The Boston Herald Newspaper notes EMC's focus on energy savings in an article published yesterday, December 13th.
The story highlights the fact that lots of modest individual projects can add up to some very large savings when taken together.
In this case, the Environmental Defense Fund had 26 of their fellows - MBA students with some environmental background - have a look at some local companies to see what the possibilities were for some energy savings. What they identified was:
"$54 million in potential savings for 23 host companies, including Boston-area firms EMC, Genzyme and Stop & Shop. The proposed projects could reduce energy use by 160 million kilowatt hours a year (enough to power 14,000 homes) and eliminate 100,000 metric tons of greenhouse gas emissions yearly."
Not bad for short work by some smart volunteers. Makes me think that other smart people in IT should be able to do pretty much the same if they think about it.
Doesn't mean it's easy. The EMC example wasn't simple for Ian Lavery, a graduate student at Massachusetts Institute of Technology’s Sloan School of Management. He worked a whole summer at it. But it will have a nice payoff.
“Because EMC has been so committed to energy efficiency for the past 20 years, Ian was challenged,” said Sandra Lehane, EMC’s global facilities project manager. “All the basic projects were completed. Ian had to get into the innovative technologies that are out there.”
Lavery, 29, an Arlington native, gave EMC seven recommendations. One was to install a day lighting system in which photosensors adjust the amount of artificial light based on the amount of natural light available. Another was to use window film to provide more insulation and reduce solar glare.
But the idea EMC was most taken with, Lehane said, was Lavery’s analysis of how to more efficiently cool the company’s technology labs, which get very hot due to the electronic equipment. Lehane estimated that project could save $187,000 a year. All in all, she said, his suggestions could save the company $650,000 a year, with just a two-year period to recoup the initial implementation costs.
“It’s just so encouraging to see that the future business leaders of our country are so focused on the environment. These are the people who are going to run corporate America in the next few years,” Lehane said. To put it bluntly, she said, “It pays to be green.”
I think its the mindset that makes up much of the energy and efficiency opportunity advantage. If we are open minded about it, maybe more of us can entice a few bright and energetic MBAs to shed light on problems we have been staring at for 20 years.
Maybe save some green in the process too.