Reducing our energy consumption: IT

Computers and related equipment consume a large amount of energy, even when sitting idle. Servers especially generate a lot of heat and must be kept cool, usually with energy-consuming air conditioning.

WPP IT manages computing in our companies for our people around the world. The technology involved in supporting these people and businesses includes 28,000 laptops, 61,000 desktops and 7,000 servers. We estimate that the desktops and laptops combined can consume as much as 63,000,000 kWh of electricity a year, which converts to 36,000 tonnes of CO2. WPP is currently engaged in a project to consolidate its 7000 servers and move them to data centres designed to reduce the environmental impact.

What has WPP done so far?

Icon - Switch offWe have developed a plan to cut the energy used by our computers across the Group by up to 30%. The first steps in reducing power consumption will be to make better use of existing power management technologies in desktops, laptops and servers. For example, systems will automatically power down devices which are not in use, such as the screen when you are away from your computer. On a desktop computer this accounts for a third of its energy use.

All new computers must comply with our new power consumption standards for desktops, laptops and servers. This will reduce the emissions from new equipment by a third.

What WPP will do next

  • Extend the life of new energy efficient IT equipment and appoint a global partner to ensure that unwanted IT equipment is disposed of properly,
  • Analyse the Group's IT infrastructure to identify where we can make it more efficient, such as reducing the number of servers and other devices.
  • Install remote power management to ensure that servers and desktops are automatically powered down when idle. Power management policies for users will be set on the network.
  • Introduce standards for copiers, printers, scanners and faxes to ensure that they have advanced power management features and the printers and copiers can produce double-sided copies.
  • Include environmental performance in our assessment of IT and equipment suppliers.

What you can do

At work:

  • Turn off your monitor if you aren't going to use the computer for more than 20 minutes and turn off the whole machine if you are to be away for longer than two hours. Ask the IT department if it is possible to automate this for you.
  • Switch off technical equipment such as projectors at the mains whenever unused. Avoid using standby.
  • Make sure all electrical devices, including mobile telephones, PCs, printers and other equipment are recycled.

At home:

  • Switch off equipment at the power socket and avoid using standby on your computer, TV and sound system.
  • Unplug all chargers when not in use and avoid charging devices such as phones, BlackBerries, iPods and laptops overnight. Chargers consume energy when they are switched on but not charging.
  • Consider energy efficiency as well as price when buying new products. There can be a big difference between the energy use of items like televisions and computers. Check for energy ratings.

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