The Green Office

The Green Office: A Business Guide

ALAN CALDER
Copyright Date: 2009
Published by: IT Governance Publishing
Pages: 63
https://www.jstor.org/stable/j.ctt5hh7bh
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  • Book Info
    The Green Office
    Book Description:

    The day-to-day running of the modern office depends on IT, and computers are heavy consumers of energy. Moreover, your office produces greenhouse gases, not only as a result of your IT equipment but also through the energy required for heating, lighting and air-conditioning. So, if you want to do something to save the planet, greening your office is a good place to start! The Green Office is written specifically to help cost-conscious, environmentally-minded organisations. It identifies practical and straightforward ways of reducing both the corporate cost base and their carbon footprint.

    eISBN: 978-1-84928-005-1
    Subjects: Business, Technology

Table of Contents

  1. Front Matter
    (pp. 2-4)
  2. FOREWORD
    (pp. 5-6)

    Green IT¹ will be a critical component of organisational IT and compliance strategies from 2009 onwards.

    There is a range of views about what, exactly, Green IT is. At the heart of the debate² about the environmental role of IT, there is usually an acknowledgement that the world’s information and communications technologies consume a growing amount of power and have a measurably significant carbon footprint; and that more and more people in the industrialised world today actually work in and from offices which, themselves, have a significant carbon footprint.

    Regardless of one’s individual position or the reality of the argument...

  3. ABOUT THE AUTHOR
    (pp. 7-8)
  4. ACKNOWLEDGEMENTS
    (pp. 9-9)
  5. Table of Contents
    (pp. 10-10)
  6. INTRODUCTION
    (pp. 11-12)

    The majority in today’s industrialised economies are knowledge workers rather than manual workers. They work primarily in offices and rely on Information and Communications Technology infrastructures to support their daily activity.

    Any organisation pursuing an environmentally friendly strategy – whether it is a focused Green IT strategy or a broader corporate strategy to reduce carbon footprint and increase environmental effectiveness – will obviously take account of the carbon footprint of their offices and all the activity that goes on inside them. Key areas for consideration must include:

    energy usage and power consumption (for powering the ICT infrastructure as well as for heating...

  7. CHAPTER 1: YOUR CARBON FOOTPRINT
    (pp. 13-17)

    The starting point for a Green Office strategy is usually a measurement of the organisation’s current carbon footprint. Once this has been calculated, plans for reduction can be prioritised and progress measured.

    The carbon footprint shows the environmental impact of an organisation by measuring its output of what are considered to be the main climate change (or greenhouse) gases. Carbon footprint, therefore, relates to the amount of greenhouse gases produced by the organisation every day as a result of burning fossil fuels for electricity, heating, transportation and so on. For this reason, carbon footprint calculations are also often known as...

  8. CHAPTER 2: REDUCING YOUR DIRECT CARBON COST
    (pp. 18-21)

    For most organisations, reducing the primary carbon footprint of their offices will consist in two actions:

    1 reducing the amount of fuel consumed in onsite gas- or oil-fired boilers, through plant efficiency and/or controlled usage

    2 reducing the number of business miles commuted by management and members of staff in cars and planes owned (or controlled) by the organisation.

    Boilers that are installed in smaller offices are usually of the domestic variety and their default settings are, therefore, those appropriate to a domestic setting: they come on in the morning and later in the afternoon, then continue burning until bedtime....

  9. CHAPTER 3: ENERGY EFFICIENCY IN THE OFFICE
    (pp. 22-28)

    Gary Hird, IT Strategy Manager at UK retailer, John Lewis, says an awareness of energy efficiency fits with the company’s ethos which emphasises responsible capitalism and employee democracy. ‘I joined the company in 1989,’ he says, ‘and one of the first things I noticed was that every light switch had a sticker next to it, reading “Switch off, you’re burning my bonus”. It made pure sense to do that because we all benefited as a result.’⁹

    The obvious starting point for any energy efficiency planning is to ensure that the organisation’s energy purchasing is as cost-effective as possible. Utility companies...

