Case Study – 3Tek

Subject Areas: Energy, Lighting, Waste, Housekeeping

Sector: Information Technology

Background

3Tek is a Wexford-based IT company offering services and sales to both the business and consumer sectors.

As the company is based in Wexford Enterprise Centre, refuse and water are included in its tenancy agreement. Electricity usage and printing were the main focus for cost savings.

The company saved €1,478 (inclusive of VAT) in the first 12 months after it started implementing changes as a result of  €coMerit. This included making an impressive 35% reduction in their annual electricity usage.

Why?

3Tek directors Kevin McHale and David Scallan regard themselves as energy conscious and liked the idea that Phil Walker was going to save the company money. The business is totally dependent on electricity, so having a green IT image appealed to them. Kevin and David are delighted with the results and would like to extend their thanks to Phil for achieving savings for them – at work and at home.

Although the business comprises just two people, it has an average of six machines operating every day at its 740 sq ft office space at Wexford Enterprise Centre.

Lighting

Adequate lighting is important for a business that involves tasks such as repairing computer hardware. Through the €coMerit process, 3Tek discovered that it had about twice as much lighting as it needed.

The 3Tek office was originally fitted with eight sets of four fluorescent tubes. Phil brought in a light monitor and discovered that half of the tubes could be removed and the 3Tek team would still have perfect working light. The removal of 16 fluorescent tubes has resulted in a saving of four electricity units per day. With each unit priced at 21c, this adds up to €375 annually.

The 16 spare tubes can now be used to replace the ones in situ, and the savings on replacement costs, will be passed on to the Wexford Enterprise Centre.

Electricity Leakage

Computers and other electrical equipment leak electricity when switched off – they have to be turned off at the wall to ensure that they do not use power.

In a company like 3Tek, which relies on machines such as servers and computers, the monitoring of electricity consumption by equipment is important.

Following the €coMerit process, 3Tek started switching machines off at the wall when not in use, and switched all machines off at the wall at the end of the day. The company then went to the extra effort of checking meter readings last thing in the evening and first thing in the morning. As a result 3Tek knew exactly how much electricity its server, which was left switched on at night, used.

Server Efficiency

The server was already five years old, so 3Tek decided to invest in a new, energy-efficient server. The immediate saving was five units of electricity a day, a cost reduction of €1.05 per day.

Monitoring the meter readings has become part of the daily routine at 3Tek. Naturally, the office’s day usage fluctuates. But because of the measures it has taken, it knows what its electricity bill will be – to within a few euro.

The €coMerit process prompted the two 3Tek directors to look at everything that was consuming electricity.

Computer Lifespan

The company’s machines were pretty new before Phil did his review and so they haven’t been replaced. All PCs and laptops have a five-year lifespan, and when the company’s machines come up to their retirement, they will be replaced for energy-saving purposes.

Water Cooler

Another electrical unit in the office was the water cooler. Through monitoring electricity usage, 3Tek discovered that this was using one unit of electricity overnight. The company has saved €87 per year by turning it off at the wall in the evening.

Energy/Ink-Saving Printer

Another energy-saving investment was a new energy and ink-saving printer. The printer is 60% more efficient with ink than a laser printer. This will be of great benefit when 3Tek prints out letters for a marketing campaign to Wexford businesses.

What’s more, if you don’t use the printer for more than half an hour it goes into energy-saving mode.

Another benefit for the business is the fact that it can recommend energy-saving printers to both business and domestic customers. 3Tek is always recommending energy-saving models because it has experienced the savings on the printer.

Printing/Paper/Postage

The company is achieving greater savings on printing costs than it could have expected due to changing how it sends out invoices and statements to customers. It now emails clients rather than printing and posting.

The cost of sending paper invoices and statements was estimated to be 57c per item. The stamp, at 55c, was the largest outlay. The envelope, paper, ink, and a very small amount of electricity came to 2c.

Having sent out just over 1,000 such documents by email rather than post within the first year, the savings really started to add up. 3Tek estimates that it has already saved approximately €581.

Outside the Office

Having observed immediate savings in the workplace, naturally David and Kevin started making changes in their respective homes. Kevin plugged all individually connected electrical appliances in each room into a surge connector so that he could turn everything off at the wall with a flick of one switch.

Electrical appliances with standby lights tend to leak energy, and by doing this Kevin estimates he has saved €20 a year per room. He also changed 54 50-watt bulbs in downlighters around the house to energy-saving 2-watt bulbs. The savings could be seen straight away with a €50 reduction in a two-month electricity bill. David did the same in his home.

Breakdown of total recorded savings for 3Tek (€1,478)

New server: €434.99

Removal of extra fluorescent tubes: €374.99

Water cooler switch-off: €87.00

Emailing invoices: €581.40

The actions on the server, fluorescent tubes and water cooler resulted in a 35% reduction in the company’s electricity usage.

Isolating everything at the wall has obviously resulted in other savings, but it is too difficult to put a precise figure on this.

So what difference can almost €1,500 make to a small business? It will pay for the price of a new server within 18 months, which contributes to ongoing savings.