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Energy-saving tips for technology users

With the UK facing an energy crisis, rising bills and the threat of black- outs this winter, Richard Nelson, senior technical consultant at technology services provider Probrand, outlines seven steps businesses should take to reduce the energy consumption of their IT equipment

1 Upgrade monitors to LED screens “If your business has separate screens and monitors, consider upgrading them to modern LED backlit versions, which have a much lower power consumption when compared with traditional alternatives, known as CCFL styles. Old equipment can often be traded in or recycled and will result in cost savings in the long run.”

2 Choose a laptop over a desktop “Modern laptops consume 50% less power than equivalent desktop PCs, meaning energy savings start from day one. If you are still using desktops, consider migrating to laptops, ensuring you only plug them in to charge as needed, rather than leaving them constantly connected to the power source. Not only will this save energy, but it will also help to conserve the battery life of the device.”

3 Keep routers switched on
“It pays to switch off most IT equipment at the mains at the end of each working day, but this logic does not apply to internet routers. These should be plugged in and connected to a power source at all times, otherwise your internet service provider could falsely detect an issue and reduce your internet speed while they attempt to stabilise the line.”

4 Clean dust and debris
“All IT equipment should be carefully cleaned and maintained, as dust can cause issues if it enters a device. If you operate servers, keep the fans, vents and filters free of dust and debris so that the airflow can circulate evenly and efficiently. If fans become clogged, the servers have to work much harder to maintain optimal working temperatures, therefore using more energy.”

5 Maintain an optimum temperature “Server rooms should be kept at between 20 and 22 degrees, which varies according to the size of the space and the volume of equipment within it. If air conditioning units are too small for the space and volume they will never reach the target temperature and will consume more energy as they will be running continuously. Inverter-based air conditioning solutions consume less power than older models and work well in most server rooms. You should also limit access to server rooms and keep the doors closed, helping to maintain airflow and temperature.”

6 Consider going virtual
“Physical servers could be virtualised onto more modern and power-efficient platforms, depending on your business needs. You could also consider using resource schedulers with virtual and cloud environments during off-peak periods. This reduces the number of hosts required and helps to conserve power consumption.”

7 Audit and decommission unused equipment
“IT equipment should be audited at regular intervals to ensure you are getting the most out of your devices. Any tech that isn’t in use should be decommissioned and powered down so that it is not using energy unnecessarily. You may also be able to repurpose or trade in devices for new. Make sure you maintain equipment that is in use
to ensure it is operating at its best, prolonging the life of your technology and therefore reducing long-term spend.”

A Top 100 UK VAR with 25 years’ heritage, Probrand provides IT products, cloud services, managed IT services and IT solutions. The business has more than 15 years’ experience delivering award-winning managed IT services and over 1,000 IT solutions annually to private and public sector organisations. In addition, its CIPS-accredited online marketplace connects 40,000 registered IT buyers with 2,500 brands and vendors, with the ability to access additional support from dedicated sector and technical specialists.

Warming to the task

Faced with sky-high electricity bills and a reduction in the Government support outlined in the mini-budget, 70% of hybrid workers admit they’re concerned about the cost of working from home this winter.

In fact, in a survey of 2,000 UK workers by OnePoll for smart building technology firm Infogrid, 23% of hybrid workers say they plan to spend more time in the office to keep down home heating and energy costs. This figure rises to 30% amongst 18-34 year olds.

Respondents are not just concerned about their own costs. According to Infogrid’s Energy Management and the Workplace of the Future report, more than half (55%) worry about energy efficiency in the workplace too, with 27% saying they plan to take personal action, such as turning off lights and monitors, to reduce energy consumption at work. Again, the 18-34 age-group feels most strongly about this, with respective figures of 62% and 32%.

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