Today on Earth Day, be prepared to once again receive a deluge of e-mails and flyers about saving energy and reducing waste. After reading through several lines of self-evident and obvious tips and tricks maybe you will learn something actually useful, only to forget about it next week. We have compiled a list of long-term strategies to reduce energy usage on a large scale for your office that don’t require constant reminders to employees. Just don’t print this list.
Use LED Lighting Wisely—in High Traffic Areas
Marketing departments at LED lighting manufacturers have made amazing claims regarding LED lights for some time. While wild claims such as near immortality have been made, it is true that LED lamps can help lower operating costs—when used in the right places. Replacing all lighting fixtures in the office with LED lamps will lead to increased spending without guaranteed benefits.
Instead, utilize LED lighting in high-traffic areas that constantly requiring lighting, such as lobbies or cubicle farms. Using LED lamps in that seldom used janitorial closet likely won’t benefit you very much. Also, be realistic with estimating savings.
Reduce Direct Sunlight—With Greenery
Reducing the amount of sunlight coming into your office lowers the temperature, which means the HVAC doesn’t need to work as much to maintain the temperature. You can reduce sunlight several ways, with curtains or blinders being the most obvious way. Another option to reduce sunlight a small amount is by placing greenery in key locations. Indoor office plants also have the added benefits of introducing some visual appeal into an otherwise drab environment and helping to increase air quality according to a study by NASA.
Configure Power Management Profiles with Group Policy in Windows Server 2019
Scenario: Noon on a normal weekday and people begin to leave their desks to take a lunch, but they do not properly log off their computers. The computers and monitors stay on longer than needed, raising operating costs. The Group Policy feature in Windows Server 2019 solves this problem, and allows you to set Power Management profiles for an entire group. For a detailed how-to, see the Sustainable Computing article on Microsoft TechNet.
Introduce More Laptops into the Network
Laptops can use a whole lot less energy than desktops, and net you power savings over time. However, do not suddenly replace all desktops with laptops. Such a migration—even if were a well-planned one—could go wrong in so many ways, not to mention cost a heck of a lot while creating plenty of e-waste. Instead once a desktop needs replacement, consider issuing a laptop instead. Over time, laptops would eventually become the dominant compute platform and reduce consumption while increasing your workforce’s mobility. Also if you haven’t already, start phasing out CCFL monitors with more energy-efficient LED monitors.
Install Sensors to Control Lighting
In addition to utilizing LED lamps in high-traffic or high-occupancy areas, consider installing motion sensors. Especially in low-traffic areas where lights are not normally on, people can forget to turn off lights after turning them on. The Department of Energy recommends several approaches: install motion sensors in locations using utility lights such as incandescent lamps, use infrared/ultrasonic occupancy sensors indoors, and photosensors capable of distinguishing daylight and nighttime outdoors.
Virtualize and Eliminate Zombie Servers
According to the Natural Resources Defense Council (NRDC), almost 30 percent of the nation’s servers were drawing power without fulfilling any actual function. Dubbed zombie servers by National Geographic, they contribute to inefficiency. To lower server room operation costs, eliminate true zombie servers—just be sure they really fulfill no role. Also be sure to follow our advice for a green datacenter; identify underworked servers (Any server that uses very minimal computing power) and virtualize them in a consolidated system.
What other strategies do you preach for increasing energy efficiency in the office? Let us know how you stay true to the ideas behind Earth Day in the comments below.