  

Personally, I feel people are so used to working a certain way; a change in behaviour is required. If you do have to wait a couple of minutes for the PC to boot up, maybe you can do something else during that time.

Where there are quick wins in Green IT, the savings in cost and IT carbon footprint can be made mainly by asking people to change the way they work.

It’s all about raising the awareness and using effective communication. Once people realise the benefits and start incorporating these changes, it all becomes part of the norm.

This is where a Green IT evaluation is required, which is basically an assessment of the business processes and systems. The right Green IT recommendations/solutions are then given to reduce the IT energy usage and carbon footprint. Those which will cause less impact to the business activities and meet the needs which are fit for purpose.

If you do need to have a system process running on after office hours, let’s say between 6pm and 8pm, there are a number of ways to automatically turn off the PC when it is not being used.  For example, settings can be applied to turn off PCs at a particular time (a bit like the automatic lights settings), or when there is detection that there has been no activity on the PC for a certain duration.

One of the buzz words in Green IT is power management.  Some PCs are already built with power management settings and there are some organisations which are controlling the power management centrally for all their PCs. The power settings can actually be done manually on the PC itself anyway, and this is what I advise people to do initially.

So whether it’s to turn off lights or PCs overnight, a sensible decision has to be made to reduce costs and carbon emissions. There are always going to be a number of choices to make which each have pros and cons. 

Reduce and Think Green.

WEBSITE REFERENCE

NO. WEBSITE LINK DESCRIPTION
1. http://risingtide.org.uk/ Rising Tide – Network looking at Climate Change

Author: Tripta Prashar
Company: Giving Time and Solutions Ltd
Company website: http://givingtimeandsolutions.com
Professional profile: http://linkedin.com/in/triptaprashar
Date created: 27 March 2010 11.30am

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  1. March 27, 2010 at 14:14

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