What are some effective approaches to sustainability in IT?

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CEO & Founder in Software, 11 - 50 employees
A lot of our clients have phenomenal growth and they're now looking at how to cut down on real estate, which we did at Rapid7 as well. When you're hiring 600 people a quarter, do you really need to have dedicated seats in offices for all of them? We looked at the real estate footprint, combining it with technology to have the ability to book hoteling spaces within the office. How do you manage schedules for those floating spaces? That is coming up a lot with our clients as well. They want us to help them build some automation around that so they don't have to go build another 30K square foot office just because they are hiring another 600 people. But how do we address that problem?
CEO in Manufacturing, 11 - 50 employees
We built a data center in Utah for eBay in 2012 and I could not get renewable energy in that state. Initially it was because the utility didn't have it. We went to the utility and said, "Somebody has to invest in it." And then, we went to the cities and had to deal with tariffs, etc. It was so complicated to get renewable energy. I had to go to the economic development office of the mayor to say, "What can we do?" We ended up passing Senate Bill 12 (SB-12), which enabled direct renewable energy contracts with large power consumption consumers. But then the utility blocked it and the economics went in the opposite direction.

So we ended up doing on-site micro generation with Bloom Fuel Cells as primary power and removed the generators and uninterruptible power supply (UPS) from our data centers. We generated power on site, and used 100% of it 100 ft away. That’s the kind of thing that effectively balances economics and ecology. But we had to go back and make the economic decision because that actually saved us money as well. It didn't get me 100% renewable energy, but it dropped my carbon footprint by 58% because it was natural gas versus coal which is 94% of that state in utility delivery.
2 Replies
Director IT | CTO Office | Digital Factory / Industry 4.0 in Hardware, 10,001+ employees

That's interesting for Utah, because Utah is at the forefront of renewable energy now. They're trying to clean up their entire atmosphere over there. I have a friend there working on a road between some of the shipping docks and inside of the city where the road is going to power the freight trucks. They're working on things that you don't typically see in the US.

CEO in Manufacturing, 11 - 50 employees

But it wasn't the state that was in the way, it was other factors. The state was behind it and we had to pass a law, but the utilities have a different pass. I don't want to beat up the utilities because they have to figure out their own economic model. But now, people are figuring out the economic model. And now they call Salt Lake City the Silicon Slopes. Everybody's rolling in there. Google just announced last week that they're putting another billion dollars into that. Facebook's already there. The NSA is there, and so are eBay and Oracle. There are a whole bunch of big companies going into that area.

Director IT | CTO Office | Digital Factory / Industry 4.0 in Hardware, 10,001+ employees
In the early days of Flex when I used to travel, in the early 2000s, we would go to Asia where we had green fields. We were bringing them up. And it was interesting because the sites were actually turned off during lunch time, even the facilities. The internet also went out. I remember I went into the office, and I had about 500 folks sitting in front of me at their desks, and they took a nap. It was lunch time, and they saved energy that way.

There's a culture around that practice. I also saw that in China early on, but not recently. It was back in the days when everything was unplugged. As their infrastructure has come up, those things aren't practiced as much. Prior to that, I always saw it in India, China, Indonesia, and Malaysia, but not in Europe or the Americas.

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