Green IT Carbon Footprint

Start making the most of Green IT

We look at how cloud computing can reduce your carbon footprint

By Lisa Curry

 

Today, we all have a social responsibility towards the environment – especially businesses. Last year, for the first time ever, UK quoted companies had to start publishing details of the greenhouse gases they produce under a new carbon reporting law. With the UK required to cut greenhouse emissions by 80% by 2050, it looks like we could be seeing new laws brought in putting businesses’ carbon footprints in the spotlight.

Traditional office-based businesses (non-manufacturing/industrial) will face less obvious hurdles to reduce their energy consumption. While offices’ energy consumption will be through lighting & heating, a portion of your carbon footprint will come from your IT. With today’s dependence on IT steadily rising each year, we want to look at how this area of your business can become more efficient, as well as looking at how you can use your IT to streamline other areas of your business as well.

Following recent revolutions in the IT industry we now have a better chance than ever to implement efficient and more environmentally friendly IT services: what’s more, you’re using the latest technology on offer so there are no compromises to your IT performance.

We’re primarily talking about cloud computing, the (relatively) recent big trend in IT. Cloud computing is rapidly changing the IT industry, and businesses are embracing it. What’s even better is that taking your data to the Cloud can greatly reduce your company’s carbon footprint, as Microsoft's survey results shows:

Migrating to the cloud can reduce larger organisations’ energy use and carbon footprint by 30% and by up to a massive 90% for small businesses. Microsoft survey

Cloud-Computing-Environment-Benefits

 

It is important to note, that this does not mean any form of cloud computing, solely Microsoft – other studies have shown efficient on-premise IT can be more effective than the least efficient cloud services, so for this article we are strictly referring to Microsoft’s cloud offerings, through Azure.

By taking your data into the cloud you remove the need for servers (unless using a hybrid-cloud model) – not only cutting the energy consumption of running the hardware, but also the costs associated with buying, updating and running servers allowing businesses to move from CAPEX IT spend to OPEX – a monthly subscription, so you’re always up-to-date with the latest versions.

Share the Responsibility

As your data is hosted with Microsoft, in their data centres, the efficiency and the carbon footprint of your data becomes their responsibility. Not only are you ensuring your IT is more ‘green’, you are ensuring you do not have to worry about it!

Microsoft have a commitment as an organisation to be completely carbon neutral – a tough challenge that they fulfil by offsetting schemes, renewable energy, carbon fee’s and much more. A key commitment from Microsoft is ensuring their data centre’s which run their cloud services will run as efficiently as possible. As a multi-billion pound international organisation, Microsoft dedicate huge amounts of time, resources and money into these centre’s- not only ensuring that they are highly secure but also highly efficient.

Moving your data into the cloud (or Microsoft data centres), reduces your carbon footprint for a number of reasons:

  • It avoids over-allocation of resources, as you only use the space that you need to use instead of buying larger servers than are actually needed
  • It is a shared infrastructure or ‘multi-tenant’ environment, allowing a reduction in overheads and flattening of demand peaks
  • The efficiency of Microsoft’s data centres are at a level that no small-medium business could come close to ever matching
  • As it is still relatively early in the cloud era, the efficiency is only going to keep improving as time goes on

Reduce Travel Emissions

Not only can you benefit from using Microsoft’s efficient IT infrastructure and your reduced carbon footprint, but you can also benefit from the cloud solutions themselves that Microsoft offer. Office 365 allows you to harness cloud computing through enterprise-level software solutions: one of which is Lync. Lync is a unified communications solution, which gives users a consistent experience for presence, IM, voice and video calls across PCs, Macs, phones, and browsers, allowing for fast and effective communication between anyone. What’s more it’s free to connect with any Skype users via Lync, so you can hold face-to-face video calls with practically anyone, thereby helping companies reduce their carbon emissions by reducing travel emissions and the need to commute. Read more on Lync here.

If you haven’t thought about using cloud technology, then it might be time to start thinking. Companies embracing the cloud are finding themselves more agile in the marketplace- and you shouldn’t get left behind.

We’re a Microsoft Cloud Deployment Partner, meaning we have the necessary qualifications and experience to advise on, deploy and manage cloud services. If you want to learn more about the cloud technology, or see if it could benefit your business then please speak to us.

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