Use Your Switch to Cut Energy Costs

Brought to you by the Cisco Innovators Program

Is your business a "bad power user"—consuming more energy than it needs, gobbling up cash, and tarring its brand by contributing excess greenhouse gas (GhG)?

Good news: You can use your Cisco network to get visibility into—and control over—the ways that lights, HVAC systems, cameras, computers, phones, and other devices at your business consume energy.

Cisco EnergyWise technology uses the switch network as the platform for power management—monitoring, measuring, and controlling consumption. Cisco is the only vendor to use the network to control power, not just data. Saving energy is now an IP network function.

In 2012, Cisco developers and resellers will evolve EnergyWise from installations for large enterprises to solutions for small and medium-sized businesses (SMBs).

Count the Savings

Businesses using EnergyWise have reduced their total energy consumption by as much as 30 percent. To evaluate the value of EnergyWise for your company, you can use the Cisco online calculator as a guide.

Following are a few examples from the calculator; each shows a business reducing its energy consumption about 10 percent. A business that operates in an old building would likely realize more savings:

  • A retail business with 20 employees working in a 400-square-meter site that operates 10 hours a day would see energy cost savings of $2,200 in year one, adding up to $11,700 in year five. The business would also reduce its annual GhG emissions by 8.7 metric tons of CO2, equivalent to that of 1.7 cars.
  • A manufacturer with 40 employees working at a 2,000-square-meter site that operates 12 hours a day would see energy cost savings of $15,000 in year one, adding up to $80,400 in year five. And it would reduce its GhG emissions by 64.1 metric tons annually.
  • A healthcare clinic with 250 employees working in a 25,000-square-meter site that operates 10 hours a day would see energy cost savings of $100,800 in year one, adding up to $540,900 in year five. It would also cut its GhG emissions by 433 metric tons annually.

Controlling the Green: How EnergyWise Works

The three essentials that transform a switch network into the power management platform are:

  • Centralized switching and management: EnergyWise is a free feature in newer Cisco IOS Software switches and routers—including Cisco Catalyst 2960 Series Switches and Cisco 1900 and 2900 Series Integrated Services Routers—and a free firmware patch for some older Cisco Catalyst switches. You will also need an EnergyWise energy management application, such as JouleX. (Some environments may also require an EnergyWise-enabled gateway, such as FieldServer, to collect building electric meter data.) Together they eliminate the necessity to measure and command IT and building devices individually or with separate controller systems.
  • Parent/child model: The switches and routers are "parents". The "children" are the IP-enabled endpoint devices on the network—such as computers, phones, lighting, wireless access points, printers, data storage units, and HVAC thermostats.
  • Domains: EnergyWise lets you organize the children into groups of power consumers. These domains (such as buildings or departments) and their individual devices become subject to your digital control. You can query, collect, and sum their data; prioritize them; set their power levels and times of operation; and record usage data as well as see it in real time.

Move from IT Obscurity to Energy Saving Star

Using EnergyWise, IT techies can step into the spotlight for saving energy. Your opportunity to effect change is huge:

  • Energy is the largest unmanaged expense for most businesses. For an SMB, the power drawn by its IT and building devices, when, and at what costs, is typically a mystery. And you can't control what you can't see.
  • Controlling energy costs will grow more urgent as prices and peak demand rates rise—and even more devices connect to the IP network. By 2020 everything that benefits from a network connection will have one—adding up to some 50 billion connections worldwide, according to the CEO of Ericsson. The energy supply will affect all businesses.

What kind of power user is your business today? You can begin putting EnergyWise technology to work in 2012 to protect the green—your company's cash—and its GhG emissions.

Next Steps

Let Us Help

Find a Local Reseller



Tips to Success

Visit the Cisco Small Business blog to learn about tips for your products, industry-wide information, and how to get the best out of your technology from Cisco and industry experts.

Cisco Small Business Blog