Cisco Blogs


Cisco Blog > Corporate Social Responsibility

Cisco Takes Holistic Approach to Reducing Energy Use and Costs

Cisco’s EnergyOps team is tasked with reducing energy consumption and increasing energy efficiency at our offices, labs, and data centers worldwide. Cisco’s labs are our largest consumer of energy and although we are putting a lot of effort into improving the efficiency of those environments, we’re finding great success in taking a more holistic approach that includes implementing efficiency opportunities within all of our building support systems such as HVAC (heating, ventilation, and air conditioning), building controls, and lighting.

For example, in January 2014 we engaged in such a holistic energy efficiency effort at a number of our Shanghai facilities, which included three primary areas of improvement:

  • Computer room air conditioning (CRAC) unit retrofits
  • Software upgrades for cooling equipment
  • Lighting upgrades for offices

In just 3 months, 5 buildings at our Shanghai location underwent energy efficiency upgrades in these areas that will generate approximately US$145,000 in savings per year.

This new inverter allows variable control of fan motors and refrigerant flow, which improves efficiency of our computer room air conditioning units.

This new inverter allows variable control of fan motors and refrigerant flow, which improves efficiency of our computer room air conditioning units.

Computer Rooms
As you can imagine, computer rooms at Cisco, like our data centers, can be quite large. They can consume a lot of electricity and generate a lot of heat that needs to be cooled constantly. So, in some of our Shanghai buildings, we retrofitted the CRAC units to operate more efficiently based on actual cooling demand. We did this by installing inverters that allow variable control of fan motors and refrigerant pumps as opposed to operating the equipment inefficiently at either full-on or full-off speed. The result? Electricity demand dropped by 30% and electricity consumption dropped by an average of 25%.

Cooling Equipment
Next, we upgraded the software used to control the cooling systems in 2 of the Shanghai buildings. The cooling system’s main functions include centralized on-off setting of indoor cooling units, schedule management, and remote configuration for room temperature and fan speed. We improved the efficiency of these systems by linking them to real-time weather data and adding more layers of controllability, which allow us to adjust the system based on variable cooling demand and outdoor conditions. This upgrade has reduced the energy consumption of these cooling systems by approximately 5 to 15%, depending on the day. We have also seen fewer system failures such as false alarms and communication errors, an added bonus.

By replacing 260 halogen spotlights (left) with LEDs (right), we expect to reduce our lighting electricity costs by 91% and reduce additional heat gain in the facility.

By replacing 260 halogen spotlights (left) with LEDs (right), we expect to reduce our lighting electricity costs by 91% and reduce additional heat gain in the facility.

Lighting
Lastly, lighting upgrades were also part of the efficiency repertoire and resulted in a vast improvement for our Shanghai buildings. There were 260 35-watt halogen spotlights in the China Research and Development Center pantry and reception area. We replaced these with LED lights that provide the same illumination but consume only 3 to 4 watts; a veritable “no-brainer” that will pay for itself in about 2 years.

Increasing energy efficiency and reducing greenhouse gas emissions are major priorities for Cisco right now and we are driving broader implementation of efficiency improvements like those made at our Shanghai facilities throughout Cisco’s global real estate portfolio. Learn more at csr.cisco.com.

How are you reducing energy efficiency at your office or company? Please share your ideas in the comments below.

Children Learn Coding and Collaboration at Cisco

July 24, 2014 at 5:29 pm PST

“If you want to use the music from Frozen in your game, do you know how to download a gif to match?” Not the average question I have heard in a conference room at Cisco headquarters in San Jose, California, especially when asked to 7-year-old girls! The girls were part of a group of 14 children participating in a coding camp held at Cisco and put on by Embark Labs. The goal of the event is to teach 7 to 10 year olds to have fun while learning how to program.

