Transparency cuts firms' energy use

5th July 2013

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Companies that publicly state energy reduction goals are more likely to invest in measures to improve efficiency and access renewable sources than less transparent organisations, according to the latest global energy efficiency indicator study by Johnson Controls

The survey of more than 3,000 energy managers reveals that firms with public targets implement 50% more efficiency and renewable energy measures than those without goals.

Of the companies polled that have published energy targets, 64% have a dedicated capital budget for energy improvements and 59% have established an energy management team. The equivalent figures for firms with no set targets are 31% and 18%.

Cost reduction is not the main driver for greater energy efficiency, according to the study, with those companies most active on energy management also citing reputation and raising property values as important benefits.

Meanwhile, researchers from the universities of Harvard, Reading and Imperial College London claim increased use of cloud computing services will cut energy consumption and help reduce global environmental damage.

The study says 11.2 TWh less energy will be consumed annually if 80% of public and private organisations in Europe, Brazil, China, Canada and Indonesia switch to cloud-based email, customer relationship management (CRM) and groupware solutions for their staff. This is equivalent to 25% of the energy consumed each year by London.

“Contrary to the perception of power-hungry data centres, the energy efficiency of cloud infrastructure and its ‘embedded carbon’ outperform onsite services by an order of magnitude,” said Dr Peter Thomond, who led the study.

Luis Neves, chair of the Global e-Sustainability Initiative (GeSI), which sponsored the research, commented: “Cloud-based email, CRM and groupware are only the tip of the iceberg. In 2012, GeSI found that large-scale, systems-enabled broadband and information and communication technologies could deliver a 16.5% reduction in global emissions.”

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