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Reducing carbon dioxide emissions and saving costs through IT Power Management

November 13, 2010 1 comment

Large organisations can make HUGE savings in reducing the IT energy wasted.

Ideally, all organisations should have policies in place which state a PC should be turned off or put into a low power mode when not in use. Practically, this does not always happen though. This can be addressed through effective communication and marketing though.

As mentioned in earlier blog posts, IT is an enabler to other organisations in reducing costs, reducing energy usage and reducing carbon emissions.

Electricity prices are rising and organisations are generally looking for cost saving measures. It is therefore best to apply PC power management settings.

However, it seems (as I’ve been told many times!), setting an individual’s own PC’s power management to sleep/standby (depending on the machines operating system) or hibernate mode appears to confuse some users and is not as user friendly.

There are a number of software products that can:-

  • automatically power down PCs
  • close down applications
  • encourage user engagement
  • measure energy consumption
  • provide reporting
  • save open documents

Some provide more accurate measurement and auditable reporting, as is required for the UK’s Carbon Reduction Commitment (CRC) Energy Efficiency Scheme.

There are a number of companies globally who have saved costs and reduced their energy usage and carbon footprint through IT power management tools.

Bearing in mind, it’s not just overnight when PCs and monitors should be turned off or put into lower power mode – lunch breaks, time spent in meetings or away from the desk collectively in an organisation can be quite considerable!

There is often a need for some PCs to be left on though, to support particular critical business processes.

    • Are maintenance and upgrades provided free?
    • Can PCs be switched on automatically as well?
    • Does it run on client/server or is it web-based?
    • How would you know which PC Power Management product fits the needs of your business and is the most cost effective?
    • Is it pricing per device?
    • What are the features?
    • What are the set up costs?

Author: Tripta Prashar
Company: Giving Time and Solutions Ltd
Company website: http://givingtimeandsolutions.com
Professional profile: http://linkedin.com/in/triptaprashar
Date created: 13 November 2010 4.00pm

Carbon Reduction Commitment Energy Efficiency Scheme – changes since the Spending Review

October 28, 2010 Leave a comment

Following on from the Spending Review last week, the Carbon Reduction Commitment (CRC) Energy Efficiency Scheme have had some changes.

1. The first allowance sales will be in 2012, not 2011.

2. The revenues from the allowance sales will no longer be recycled to the participants. Instead this will be given to support the public finances.

Author: Tripta Prashar
Company: Giving Time and Solutions Ltd
Company website: http://givingtimeandsolutions.com
Professional profile: http://linkedin.com/in/triptaprashar
Date created: 28 October 2010 12.00pm

How dependent are we on technology and how ‘Green’ can we realistically be?

September 2, 2010 1 comment

 

In Chapter 3 (Climate Change and the Low Carbon Society) of the Greening IT book, (please see website link 2 below) Irene N.Sobotta writes:-

On a global level IT is responsible for 2% of global greenhouse gas gases. However, the remaining 98% is seen as an opportunity for IT to help solve the problem. It can provide the technological fixes we need to reduce a large amount of greenhouse gas emissions from other sectors of society and obtain a rapid stabiliser of global greenhouse gas emissions”

Technology is used globally and its use is increasing. The key thing to remember is that Green IT is an enabler to other sectors.

Think about what you’re doing, and reuse and recycle as much as you can.

Key ‘R’ words to remember – Reduce, Reuse and Recycle……be Realistic

WEBSITE REFERENCE

NO. WEBSITE LINK DESCRIPTION
1. http://givingtimeandsolutions.com Giving Time and Solutions Ltd
2. http://greening.it/  Greening IT book

Author: Tripta Prashar
Company: Giving Time and Solutions Ltd
Company website: http://givingtimeandsolutions.com
Professional profile: http://linkedin.com/in/triptaprashar
Date created: 2 September 2010 10.00am

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

March 27, 2010 1 comment

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

Why Green IT will greatly benefit organisations which are in the CRC Energy Efficiency Scheme (CRC) – legislation which is to take effect in April 2010….

March 14, 2010 2 comments

As the CRC legislation is due to take effect in April 2010, I am hoping this blog post will explain it better and help people to understand why they should address looking at the areas of purchasing, usage, and disposal of IT within their organisations. Some organisations have not even looked at this properly yet. This could be due to many reasons

  • little awareness of what Green IT is and how it can help
  • employees are too busy with their daily tasks and have an increased workload
  • budgets
  • other priorities
  • redundancies

The IT power consumption for a large organisation is very high, reducing it is a must. This is based on the assumption the organisation has many servers in a data centre, desktops, laptops, printers, photocopiers…anything with a plug you could say!

Whether you are in an organisation participating in the CRC or not, looking at ways to increase the IT energy efficiency will reduce the carbon footprint and costs.

The main references to the CRC are available on the DECC and Environment Agency (EA) websites.

