In this economy, more and more companies are re-evaluating their current IT infrastructure and going back to basics to cut costs and save energy.
Even though technology is fast and ever changing, CEOs, CIOs and IT managers need to ensure their companies are technologically efficient in addition to being technologically advanced. Lack of energy efficiency costs U.S. companies more than $28 billion annually, according to a report conducted by 1E and the Alliance to Save Energy, a nonprofit organization that promotes worldwide energy efficiency to achieve a healthier economy.
Companies could save millions of dollars by instituting a few, easy-to-implement energy fundamentals. Here are some tips to help you get a better handle on your energy consumption costs:
 ●Migrate from desktop to laptops. Making this switch provides the flexibility for your employees to work off of battery power for a portion of the time instead of always being plugged into an electrical outlet. Simply by unplugging from the grid, depending on where you’re located, you could save up to $100 in energy costs per computer every year.
 ●Drain the battery, not your earnings. If your company has migrated to laptops, ensure that they are configured properly to maximize battery power. Having the ability to work off battery power means nothing if the computer is still plugged in all day. If you own a mid-sized company, you could be seeing up to 25 percent of the money you spend on powering your endpoints (laptop, PC, etc.) wasted by keeping your computers tethered to an outlet.
Install software that manages power to laptops when the battery level reaches a certain charge. Use of such software can reduce power consumption by as much as 80 percent. This can equal an annual savings of up to $25 for each of your organization’s computers. And this number is sure to grow as energy prices continue to rise.
 ●Utilize time-based PoE (Power over Ethernet) optimization. Turning PoE on or off on your network switch based on a schedule saves power and, therefore, money. When PoE devices are not in use (i.e. during the night, or on the weekend) PoE can be disabled until needed.
There are also IT security benefits to using time-based PoE optimization. There is no way you can have a 100 percent secure network/systems unless you unplug everything from your power source. Time based PoE takes care of that for you. No power means no security holes, which is especially important given the continued reliance on wireless IT components.
 ●Install a smart grid. This system predicts and intelligently responds to the behavior and actions of all electric power users connected to it. The electrical grid supplies power, lights, heating/air conditioning, etc. only to the users’ workspaces currently working at a given time. Like a programmable home thermostat that can monitor itself, the smart grid will save you money and time by turning on and shutting off IT components as dictated by your power supply needs.
 ●Enable your employees to telework.  Obviously, this cuts down on big office energy and overhead expenses. Imagine the savings if you allow staffers in a 1,000-person call center to work from home.
With an IP contact center solution, those people can telework but still equally distribute/load balance calls intelligently. This not only means you will save on power but overall building maintenance.
 ●Follow the government’s lead. Currently before Congress, the Energy Savings & Industrial Competitiveness Act of 2011 (ESICA) is “a bill to promote energy savings in residential and commercial buildings and industry.” If passed, it would dictate that federal agencies develop a plan for “using advanced tools that promote energy savings such as computer hardware, energy efficiency software and power management tools.”
The goal is to save the American taxpayer millions a year in wasted IT energy costs, but it would also open a vast new market for both hardware and software developers of efficient and cost saving power management solutions.
 So this year, power management and reducing energy costs are going to be key themes for IT department heads. The CIOs who are more focused on efficiency are going to survive while the ones who aren’t, won’t.
With many sectors of the economy still struggling to get back on track, not having a comprehensive power management plan is something you literally can’t afford to ignore.

  Jason Oh is the practice director of borderless networks at Crofton, Md.-based Force 3, which provides data center, borderless networks, unified communication and cyber security services for federal agencies and companies.