Axiz Business Development Manager, Louis Helmbold says the Information and Communication Technology (ICT) sector has an important role to play in “greening” initiatives. He says that the onus lies with industry leaders to provide IT solutions that work towards reducing organisations carbon footprints. “A good example,” says Helmbold, is HP’s intelligent building solution. “This is positioned for the next generation of fully managed and optimised buildings and is part of a host of climate change initiatives.”
Helmbold says that HP has been optimising the power efficiency of their devices for some time and estimates a 33 percent efficiency rate over market averages. He says that the next generation of intelligent buildings will be managed on a converged network with broadband internet access, virtual private networks, VoIP, unified messaging, wireless LANs, video conferencing, pc and print services as well as service portals.
Central software control allows for additional energy efficiency by allowing devices to be powered down during non-operational periods. “By introducing a converged network, companies will save costs with the majority of these savings occurring at night.” Helmbold says that as power at night is more affordable, systems should capture and store this “cheaper” power and use it during peak times.
New generation intelligent buildings have further advantages, including an increase in property value, competitive differentiation, reduced building management costs and generating new revenue streams while attracting and retaining tenants or guests. Helmbold envisions this new generation of intelligent buildings emerging across the property market including hotels, office parks, airports and residential complexes. “Operating within this new environment makes business sense. Not only does it enable an organisation to comply with environmental legislation and initiate cost saving programmes but these greening initiatives have a direct impact on worker efficiency.”
“While energy-efficient design can pay for itself in reduced energy costs, it may also result in higher worker productivity, lower absenteeism, fewer errors, better quality, and increased retail sales.” These were the findings of a recent Rocky Mountain Institute study1 that also found, following eight documented case studies, that productivity gains from green design can be as high as 16 percent.
Helmbold says that depending on the size of the building and the integration level of the management functions, companies may start to see a return on investment in as little as three years. This timeframe becomes even shorter if the workforce efficiency increase is taken into consideration.
“Today organisations can intelligently manage their buildings heating and cooling and electricity use as well as security, facilities, inventory, telecommunications and more. Being smart and managing utility consumption through optimising the facility resource use and purchase can result in reductions of 25-35% (in cost),” concludes Helmbold.