Going Green: How Softchoice is making an impact on the environment

Going Green: How Softchoice is making an impact on the environment

To help reduce their carbon footprint, search-engine giant Google decided to scrap their lawn mowers and rent goats to munch on their lawns instead. Not only are these goats much more environmentally-friendly than lawn mowers, but as Google puts it, “goats are a lot cuter to watch!”

Softchoice hasn’t yet progressed to renting goats to do our landscaping, but we’re doing our part to take care of the environment with some other green initiatives. Being a technology provider, we know it’s important to look at how we can become more conscious of implementing more environmentally-aware practices when it comes to technology – after all, the IT industry produces the same carbon emissions as the airline industry, approximately 1 billion tonnes of Carbon Dioxide per year. While we may be excited about the technology advances we’ve seen recently (i.e. iPads, Google Maps, social media outlets), we have to be conscious of the amount of energy it takes to run the servers and infrastructure that support these tools.

Of course, while data centers can be obvious energy gorgers, there are ways that IT companies can run their centers to help reduce their carbon footprint. To find out how Softchoice is making our data center greener, I sat down with Softchoice IT Infrastructure Manager Lester Moniz. Lester explained the top 3 green IT initiatives that Softchoice has been focusing on recently: [Read more…]

Why Businesses Should Offer a Green Commute Program

Encouraging your employees to leave their cars at home improves more than just air quality

Just some of the Softchoice green crew who bike to work every day.

 

In honor of the Toronto Group Commute’s Bike to Work Day and Bike Month, we wanted to spread the word about green commuting.

But biking isn’t the only way! Softchoice employees take advantage of anything from carpooling to public transit to using their own two feet – all part of our company incentive program that encourages employees to travel green.

Long-time Softchoice employee, Joseph Byer, takes advantage of the Green Commute program almost every day. “I often wish my trip was longer,” he says. “When the weather is nice, I purposefully take the scenic route. I also like taking my bike out over lunch and getting some extra fresh air.”

Softchoice isn’t the only one. Many companies also support ‘greener’ commuting through providing various programs, including: [Read more…]

Burning Calories while Saving Energy

There are several ways to save energy that we can incorporate into many facets of our everyday lives, some of which more obvious than others.  Whether it’s something as simple as turning off a light when it’s not needed, or carpooling to work, the opportunity is always there to make our lives just a little bit greener. 

 Working at the Softchoice Head Office in Toronto, employees have the ability to take advantage of the Softchoice gym, an opportunity that many take advantage of.  Unlimited and free access to an employee gym is a great perk to have.  Not only does it give one the convenience to hit the weights or elliptical whenever you choose, but it also demonstrates that your company is promoting a healthy and active lifestyle.  Health is important…so is the environment. Regular exercise is one of these facets in our everyday lives that we can make just a little bit greener with a few easily-developed habits. 

 One of the easiest changes to make is to simply stop buying packs of bottled water for your workout.  Save your money!  Why create more plastic waste?  Over 60 million plastic water bottles are disposed improperly everyday.  Now, I’m not saying that you should stop drinking water while you exercise, staying hydrated is important.  But next time you go to the gym, bring a re-usable water bottle.  [Read more…]

The 3-second secret to being a green hero

In my 4 years of experience as sustainability manager at Softchoice, I’ve met hundreds of people who are really passionate about energy efficiency. And I mean really, really passionate.

But you know what? I’ve realized you don’t need to be a hyper active green-thumb to help out with this important movement. It doesn’t matter what your day job is — from IT workers to salespeople to finance gurus — you can make a big difference with a very small, very simple, first step.

This “first step” is easy, it won’t cost you a dime and it only takes three seconds — but it’s very important nonetheless.

Can you guess what it is? [Read more…]

PUE Calculator Update

In a previous post  I talked about the project I was going to take on to find out PUE number.  Well it turns out that it wasn’t nearly as easy as I thought it was going to be.  Softchoice’s main data center is managed out of a co-location, so no matter how much power and cooling we actually use, we are still going to pay for a specific amount.  It sounds like unless we can consolidate enough to remove an entire rack of equipment, our price and power won’t change.

We also have a smaller back up data center in our Toronto office as well.  So again I worked with a very nice person in our IT department who took the time out to talk to me again.  Unfortunately I got the same answer out of him.  Our Toronto office is on a monthly plan with our power company that allows us to pay the same amount every month regardless of what we use. 

Now I am kind of stuck for ideas.  Even if we measure and find our PUE number there isn’t anything we can do about it.  Has anyone else run into this yet?  We have consolidated on the newest equipment in the industry already so I don’t think we can shrink our data center footprints any further.  But now what?

Step on that scale

No matter what you celebrate during this month, it’s the season of giving, eating and communing with friends and family. Come January you are going to be trying to find ways to squeeze back into those jeans (for me it’ll be spinning)  While you think about ways to get leaner in the New Year, think about your IT infrastructure. How can you cut down on your energy consumption and make your carbon footprint that much smaller?

This fantastic article I just read outlines how IT can be leaner and greener. It talks about how companies can navigate through the new paradigm we are living in.  It says “Green IT is about making innovations a part of mainstream business. Companies that want to survive will prepare for change and transform to stay competitive, by adopting new strategies and solutions.”

Want to learn more as you ponder next year and how you can make an impact that’ll help the planet? Check out the article here.