Wednesday, 7 January 2015

Reducing carbon emissions?

I could do a blog on global warming climate change, but I would have to do a lot of research as there appears to be a thick layer of hype and politics between the science and what we see on the media, so let's not do that now. What does seem sensible is making things efficient anyway.

As such, it is not a surprise to see an article on Talk Talk reducing their carbon emissions.

I did wonder what people would think of A&A though. It is actually quite hard for us to say we are reducing carbon emissions, mainly because we have always had an attitude of being quite efficient long before it was trendy.

So here are a few things that we do...
  • Our offices (as of about a year ago) have nice efficient LED lighting where lights are on all day. We plan to cover all of the lights eventually.
  • We already have a cycle rack and company bikes for those that want to use them.
  • Office PCs that would not otherwise do so are set to hibernate over night.
  • We already use heat pump / air-con for heating, so over 100% efficiency.
  • We have always sent invoices and statements by email rather than paper.
  • In our core network we use what is probably the lowest power routers available, the FireBrick FB6000 series that handle a gigabit of customer traffic in 0.1A.
  • Some staff work from home where possible to reduce travelling.
Obviously, if we do find more ways to improve efficiency whilst still providing the quality of service, we will consider those, but we are pretty good already. So you are unlikely to see news items about how we have made massive reductions - as doing so is admitting you were massively inefficient before. Suggestions welcome.


  1. Home working for staff to reduce travel. Not sure how practical that would be though.

    1. Ah, yes, doing that - on the list.

    2. ISTR that working from home is usually actually less efficient than commuting to the office, on account of everyone having to heat and light individual homes instead of a single building.

    3. Use much lower powered pc? Not sure what you have but I don't suppose in your line of work you need anything other than a atom processor?

    4. An Atom is not necessarily a big power saving compared to a Xeon E3; it's about the same power consumption at idle, but doesn't peak as high or as fast. So you may find that (for example), the Atom and the Xeon both draw about 4W at idle (keeping SSD, HDMI, RAM, gigE running), but that the Atom peaks at 20W for 5 seconds, whereas the Xeon peaks at 100W for half a second when running the intensive part of your workload. The Xeon thus draws 330 Ws in the intensive part, while the Atom draws 500 Ws to do the same work.

      All depends on workload, of course, and on ancillaries like PSU and disk choices.

    5. Indeed, the key thing is modern computers/processors being used which adjust processing speed and manage power much better than older systems.

  2. I toured a new data centre a few years ago, and asked whether they had considered hot/cold aisle containment - the answer was they were intending to do it, but if they didn't fit it on day one, and subsequently 'improved efficiency' by adding it later, they could get a tax break that wasn't available otherwise that ended up being financially better than the extra cooling costs incurred by not fitting it straight away...

    1. Yes, this is what I have heard as well. It is crazy politics. If there are tax breaks for saving on emissions we'll have to start posting invoices, just so we can stop doing so!

  3. Use Ecotricity as your electricity and gas supplier? They invest more in renewables than anyone else. I've been a customer for years. Their customer numbers have soared in the past year as they froze their prices while the big 6 hiked them up.

    Price isn't everything for me and I was with them when they simply price-matched your regional supplier, which wasn't always the cheapest option, but I like what they're doing and their customer service is stellar. Despite their expanding customer base, they still answer the phones immediately (and not from India) and I have it on good authority that they're investing in technology to help keep things that way.

    I once told them that Scottish Hydro were repeatedly harassing me at my door so they took action to get them barred with no effort required on my part. I even got a grovelling apology on the phone from a manager.

    Contrast all that with British Gas. I once had to call them (to switch back to Ecotricity after moving!) and was told that the wait time would be 25 minutes. I left the phone off the hook, drove to Tesco, did a shop, and came back just in time. What a joke.