Over my Christmas holiday vacation I visited a coal mining museum with my family and much of what we learned in that mine, nearly 800 feet under the ground are applicable to everyday life and how we are in constant strive to improve.

The examples that I cite are the machines that were designed in Germany and in the USA during the 20th century to automate not only the drilling of the coal from the bed but also in the extraction of the mined coal in readiness for selling on. Back in in 19th century this whole process was the role for many families, from the parents who would be deep in the mine in small 24 inch high tunnels on their hands and knees, scrabbling with small wooden tools to effectively hack at the coal seam, and then passing it out to their children (as young as five years old) who would move the coal out in one tonne carts to the mine head for payment. Obviously, these automation machines would significantly reduce the need for the whole family to be down in the mine but could also cultivate significantly more product per day making everybody richer along the way.

Now, if we take a look at modern IT systems, a common issue that many businesses face is the cost associated with running the business or ‘keeping the lights on’. With many huge datacenters of equipment churning away hour after hour, day after day, it is clear that there is a lot of electricity being used just to keep these lights flickering, the disks spinning, and the networks alive. If we take a look out onto the office or the shop floor, again we see many PCs sitting powered up waiting for their moment of glory when their associated user(s) arrives at work in order to begin for the day. The same of course is said for lighting and air-conditioning, all sitting patiently for those all-important users to show up in readiness for work. All of these things are consuming valuable resources, and as a result are costing both the company in question and the greater economy as a direct result.

When I took on my very first job out of college I recall the building that the business was located within was a 1960’s style building with reasonably recent renovations applied to it, but the thing I recall most of all (after the hot beef sandwiches in the canteen on a Friday of course) was the fact that every single light switch had a little plaque next to it that simply stated “Does this NEED to be on?” A simple, yet important notice to empower the user to help save the business park a little money in electricity but with a louder implication about the environment (the plaque was also adorned with images of trees and flowers around the bottom). The point here being that I cared less about the business park electricity bill but would more than likely be concerned over a wider environmental impact of keeping unnecessary lights on.

We all have a responsibility to be more aware of ourselves and the environment so why not start today and begin thinking about whether your lights, computers and other electrical appliances actually need to be always drawing power from the grid?

Beyond this, why not take a leaf from the miners from the 20th century as they realized that they could automate many of the manual operations and therefore make huge operational cost savings and at the same time remove the risk to the younger families by removing the need for them in the mines?

At 1E, we have been helping businesses automate their cost reductions by managing the uptime for their desktop estate, in the process reducing their carbon footprints and costs to keep their IT lights on. So, if you want to learn more about how you too can reduce your carbon footprint and costs related to electricity usage, drop us a line and we would be only too happy to help. We promise not to tell you more about 19th and 20th century coal mining.

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Andrew Robertson
Andrew Robertson is VP of Marketing at 1E.