Using Linux to Improve Energy Efficiency and Productivity

Tools like ZoneMinder, HEYU and Motion and boost your business’s energy efficiency.
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In this "new economy," I've noticed that some businesses are giving power consumption a strong second look. This is part of a renewed push for company productivity. And it’s led to increased interest in new technology being used to keep the enterprise space humming along.

In this article, I will explore how companies can use Linux-based technology to cut energy consumption while also boosting productivity at the same time.

An efficient office starts with power consumption

There's been a long-standing belief that office automation is just too expensive to bother with. From possible higher hardware costs, all the way down to software licenses that are targeting large enterprise customers at high rates. The barrier to entry feels too high, thanks in part to costly price points within the automation industry.

On the do it yourself (DIY) front, going with a Linux-based solution is not only affordable, it's downright practical. Because there's no stipulation stating that one must hire an outside firm to set up office space automation, the choice of installing in-house or outsourcing the task is left to the decision makers.

This allows for near complete freedom to carry out a self-installation via an existing IT team, thus keeping control of the entire situation under one roof. And one place that I think is a no-brainer place to start is wasted energy usage.

Most offices have the ability to turn off their lights when they leave for the day, however, you might be shocked at how many don't have any type of lighting timer setup to manage this automatically instead. On the Linux platform, there's a great tool called HEYU that handles this need quite nicely and inexpensively.

HEYU is designed to schedule lighting events based on time or dates provided by the end-user. Using inexpensive X10 components, a company is then capable of handling their lighting needs automatically. And unlike many tools that handle lighting for dawn/dusk events only, HEYU also allows for holiday schedules to be handled automatically. This is a very nice little bonus for a command line program.

Another area where lighting comes into play is within office space believed to be used frequently when, in fact, this isn't the case at all. Using motion sensor lighting would only offer some mild comic relief instead of providing any measurable value.

The best option here is to use an IP camera with software for Linux called Motion. Motion is perfect for single site motion monitoring. It's easy to install and even easier to use. Without using anything else, you can discover quickly whether or not a specific area of the office is wasting lighting resources based on time of use.

Even better, you may find that there are times of the day where the lights are left on and they don't need to be. This is where HEYU can be used once again, but just for that specific area.

Employee safety and monitoring

I don't believe any employee finds the idea of being monitored via a closed circuit camera all that appealing. At the same time, there's nothing wrong with making sure that the building is secure should an intruder make his way into the place of employment. A visual alert to an intruder can be critical during business hours, where a traditional alarm system might be best suited for after hours use.

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Tags: Linux, energy conservation

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