Teacher Brian VanDyck and Embark Labs Founder Jessie Arora watch as the students work on their coding projects

Teacher Brian VanDyck and Embark Labs Founder Jessie Arora watch as the students work on their coding projects

Read More »

Tags: , , , , , , , ,

NERV: The Brain Behind Networked Disaster Response at Cisco

Hurricane season is upon us, and storms have already begun to harass the Gulf Coast with torrential rains and violent winds. The threat of such a storm doesn’t cross my mind as I sit in my cubicle in San Jose, enjoying the comforts of an air-conditioned office and a hot cup of coffee on my desk. But behind building J on Cisco’s San Jose campus, Rakesh Bharania and the Cisco Tactical Operations (TacOps) team are on 24/7 alert, ready to respond the moment an earthquake strikes or a tornado touches down anywhere in the world.

I had the privilege of visiting Rakesh and his team this week, getting a behind-the-scenes look at Cisco’s investment in using networking technology to help those in need when disaster hits.

After disaster strikes, the TacOps team can deploy within 72 hours – the most critical stage of a response.  When a disaster cripples communications systems, the TacOps team can establish satellite-based communications  so first responders, government agencies, and relief organizations can coordinate relief efforts and speed delivery of food, water, shelter, and medical care to those affected.

Read More »

Tags: , , , , , , ,

Cisco Employees Paddle to Fight Cancer

July 11, 2014 at 6:00 am PST

barbara_chiuThis post was written by guest blogger Barbara Chu, Managing Director of Cisco Hong Kong and Macau

Under the throbbing beat of the drum and supported by lots of cheering supporters, our devoted Cisco Dragon paddlers dashed to the finish line at the Hong Kong Stanley International Dragon Boat Championship, while achieving the goal of raising HK$100,000 (US$12,900) for the Hong Kong Cancer Fund.

Life is not just about work, and that is why we initially brought Cisco employees together to form the Cisco Dragon team back in 2007 – not just to enter the championship that takes place every year on the Dragon Boat Festival (the 5th day of the 5th lunar month, usually in June) at Stanley Beach in Hong Kong, but also to encourage work-life balance and facilitate the well-being of our employees, and our friends and partners.

Cisco Dragon dashing to the finish line

Cisco Dragon dashing to the finish line

Read More »

Tags: , , , ,

Cisco Executive Volunteers to Help Typhoon Victims

June 30, 2014 at 6:00 am PST

web_johnThis blog post was written by guest blogger John Baekelmans, Chief Technology Officer for Cisco’s Smart+Connected Communities organization in the U.K. In the aftermath of Typhoon Haiyan, John volunteered in the Province of Samar, in the community of Daram, the Philippines, from May 1 to 17, 2014.

I am sure most of you remember the deadly Typhoon Haiyan at the end of 2013. Haiyan, known as Typhoon Yolanda in the Philippines, was one of the strongest tropical cyclones ever recorded, which devastated portions of Southeast Asia, particularly the Philippines, on November 8, 2013. It is the deadliest Philippine typhoon on record, killing at least 6268 people in that country alone. Haiyan is also unofficially the strongest typhoon ever recorded in terms of wind speed. As of January 2014, bodies were still being found.

I know this because I was there. In addition to my day job as CTO for Cisco’s Smart+Connected Communities program, I also lead Cisco’s Europe, Middle East, and North Africa Disaster Incident Response Team and am a volunteer in the National Disaster Fast Response Rescue team called V-MED of Flanders, Belgium. Having been an officer in the Fire Brigade in Belgium gave me the opportunity to join this fast-response rescue team. I have been to many major disasters around the world in the past 10 years — in Myanmar, Haiti, Pakistan, Chile, and many other places. Haiti was the worst in devastation and personal impact, but Haiyan came close because of the level of poverty and the lack of primary needs.

Haiyan is the deadliest typhoon on record in the Philippines, killing at least 6,268 people in that country alone. Photo courtesy The Telegraph

Haiyan is the deadliest typhoon on record in the Philippines, killing at least 6,268 people there. Photo courtesy The Telegraph

Read More »

Tags: , , , , , , ,