The Power of Off
IT technology innovation can go hand in hand with meeting environmental and business sustainability targets. Management and staff at IAG's IT data centre at Burwood East in Victoria see sustainability as integral to their operation - not a separate issue or an add-on.
IT servers are major consumers of power, and IAG's IT data centre at Burwood East in Victoria has found innovative ways to contribute significantly to IAG lowering its Australian energy consumption by 14% in 12 months. In the process, it's also unleashed the enthusiasm of employees to help make a difference.
A sustainability team representing the 200 staff at the centre devised a sustainability action plan that since its implementation has:
- Reduced water consumption by 47% in 2006/2007 compared to the previous 12 months, representing an annual saving of around 1,000,000 litres;
- Reduced electricity consumption by around 12%;
- Assisted the OH&S committee;
- Helped other groups develop their strategy and business cases; and
- Improved awareness of sustainable practices and what sustainability means.
Andrew Cresp, Head of Infrastructure, Technology Services, pays tribute to staff efforts. "It is great to be leading Australia in technology innovation, and even better in how it aligns with our sustainability targets."
"Sustainability is part of what we do - it is not a separate issue or a series of isolated actions," according to David Wait, Data Centre Facilities Manager and Chair of the Sustainability Team at Burwood. "Living near Ballarat in Victoria, the issue of climate change really hit home coping with Stage 4 water restrictions brought on by water storages dropping to nine percent earlier this year. Questions from my seven year old son made me realise his awareness of our environmental challenges was challenging my thinking. I started to realise that sustainability is all about managing risk. Both in our businesses and our communities," said David.
David found that once he started developing ideas to reduce environmental impact at work, lots of other people at the data centre put their hands up to get involved. "You don't have to look far to find people at work who are passionate about these issues," said David. "It really motivates people to be doing something positive for society and the environment, and at the same time we're seeing great business results from our activities."
The data centre has reduced its server count from 1,500 to 900, meaning outstanding results in reducing power use, reducing heat output in the centre, and freeing up additional space. It has also reduced pressure for a costly data centre upgrade and reduced ongoing hardware costs.
"It was great to be able to help the server team out with developing their business case," said David Wait. "We have helped the business to de-activate screensavers on IAG's desktop and laptop machines which will see further major gains. On average each desktop machine runs idle with a screensaver for 3.75 hours a day. This equates to approximately 110 MW of electrical energy annually or, in practical terms, enough power to run the whole data centre for 5.5 days a year or the power needed for a typical suburban home for 5,500 days."
It's these types of smart initiatives, driven by passionate and innovative people like David Wait and the team at the Burwood data centre, which are helping us run a sustainable business; and creating a strong legacy for our children at the same time.
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IT technology innovation can go hand in hand with meeting environmental and business sustainability targets.