Information Systems for Environmental Sustainability

IT, Resource Productivity, Environmental Preservation, and the Fourth Industrial Revolution

Energy Use Graph: Think Service Substitution

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The latest LLNL Energy Use Graph was recently released:

According to a widely quoted article on TreeHugger:

Transportation is our single biggest problem.

It is by far the single biggest energy hog, sucking up close to 40% of all the energy used. What’s worse, it is almost all gasoline, our most problematic energy source. [more]

So what do we do?

Do everything possible to promote bikes, electric bikes, mopeds, buses, light rail, subways, anything that moves more human and less iron.

I would add: move less human and more electrons by substituting the virtual for the real: video conferencing, virtual reality, webinars, e-learning, etc. Some examples:

As of June 2008, Cisco had scheduled 120,000 TelePresence meetings. Twenty thousand of these meetings enabled Cisco employees to avoid the time, cost, and emissions [and energy] associated with travel. Cisco IT estimates that this travel reduction has avoided producing 47,000 metric tons of GHG emissions. [more]

British Telecom calculated that it was saving $330 million per year on avoided travel costs and time saved, and Microsoft pegged its savings at $90 million. Non-tech leaders such as P&G and Deloitte have installed dozens of systems around the world — you need the network effect to kick in and make the investment worth it. They’re saving millions every month on reduced travel expense. [more]

We [Vodaphone] encourage employees to work flexibly and remotely, and provide them with the most up-to-date communications technology to help them do so. Employees can communicate with each other through voice, video, instant messaging or web conferencing programmes by simply clicking their colleague’s name on their PC. We have also invested £600,000 in video conferencing facilities, to reduce the need for employees to travel for face-to-face meetings. In the first five months of 2010, we spent 3,600 hours in video conference and travelled 200,000 fewer miles on business. [more]


Author: nigelpm

Associate Professor of Information Systems, Stephen M. Ross School of Business, University of Michigan - Helping organizations to navigate digital transformation.

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