  1. What is the CRC?
  • Previously known as the Carbon Reduction Commitment, the CRC Energy Efficiency Scheme has been developed by the UK Government.
  • The main aim is to get organisations operating in the UK to improve on energy efficiency, and therefore reduce the CO2 emitted.
  • It is a mandatory scheme which is administered by the EA.
  • It is the UK’s new carbon emissions trading scheme.
  • An organisation
    • Must record and monitor their emissions.
    • Must buy allowances from the Government for the CO2 emissions which it estimates it will emit for each year (does not apply in the first year in the introductory phase). It is currently stated that this will be sold at £12 per tonne of CO2.
    • Must pay to register and participate in the scheme.
    • Must report on all total footprint emissions which includes gas, electricity and other fuel types. There are exclusions for energy which are used for transport, domestic accommodation and unconsumed supplies (purchased fuel or energy for a third party).
    • Must keep all records to support the energy information in an evidence pack. Keep gathering the evidence as you go along.
    • Will receive a proportion of the allowance revenue repayment recycled back. This depends on the organisation’s ranking in the CRC annual league table (see 3).
    • Can buy or sell extra allowances in the Trading/Secondary Market. First sale of allowances will be in April 2011.
    • Will need to have internal auditing procedures.
    • May be selected for an audit by an external regulator and the evidence pack will need to be presented if requested by the auditor.
    • Will be penalised for non-compliances, such as providing inaccurate information, if a report is not submitted by the deadline or the organisation fails to complete an evidence pack that has been requested by the auditor. There are many more…..

2.     Who does the CRC affect?

  • 20,000 large public or private/commercial and infrastructure sectors, including
    • Hotel Chains
    • Large Offices
    • Small Industrial Facilities
    • NHS
    • Large Retailers
    • Supermarkets
    • Central Government Departments
    • Schools
    • Universities
    • Housing Associations
    • Local Authorities
  • There are around 5,000 non-energy intensive organisations who are fully participating.
  • Full participation will be from organisations which used over 6000 MWH in 2008 and have at least one half hourly meter. The electricity bill is considered to be £500,000+.
  • Information disclosure is only required from organisations which used over 3000 MWH and have one half hourly meter.

3.     What is the CRC League Table?

  • An annual performance league table will be published by the Government which lists all organisations based on their provided reporting figures.
  • Those who report on less energy usage will feature high in the league table and be rewarded bonuses. Let’s assist you and get you here! 🙂
  • Those who report on more energy usage will feature lower in the league table, and will be penalised!
  • There are three metrics which are used in the calculation to determine the performance. These are the absolute metric, early action metric and growth metric.
  • The organisations position will decide how much of the allowance revenue is recycled back by the Government to the participants. This will be given at the end of October, three months after the reporting deadline.
  • The bonuses and penalty rates will increase in percentage for each year and have currently been set for the first five years as follows.
Year 1 Year 2 Year 3 Year 4 Year 5
Bonus +/-10% +/-20% +/-30% +/-40% +/-50%
Penalty +/-10% +/-20% +/-30% +/-40% +/-50%

 4.     What are the CRC Time Periods?

The scheme is splits into phases across a number of years. It starts in April 2010, which effectively will be a reporting year.

 

 5.     How can Green IT help organisations?

  • Various studies have been carried out (Gartner 2007) which state the IT industry is fast overtaking the aviation industry, with 2% of carbon emissions. How many UK IT directors are aware of their department’s carbon footprint?
  • Organisations are using technology quite largely to process, store and report on data, and also to print and carry out communication in a number of ways. Basically, technology is used to support the business processes.
  • Solutions must be provided on how to reduce the IT energy consumption and the carbon footprint. To name a few, these include…
    • Providing the best recommendations to reduce, renew and recycle IT equipment.
    • When looking to purchase technology, take into account the carbon emissions involved at each of the six stages of the equipment lifecycle – from mining the raw materials to final disposal.
    • Providing the best recommendations (donate, sell, reuse, etc) to legally dispose of IT equipment no longer needed, ensuring the WEEE Directive is adhered to and the suppliers are properly certified.
    • Ensuring accurate monitoring/management of the IT energy and carbon consumption.
    • Ensuring the IT power consumption is reduced with minimum disruption to the daily business activities.

Given the fact internal auditing is required and external auditing may take place for the CRC, it is very important to follow the correct procedures to audit the IT energy usage to ensure its use is being reduced on a continuous basis.

When looking at cost and carbon savings, a company which for example uses 1000 PCs can deliver a return on investment of approximately £80,000 within a year by implementing one of a number of quick win Green IT solutions. That is typically over 720000 KG/CO2 a year.

BENEFITS OF GREEN IT

The benefits of investing in Green IT which will help organisations in the CRC are:-

  • Improved carbon efficiency
  • Reduced level of IT CO2 emissions
  • IT energy costs savings
  • Greater energy efficiency
  • A business opportunity for employees
  • Improved organisation credibility

To summarise, a Green IT Consultant will work with and assist an organisation to increase their IT energy efficiency, providing solutions to regularly monitor/manage the technology energy/carbon usage and ensure the correct standards/legislation are being adhered to.

All are measures which are steps towards ensuring the organisation does not have to face financial penalties, be placed higher in the CRC league table and will drive an organisation to greater IT energy efficiency, therefore reducing costs and carbon footprint!

Take Action Now…..

DATE: 14 March 2010 1pm

Tripta Prashar

www.givingtimeandsolutions.com