A Philosophy, Not a Trend
CityNAP was the first green data center in San Antonio utilizing 100% wind energy at inception. For us, sustainability has never been about “looking” green. Rather, it’s always been about the natural intersection between business intelligence and environmental intelligence. We believe the two go hand in hand, and this philosophy governs everything from purchasing to staffing to operations.
We continue to offer interested clients ways of reducing their carbon impact. CityNAP has worked diligently to provide our clients and our staff energy efficient and environmentally sensitive alternatives. Below are some of the more practical decisions that have made sense for us and why.
Interested parties may secure 100% of their energy requirements from wind sources courtesy of CPS Energy’s Windtricity program, the nation’s leading wind-source utility. Harnessing winds from West Texas and coastal Texas wind farms means that every kilowatt of wind-generated electricity reduces the need to use less environmentally friendly resources.
Many of our product and purchasing decisions are driven by energy efficiency and waste reduction. Additionally, we have reduced energy loss by removing some of the unnecessary windows in the data center, and by adding a Dryvit Outsulation skin on certain of the exterior walls (already energy efficient thanks to double-walled construction). The data center also utilizes one of the most efficient HVAC systems available.
Implementing a recycling program for our staff, contractors and customers has been an educational process emphasizing individual and collective responsibility. We also continue to emphasize the proper procedures for the recycling of computer parts, lighting and batteries.
Reduce travel costs and CO2. Hi-Definition video conferencing provides valuable face-to-face connections maximizing real-time communications and minimizing environmental impacts such as emissions, and routine travel expenses. A behavior-changing technology, HD video conferencing is a lifelike communications experience minus the carbon impact. A daily cross-town trip in a vehicle (20 miles each way, 5 days a week) may produce 3.5 to 5 metric tons of CO2 annually. A single round-trip from Los Angeles to Tokyo adds another 6 tons (and costs upwards of $6,000).
GPS Navigation Systems
We have encouraged all of our mobile staff to have a GPS. While this is not often mentioned as a green strategy, it is very simple and offers time and gas-reducing benefits to the company and to the environment. To foster the use of these devices we have given away portable units to our employees and purchased mobile phones that often have this technology available. These devices not only save time, but according to study by Navteq, drivers with navigation systems use 12% less fuel and reduce their carbon dioxide emissions by 21%. With the prices of GPS devices plummeting, encouraging the use of them in our organization is a no-brainer.
Mobility / Telework / Telecommuting
While telecommuting cannot work in every business environment or for every role, some of the main benefits of telecommuting and why we embrace it are outlined below:
- Reduced Environmental Impact – decreased carbon emissions, traffic, and wear and tear on vehicles.
- Cost Reduction – Take advantage of reduced corporate facilities, reduced travel time and general office overhead.
- Staffing – Recruit the best and brightest. With multiple positions does it really matter where they reside? This is a big benefit for many employees who would not be able to relocate or have special family needs. This flexibility often increases loyalty and reduces turnover.
- Increased Productivity – By simply reducing or eliminating travel time, there is a major boost in productivity. Many companies have also reported the benefit of reduced absenteeism. As I stated in the intro to this section, I actually found myself working much longer hours which served as an additional boost to productivity
- Disaster Preparedness – Allowing telecommuting also protects your organization by having a ready-made plan in place should H1N1 or some other unexpected event take place that forces key employees to stay home.
- Learn More About Your Team Members – Telework is not for everyone. Some people cannot manage their time properly and some roles are just not suited for it. There are also some beneficial social dynamics of the office that can be lost in a telework environment. But with video conferencing, in-person team meetings and events, it is possible to overcome this drawback. Another benefit is that you can see how your team performs when someone is not looking over their shoulder throughout the day which will offer you insights into their capabilities and potential when left on their own.