by Rodney Gedda

Audit lowers IT carbon footprint at Australian Paper

Nov 05, 2010
CareersInnovationIT Leadership

Paper manufacturing company, Australian Paper, has completed a carbon assessment project to measure and analyse IT-related carbon emissions and align those with its wider environmental sustainability programs.

Australian Paper CIO, Shaun Scallan, is part of a team looking at sustainability, including metrics for reporting.

Green IT savings aren’t pulled out specifically, so it is early days from a technology perspective, but not from an environmental sustainability perspective at the company.

“Energy use for IT is around the one per cent range of the whole company, like any manufacturing or energy-intensive industry, but it all adds up over time and we use a lot of energy and water,” Scallan says.

Read up on the seven steps to a green data centre.

The project went for about five months, gathering data up to April this year. Australian Paper is using HP’s Carbon Emissions Management Service (CEMS) assessment to calculate energy consumption and carbon emissions resulting from IT operations. The assessment can categorise emissions by site and equipment type, which Scallan says is “quite a granular exercise”.

“The servers are where you spend most of your energy and what follows is printers, which surprised me a little bit,” he says. “Then it’s the monitors and, at the tail, laptops.”

Emissions can also be tracked by application with the portion of server capacity used to run an application indicating its carbon footprint.

Australian Paper started a virtualisation project two years ago and most of its Intel and Unix (IBM) servers are virtualised. Scallan said the Citrix environment is difficult to run on virtual servers, but he is looking to move that over as well.

“I was surprised that Citrix was quite high at about 20 per cent of server-based applications,” he says. “Virtualisation allowed us to consolidate quite a lot — from 22 to six servers. We could reduce our hardware footprint and power consumption, which was an early green IT initiative, and position ourselves for more agility.”

Australian Paper also upgraded its hardware in 2009 saving about half of the energy compared with the previous generation. Routing and switching equipment was significant and about the same footprint as printers.

Scallan is taking a “top down” approach to energy efficiency and says everything the company does in operations, including use of IT, has to be consistent.

“It will become baked into projects, but we’re still in very early days in terms of our procurement,” he says.

“We have quite a few laptops in the fleet and it’s still seen as a privilege, but why doesn’t everyone have a laptop? They are more energy efficient.”

Scallan says thin clients use even less power and tend to be used on factory floors. “It’s a psychological thing — if you give people a smaller box they feel cheated,” he says. Australian Paper is aiming to cut its IT carbon emissions by 30 per cent over three years. It translates to about 824 tonnes out of a total of about 2700 tonnes. Other savings include after hours power management and a transition from CRT to LCD monitors.

HP Enterprise Services green practice leader for Asia Pacific and Japan, Sundeep Khisty, says.

Khisty says green IT was not registering a lot of interest with CIOs, but as electricity prices go up it is beginning to impact on budgets.

“When I speak to people in manufacturing, IT carbon emissions is a small component of the total, but they still have to do it holistically. IT can help improve efficiency and really make an impact.”

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