Three simple steps to becoming more carbon-friendly

Nov 14th, 2019

By Xavier Nel, Head of Product, CloudGate

For South African organisations across sectors, it is becoming imperative to embrace greener, more environmentally-friendly operational practices. In line with global sentiment, both the private and public sector have to cut down on harmful carbon emissions and find ways to reduce carbon footprints.

Such changes have to be driven by leadership, but it is ultimately everyone’s responsibility to drive the changes. Fortunately, technology can play a leading role in helping organisations to embrace carbon-friendly strategies. Let’s take a closer look…

Re-think Your Computing Devices

While much attention has been given to downsizing our big, polluting cars, what about our power-hungry desktop computers? Short of embracing the Desktop-as-a-Service model, one great option is to explore new micro-computing devices.

The CloudGate X, for example, is a locally developed computer that uses less than five percent of the electricity that a typical desktop requires. Seems like a no-brainer, right? By switching to this palm-sized device, organisations can immediately reduce their energy footprint by a significant amount. This type of energy savvy device also enables companies to continue operating for a longer time during outages/load shedding – with much of the processing power and storage capabilities that traditional computers offer.

Shift to Cloud Computing

For organisations looking to simultaneously cut operational costs and become more environmentally sustainable, cloud computing is arguably the first and most accessible step.

There are three categories of cloud services available today: Infrastructure-as-a-Service (IaaS), Platform-as-a-Service (PaaS) and Software-as-a-Service (SaaS). With each, the data and applications are hosted remotely, thereby eliminating the cost and burden of hardware and software acquisition (and maintenance). Using remote services also cuts out the space and energy requirements of on-site servers and hardware.

A study conducted by Accenture for Microsoft referred to in Data Centre Efficiency, Renewable Energy and Carbon Offset Investment Best Practices compared the environmental impacts of providing three of Microsoft’s business applications through customer data centres and Microsoft Cloud data centres. The study found that Microsoft Cloud-based operations reduced carbon emissions by an average of 90% or more for small businesses.

Encourage telecommuting

For organisations that have a robust cloud network in place, there really is no major reason for some employees to be in the office every day. Indeed, with so many new and slick offerings in the way of video conference platforms (Zoom, Skype for Business, etc) as well as team communications (Slack, Trello, Google Suite) companies can now harness remote working with little to no impact on productivity and communications.

Importantly, if employees are working at home, they are cutting down on transport emissions as well as helping to reduce company utility expenses over time. That said, ensure that employees shut down everything using electricity in their office space the day prior to them working from home (otherwise it defeats the point!).

For savvy business leaders and decision-makers, going green is an integral part of organisational success – and future sustainability