If you aren’t turning off and unplugging office equipment at night, using the double-sided feature on the printer, or utilizing power management software on your computer, you aren’t taking every possible measure to lower energy consumption in your business space. The age of your equipment matters as well—it may still work, but it also may be sending your utility bills through the roof. The chief offender is likely to be found in your server room.
Upgrading or replacing office and IT equipment is a powerful energy saving measure that can make a big difference in your annual spending. Not only does inefficient office equipment draw power, it also emits heat. This will make your cooling bill go up.
As you work alongside an energy management professional to make a plan for lower bills and higher efficiency, here are some things to ask about:
Old or unnecessary servers. According to research, between 10 and 30 percent of servers aren’t even being used. Consolidating servers will better utilize processing power and limit hardware that requires cooling and power. You can also look into replacing old servers with a two-way server or dual-core, single-processor server. In some tests, a new ENERGY STAR server consumes 54 percent less power than older models.
Communication between IT and facilities departments. In many cases, IT managers don’t get their eyes on the electrical bill, and facilities managers don’t see reports tracking the performance of equipment. Collaboration on energy saving goals will get you faster results.
Placement of appliances. You want at least three inches between the back of a water cooler, freezer or refrigerator and the wall to allow for proper airflow. Cleaning coils on the back of the appliance will also keep it efficient.
Power waste in data centers. If you are storing photos for a social media campaign or videos for security measures, the memory these files require is likely consuming a ton of energy. It’s all kept inside the data center, which builds heat and needs cooling. According to the Natural Resources Defense Council, data processing centers are often guilty of using more power than necessary. Some have an output of as much kilowatt hours of power as 30 large coal-fired power plants. New technologies allow for heat removal that can improve efficiency and draw hot air toward chilled coils.
Incentives for improvements. Professionals at an energy engineering firm can help you keep an eye out for utility companies’ incentives for upgrading to ENERGY STAR servers or equipment. According to the Office of Energy Efficiency & Renewable Energy, for example, partial deductions can be taken for measures that affect heating and cooling systems, lighting or building envelope.4
Sometimes it takes a new set of eyes to evaluate your equipment and utility bills and present a plan for long-term savings and efficiency. This can be the first step toward smarter business practices that free up capital to be used in other areas of advancement.
Article originally posted on al.com.