  10. CHAPTER 4: DATA STORAGE
    (pp. 29-32)

    E-mail has become the standard means for individuals and organisations to communicate with one another and amongst themselves. The proliferation of free Internet e-mail accounts allowing substantial e-mail attachments, and the digitisation of books, pictures, music, video and films, all contribute to a significant increase in processing and storage capacity requirements.

    E-mails and e-mail attachments can very rapidly and exponentially increase server storage requirements. For example, if one person sends a 1MB PowerPoint®presentation to 10 colleagues and they each move that e-mail into their own PST file, there will be 10MB of duplicated data.

    The PST file is a...

  11. CHAPTER 5: THIN CLIENTS
    (pp. 33-34)

    A ‘thin client’¹⁵ describes the client in a client-server system architecture in which the client depends largely on the server (or, using the Software as a Service – SaaS – model, on servers available in the ‘Cloud’) for processing activities. PCs, also known as work stations, do a substantial part of their processing locally on their own systems, using the comprehensive and complex software packages available from Microsoft®, Apple®and others.

    There is an argument that most users do not need to access most of the capability available on their PCs most of the time. Indeed, they often do not need all...

  12. CHAPTER 6: PAPER
    (pp. 35-41)

    The production and use of paper is said to have a significant carbon footprint, with the additional negative impact that cutting down forests to create paper removes one of the earth’s means of converting CO₂ back to oxygen.

    The idea that larger users of paper (a major output of office activity) should switch to recycled paper in order to protect the earth’s forests is, therefore, not surprising. Recycling, however, is a complex area and it is not always clear what the most appropriate approach to this issue might be.

    The flowchart above provides a diagrammatic representation of the process used...

  13. CHAPTER 7: REDUCE TRAVEL COSTS
    (pp. 42-52)

    Travel and commuting costs, using employees’ own vehicles, public transport or commercial airlines, all form part of an organisation’s tertiary carbon footprint.

    It is difficult to correctly estimate the CO₂ emissions caused by staff commutes. The starting point is that each gallon of petrol burned releases approximately 18 kg of CO₂ into the air; this figure will be worse if the car is running on underinflated tyres, has roof racks and other fittings that reduce fuel efficiency, or is driven quickly or abruptly. Larger, less fuel-efficient vehicles will obviously get fewer miles per gallon of fuel and will have a...

  14. CHAPTER 8: OFFICE SUPPLIES AND STAFF REFRESHMENTS
    (pp. 53-55)

    Your secondary carbon footprint will include the various supplies you use in the office, the way you handle staff refreshments and, logically, how you source office furniture. Many of these issues may be tackled within a resource efficiency initiative (see Chapter 10). How far any organisation is prepared to take some of these issues will depend on their own culture, on the identifiable environmental benefits and on the cost-benefit analysis. Many organisations will take the view that their fiduciary duty to their shareholders requires them to maximise profits (in both the short and long terms); others will take the view...

  15. CHAPTER 9: WATER USAGE
    (pp. 56-57)

    Reduction in water usage will not directly reduce the organisation’s carbon footprint; for many organisations, though, a reduction in water usage is seen as contributing to an environmentally friendly work place.

    The first stage in assessing water use within the workplace is to calculate how much water is being used. The best way to do this is to create what is called a site water balance.

    A water balance is a numerical account of where water enters and leaves the office site, and where it is used in the meantime. Create an office water delivery chart that provides an overview...

  16. CHAPTER 10: RESOURCE EFFICIENCY, WASTE AND RECYCLING
    (pp. 58-60)

    ‘Resource efficiency’ is the term used to describe a structured environmental initiative that has the potential to save organisations a lot of money.

    According to Envirowise, the UK government-funded organisation: ‘waste costs money, typically up to 4% of business turnover and, by finding ways to reduce waste, your company could become more profitable’. The following guidance is from the Envirowise website and is so clear and straightforward that we have reproduced it here in its entirety.

    To make savings in your waste costs and reduce the impact on the environment, following the waste hierarchy helps to identify different options by...

  17. ITG RESOURCES
    (pp. 61-63)