Going green in the office can be more than switching to LED lights and printing documents double-sided. As more tech companies and manufacturers become environmentally conscious, you can now harness technology to save resources – both natural and economic – in many ways.
Up in the cloud
Servers tend to eat up a lot of energy, so switching to cloud services helps you lower your energy usage, on top of saving you the cost of housing your own set of servers.
Memory subsystems in servers consume immense amounts of energy, especially as the amount of memory in use increases, yet tend to be left idle for caching. Storage disks, like memory, are also usually left running continuously for easy access and can consume a disproportionate amount of energy compared to the amount of data actually accessed. And if you have ever stepped into the server room in your office, it will not surprise you to know the most power-hungry component of a server is the cooling system, which has to counter the overheating resulting from running all other subsystems.
You save energy by relying on cloud: You use the computing power you need only when you need it, and you can get rid of cooling systems. Cloud service providers also have advantages your office may not have, so you don’t have to worry that you are simply transferring your environmental impact. These companies can choose to base their servers in a more temperate climate, reducing cooling costs. Although the technology of energy efficient servers has not been perfected, cloud companies have more time and resources to put into developing these solutions.
Smart energy savers
Look for energy-saver settings on your existing devices, or new ones if your office is purchasing. Computers, printers, even lights and thermostats now come with features that power down equipment when it isn’t in use. More recently, newer products even come equipped with machine learning and can predict and accommodate dips and peaks in usage.
Xerox’s Simegy technology is one such innovation – the printer can track office print demand and predict active hours and days.Based on this, the printer formulates a timeout strategy, powering down during periods of inactivity and preparing for wake-up during periods of expected demand. The NEST thermostat, a smart temperature control, operates similarly, recording and predicting temperature preferences throughout the day.
"You save energy by relying on cloud: You use the computing power you need only when you need it, and you can get rid of cooling systems”
Intelligent building platforms (IBPs) have been a hot topic among real estate developers in recent years. Using Internet of Things (IoT) technologies, an intelligent building can monitor and manage energy usage throughout the premises. Sensors attached to equipment collect data, which is transmitted wirelessly to cloud and analysed. Real-time actionable insights are generated and used by the system to prioritise energy consumption in different parts of the building.
This can mean dimming the lights in parts of the building that are already receiving enough natural light, or powering down equipment in unoccupied rooms.
The system might even respond to temperatures outside the building and adjust temperature and ventilation within the building accordingly.
IBPs increase energy and cost efficiency for office buildings through adaptive energy management, which is why there has been much research into developing these systems – making them smarter and faster.
To lower the environmental footprint of its buildings, CapitaLand has been investing in and implementing IBPs as well. It continues to strive to pioneer innovative and sustainable workplaces of the future – one where its initiatives work in tandem with tenants’ efforts and commitment to go green.