בעקבות השינויים במחירי ייצור האנרגיה בשנים האחרונות, רשות החשמל תפרסם עדכון של מקבצי שעות הביקוש לחשמל (“מש”בים”). איך זה ישפיע עלינו? והאם נוכל לנצל זאת לטובתנו?
Our ecological awareness as a global community has been steadily growing over recent decades. In the early 1990’s the term “ecological footprint” was coined, measuring the impact our actions have on Earth’s ecosystems, and from it came the “carbon footprint”. Carbon footprint refers more specifically to the greenhouse gas emissions caused by the actions of an individual, a household, or a corporation. These gas emissions, scientifically known as CO2e, are responsible for global climate changes, and the actions which produce them include the use of electricity, transportation, and basically any form of fuel burning.
Popular and feasible ways to reduce these emissions include:
- carpooling, which cuts the number of fuel burning cars on the road;
- using solar heating resources, to reduce the use of electricity or oil based heating systems;
- purchasing energy-saving models of appliances and office equipment, with the Energy Star seal of approval (computers, LCD monitors, photocopiers and printers carrying this seal are available);
- cultivating a recycling program within the office (and encouraging employees to do so at home);
- cutting household and organizational electricity consumption by using timers, energy-efficient light bulbs, and implementing an overall “shut down” approach to energy-run appliances and machinery when they are not in use.
Implementing these practices doesn’t only help on a global scale, they are also beneficial to the individuals and organizations implementing them, as saving energy means cutting costs as well. And when we’re talking about businesses, specifically medium to large companies using great amounts of electricity, implementing eco-friendly practices can result in substantial savings.
As mentioned, a general “shut down” approach would be ideal for saving energy and reducing a company’s carbon footprint, but this all-or-nothing approach isn’t always a feasible one. One of the main energy guzzling components within an organization is its computer network, which could include dozens to hundreds of computers. Simply shutting down these computers at the end of the day isn’t an option, as nighttime is the ideal time for IT teams to perform maintenance tasks; in addition, employees may want to be able to access their office desktop computers remotely from home, and so they leave them on at the end of the day. And while nighttime would be the obvious time to shutdown these computers and save electricity, what about during the day? Throughout the workday, a workstation may be unmanned for long periods of time, be it for a lunchbreak or a meeting, and this time also accounts for wasted energy use. For these reasons, implementing a smart PC Power Management system across the network is imperative. An efficient PC Power Management system (like PowerPlug Pro) will not only address the abovementioned scenarios, but also help an organization further optimize its related energy consumption by identifying peaks and usage trends, and enabling the company to power down individual computers at different given times, according to usage history, resulting in lower costs and of course – an important step towards reducing the organization’s carbon footprint.
Sustainability and green tech solutions are not just buzz words or a passing fad, in recent years the awareness of echo-friendly sustainable efforts on behalf of the corporate world have become common, and even mandatory, practice. Large companies and corporations have many areas in which they can demonstrate environmental awareness and practice green tech – the following are five categories that lead the way for those seeking to implement proper green tech solutions:
1. Green Data Centers: Organizations with large computer networks, processing large amounts of data, have to maintain central data centers. The U.S. Dept. of Energy stated that data centers can consume up to 100 to 200 times more energy than the standard office building. These data centers can easily become environmentally friendly through green design and architectural efforts. Data centers consume large amounts of energy as we’re basically talking about a huge hub of computers working 24/7, so a good place to start would be in managing all the related electricity consumption around these computers. Energy management plans can be set up for the data center’s general electricity and lighting systems, and creative echo-friendly techniques, like utilizing natural air and water cooling systems, can be used to keep the computers from over-heating, delaying the need to turn on electricity powered cooling systems. A popular technique used in green data centers is renewable energy, powered by solar and wind. Another solution is motion sensors paired with LED lighting, set to turn on only as needed, when people arrive on the premises.
2. Green Office Cooling Solutions: The growing awareness of green efforts in the construction sector have led to the adoption of natural heating & cooling solutions in both residential and office buildings, aimed at lowering the use of air conditioning systems. Green heating & cooling systems are categorized as either active or passive. Passive systems are based on solutions that maximize the use of natural resources to heat or cool without using furnaces or air conditioners. These solutions include (i) minimizing the heating affects of solar radiation in the summer by installing absorbing solar panels and specially coated windows; (ii) planting “green roofs” – evaporation from the rooftop vegetation keeps the roof cool and minimizes heat entering the building below; (iii) “evaporative cooling” systems that humidify the air with water and distribute the cooled air with fans, which use less energy than refrigeration cooling systems; (iv) geothermal pumps that take advantage of the constant temperature of underground wells, pumping fluids that absorb the Earth’s heat in order to keep the indoors warm during the winter, or bring down the temperature during the summer; (v) ice! Among the many great new eco-friendly companies of recent years is Ice Energy, offering air cooling units that create ice during the night and use it to cool the warmer air during the day, a process which uses significantly less electricity to cool the premises during peak heat hours.
3. Green IT Storage Services: Cloud-based storage is among the more popular green tech solutions, as it means less on-site equipment and significant savings on the energy that would have been needed to run these additional hardware storage units. Companies that decide to go green by turning to the cloud, often go beyond storage solutions and move many of their computing services to the cloud. Small to large businesses can significantly reduce direct energy consumption and carbon emissions by moving specific on-site applications to the cloud.
4. Green Printing: From eco-friendly ink to paper options, green printing can go a long way if you consider the following: (i) a double-sided printing policy whenever possible can cut a company’s paper consumption by half; (ii) using recycled paper can have a significant positive impact on a company’s environmental footprint; (iii) using refillable ink cartridges; (iv) moving to digitized documents and offering online-first communication procedures to customers and colleagues; (v) implementing internal company workflows based on workflow management software, eliminating paper-based processes; and last but not least, (vi) if your company is willing to go all-out – soy-based ink releases less than 5% Volatile Organic Compounds into the air, helps towards paper recycling as it’s easier to remove from paper than regular ink, and less ink is needed to print the same amount of pages, when compared to petroleum ink.
