The Carbon Trust reports that small and medium businesses (SMBs) are responsible for around 20% of all carbon emissions in the UK. But a few small tweaks to IT usage and habits by the SMB community could help reduce the UK’s carbon footprint.
1. Switch computers off after hours
It’s a basic tip that is often forgotten but should be the cardinal rule. A single computer and monitor left on 24 hours a day will cost a business over £50 a year. Switching it off after hours will not only save money for a small business but will save valuable energy for the planet as well.
2. Promote recycling
Establish a recycling programme in the office by arranging large recycling bins around the office. Place them next to copiers and printers, near rubbish bins and in your staff break room. Reusing packaging, such as bubble wrap and brown paper, can also keep costs and carbon emissions down for a business. Some offices appoint a ‘green champion’ – a person who makes sure that all the recycling is carried out correctly and efficiently.
3. Use natural heating and ventilation
Turn down the heating by just one degree and you will substantially reduce the annual energy bill. Offices that use natural ventilation such as open windows keep costs down and carbon emission at a low. There is no need to heat or cool rooms that people are not using.
Chris Smith, sales and marketing director for on365 at Optimisation and specialist.
4. Cut out paper
Over 80% of the carbon footprint impact comes from paper usage, so print less, reduce your consumption and recycle. A study by WSP Environment and Energy further demonstrated that sending a used toner cartridge back to, as opposed to discarding it in a landfill, reduces the overall carbon footprint of that cartridge by up to 60 percent.
5. Print Less
• Only print the pages you need, and avoid printing emails and drafts
• Archive your documents using ‘scan to email’ instead of printing
• Use print preview to avoid wasteful mistakes
• Use duplex and multi-up printing to halve your paper use
6. Reduce consumption
• Use the draft mode to save ink and toner, and reduce cartridge waste
• Favour high-yield cartridges to reduce plastic usage and shipping
• Use workgroup printers to streamline equipment and save power
• Reuse paper for draft work whenever possible
• Provide separate recycling bins for paper and cartridges
• Use cartridges collection programmes for free and responsible reuse and recycling
Steve Purdy, country general manager at Lexmark UK
8. Ditch or relocate kit
At least 15% of servers are not doing any useful work, according to 72% of server managers, a recent independent study commissioned by 1E found. Assigning energy used within data centres to the workloads running on servers enables IT managers to put a value on every kWh of energy consumed.
Andy Hawkins, product manager and business analyst, 1E
9. Power manage PCs
PC power management can put a stop to the 40% of PCs which are left on overnight. A power management solution can save on average £25 per PC per year in energy cost savings alone. Dell has achieved a 40 percent reduction in energy costs, which translates into USD $2.4 million per year of savings by deploying NightWatchman across 50,000 PCs.
Sophie Chang, VP Software, 1E
10. Relocate kit
The 2008 figure of 40% of energy wasted within the built environment has become an industry benchmark. Other than laptops or thin clients, there’s no need for IT to be located in your own offices. Computer processing can exist almost entirely with data centres or cloud providers who can perform this more efficiently on a large scale. Instead, a single server can provide basic telecoms and security services to SMEs who can do away with cooled spaces and valuable floor space allocated for servers.
Ian Barnes, head of green practice at IT optimisation group, Intergence