Right on tech
- Energy − Energy efficiency is an essential component of driving a sustainability strategy for any business. Here, too, the role of IT is of the utmost importance – not just in lowering the energy consumed in data centers (often the focus of many businesses’ energy efficiency efforts), but also in looking at how IT can be used to manage systems more effectively. Buildings are often one of the largest consumers of energy for any business, and these usually contain an array of different systems controlling heating, cooling and lighting. Many of these systems have their own separate communications systems – all of which are separate to the network provided and maintained by IT. Getting smarter about energy means getting smarter about the way these systems communicate. By allowing them all to use a single, robust and secure communication infrastructure, it’s not terribly hard to create smart buildings. Smart buildings can have a far greater degree of system control and energy efficiency, as well as lower operating costs. A study from Microsoft estimated that in the U.S., smarter buildings could save $20–25 billion a year in energy costs.
- Waste − Providing and looking after all this technology clearly has a cost associated with it, and managing this cost is a practice with which most IT managers are too familiar. The rapid pace of development means that IT equipment can have a notoriously short lifespan, so IT departments also have an important role to play in managing the lifecycle of this technology. They need to make sure that it continues to deliver value to the business for as long as possible, as well as prevent old equipment from becoming an environmental burden by being disposed of prematurely.
Driving organizational change is a both a challenge and a necessity − not only for sustainability professionals but also increasingly for a wide range of business leaders. It’s important to find common goals in order to do this. Talking to CIOs and IT departments about how they can help reduce travel, energy and waste is a great starting point. Chances are, they’re already thinking about ways to do this.
Colin Curtis leads Dimension Data’s global sustainability strategy, with a focus on improving sustainability for both Dimension Data and its clients. He has been with Dimension Data since 2006, during which time he has had responsibility for business and services development for convergence and visual communications, as well as leading a team of highly skilled convergence specialists. After several years of involvement with Dimension Data’s environmental initiatives, Colin now combines his professional focus on the use of ICT to increase business efficiency with his personal passion for minimizing environmental impact.
Images courtesy of Dimension Data.