5. Green PC Power Management Solutions: A major culprit in unnecessary energy consumption is a company’s computer network, which can boast hundreds to thousands of computers that stay powered on overnight, over the weekend, and in general – 24/7. Employees tend to leave their computers on overnight in case they’ll need to access them remotely from home, or in some cases – IT teams request that computers be kept on in order to run maintenance tasks and updates during non-office hours. In cases like these, standard one-size-fits-all power management solutions aren’t useful. If IT managers want to properly manage their network’s power consumption they need to implement a power management solution that is built especially for large scale networks with individual maintenance needs. One of the solutions offered on the market today is PowerPlug Pro, a simple-to-implement software solution that enables smart management and monitoring of thousands of PCs, creates tailored power savings plans, enables remote wakeup of shutdown PCs, and helps companies achieve overall savings of up to 60% on PC network energy costs, without affecting IT productivity. In general, a good PC power management solution will not only cut costs and reduce environmental impact, but will also serve as a crucial resource for IT managers.
Network PC Power Management should be a top priority for any large scale organization with a network of 200 computers or more – it’s not only imperative for monetary reasons, potentially saving thousands of Dollars annually on electricity costs (and more, depending on the size of the network), but it’s also an important tool for IT managers and ongoing maintenance of organizational PCs.
A good PC Power Management software solution can help IT teams schedule maintenance tasks at optimal times without having to leave PCs on 24/7, monitor PC usability and individual PCs power consumption and continuously optimize their tasks and power consumption with the accompanying reporting tools. (And did we mention that these efforts to properly manager power consumption also help reduce an organization’s carbon footprint?)
So which type of organizations would benefit the most from implementing a network PC power management software?
• Schools & Universities: Higher education campuses usually have a couple of hundred of desktop computers scattered around campus, used for different purposes at different hours – from libraries to research centers, these computers are ideal candidates for power management as they are usually left on at all hours, but used during peak times. BGU cut PC related energy costs by over 50% by installing a PC power management software and implementing tailored power management plans.
• HMOs & Hospitals: Many healthcare service providers have networks that are dispersed across several locations, including head offices, clinics, doctors’ offices, hospitals, and more. One centralized tool overseeing power consumption and distribution across all connected locations can easily save any big HMO (let’s say one with 30,000 desktops computers) over 1 Million Dollars a year. Clalit Health Services is a great example of such an organization.
• Financial Institutions: From banks to investment firms, corporations dealing with highly sensitive networks needn’t be worried about security implications when using a trustworthy professional power management system (and who better than them to appreciate the value of a smart savings program..?) PowerPlug Pro is an example of a secure software than can support the economical maintenance of financial IT networks of this sort.
• Government Agencies, State Departments & Municipalities: Any organization that is funded by tax payers’ Dollars would definitely be gaining brownie points by implementing a system that could save thousands of Dollars a year while also demonstrating environmental awareness.
If you work at a company that has over 200 PCs, you may be familiar with those IT emails saying “please don’t turn off your computers tonight, we’ll be performing a scheduled maintenance…” or “this is a reminder to please shut down your computers before vacation leave…” Managing a network of hundreds of desktop computers involves many tasks and has several ramifications, which is why finding the right centralized PC power management solution is so important. IT teams really shouldn’t be bothered with asking employees to turn their computers on/off or manually manage tasks which can be centralized (and the employees for that matter shouldn’t be bothered with these sort of requests either.)
So what are the actual benefits a large scale company gets from implementing a proper PC power management program?
• Power Savings: a desktop computer that is always on consumes about 90-100 W/hour – that’s 18 to 33 times more energy than a PC in power-saving mode, which consumes about 3-5 W/hour. For large organizations, energy savings of this capacity can translate into significant savings in electricity costs, but since employees usually leave their PCs on, it’s hard to achieve these savings without any power management program in place. While exact costs may vary (as these are dependent on energy prices in different regions), one desktop PC consumes roughly $150 worth of electricity per year – proper power management can cut that cost in half. At least.
• Uninterrupted Maintenance: one of the reasons organizational computers are usually left on is to enable IT maintenance tasks to run overnight or during general downtime hours. A good PC power management system enables maintenance to be performed even on PCs in power savings modes, as the system can control when to wake them from hibernation, enabling IT teams to define scheduled maintenance tasks as needed.
• Environmental Implications: large organizations have become increasingly aware of their environmental impacts in recent years, and take into account the fact that the extreme amounts of electricity they use take a toll on the environment. By implementing a reliable PC power management plan and making an effort to cut back on related electricity consumption, these companies can significantly reduce their carbon footprint.
• Monitoring & Reporting: implementing a PC power management system can offer additional perks beyond simple power saving; a good professional system will also provide the IT team with extra management tools to oversee their power saving plans, enabling them to optimize & schedule accordingly.
• Customizable Power Plans: not all centralized PC power management tools were created equal, and one of the benefits we offer with PowerPlug Pro (in addition to the abovementioned Reporting) is the ability to create customized power plans, and not settle for a basic one-plan-fits-all. PowerPlug Pro monitors and learns the network’s power consumption habits, enabling IT managers to tailor and implement a power savings plan that will reach optimal results & maximum savings for their organizational network.
In short, centralized PC power management helps organizations cut energy costs, saves IT managers time and tasks, and helps reduce environmental risks – it’s a win-win all around – from the employees, through the corporate level, to a global scale.