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Going green in the office

Going green to me means being easy on the environment, but whatever we are implementing must also make sense (it can't be too tedious for users) and cents (it has to be same or lower in cost).  Here are some "Go Green" strategies that we have implemented in the office:

Office Printer
When shopping for our new printer, the requirements are:
  • Laser printer with separate drum and toner unit.  Laser toner is much more economic than inkjets and we also make sure the laser printer we are getting have separate drum and toner unit as the drum unit usually have longer life cycle than the toner.
  • Duplex printing, so that we can save on papers by printing on both sides of the paper without manually flipping and re-feeding the papers.
  • Extra tray for recycle papers (papers that have been printed on one side only).  Please note that we only feed the tray with recycle papers that do not contain confidential information.
  • Scan-to-email function.  Together with a virtual fax service from third party service provider, we can eliminate having another fax machine.  (However, we are still having trouble to get the printer to integrate with Google Apps SMTP server, do share with me if any of you have experience on configuring this.)
  • Network support.  This feature is very common nowadays.  This enable us to share the printers within the network without a print server.  This is also necessary for the scan-to-email function to work.
We decided to rent the printer instead of owning it.  After talking to the vendor, Imagetech Marketing Sdn Bhd, we decided to go with Ricoh Aficio MP C2500 Digital Color Copier.

Photo credit: Emma Pollard

Open Office Layout
All Gapturions (the way we call ourselves) shares the same office space, with two rows of four desks facing each other.  We do have medium height mobile partitions in between so that we are not in one another's face the whole day.  We are a small team and we believe in facilitating more open discussions and keeping the company transparent.

This arrangement definitely require less floor space and save the number of air-conditioner unit needed in the office and the monthly electricity bill.

Reduce Physical Documents
We email quotations and invoices to our clients by default.  This reduce paper usage and also the logistics carbon foot print involved in snail mailing them.  We try to keep at least documents printed out as possible, to save on storage (cabinets, office space, etc).

Reduce Application Servers

There isn't a single server in Gapture office as of now, despite our heavy IT usage.  For all applications, our first option is SaaS (Software as a Service) model.  We have implemented SaaS applications like Google Apps (for emails, calendar, etc), Dropbox (for file backup and sharing), ZOHO Invoice, ZOHO People (for leave application), and SmartSheet (for project management).

We tried searching for SaaS for dokuwiki (for internal flow and SOP), but we couldn't find one.  Instead of setting up a physical server, and the server room (which have to come up proper air-conditioning), we host it in a datacenter, under one of the shared hosting plan.

If you must have a server in the office, please note that the actual usage of most application servers is very, very low.  Every vendor (CCTV system, accounting system, POS system, door access system, etc) will try to sell you a new server together with their solutions, for ease of integration/maintenance (on their end) and also a bigger invoice amount.  Try to look for vendor who is comfortable to work with existing servers that you have.  You may want to consider Virtual OS (like vmware) for different applications if you are concerned that one vendor may break the other vendor's installation.

As you may have noticed, all of these implementations help reduce usage on materials, energy and space, which also translates to lower cost of acquisition of the systems and lower monthly utility bills.

UPDATE (2014-09-23): We have migrated our dokuwiki from shared hosting to Amazon Web Services (AWS) for better resource allocation.  I also missed out that we do have a server in the office, running ClearOS, which acts as our firewall and DHCP server.

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