Sustainable IT

Overview

Digital workplace technology has a serious and increasing impact on our environment. To reduce and report on their environmental footprint, organizations are turning to those who have the best insight into workplace technology - IT. In most cases, however, IT teams do not have the insight to baseline and measure their carbon footprint. This holds back the implementation of real, impactful changes at infrastructure and employee behavior levels.

The sustainable IT library pack enables EUC teams to measure the energy consumption and carbon footprint of key elements in their IT infrastructure to identify areas of improvement and quickly provide reporting data. The library pack offers pre-configured remote actions, self-heal, and awareness campaigns to take action and drive awareness.

Assumptions, estimations, and calculations

This library pack provides EUC teams with insight into an IT infrastructure’s energy consumption in kilowatt-hours (kWh) and the carbon emission in kg (KgCO2). To achieve this, this content relies on both accurate remote action data, as well as global assumptions based on research data.

For a detailed breakdown of the calculations and assumptions used to estimate consumption and emission, as well as the sources used to get this information, please log in to Nexthink Community to read the Sustainable IT calculations documentation.

Pack Structure

This pack contains the following content:

  • One dashboard

  • Five remote actions

  • Eight campaigns

Dashboard structure

Filters

This dashboard provides pre-defined filters to help drill down into specific device specifications or locations. This enables users to, for example, focus and compare data from different regions.

In addition, the location type filter enables users to focus on insight from remote vs. office employees – a key use case in determining the source (and responsibility) of digital-related environmental impact.

Overview

This tab provides a high-level overview of your device’s energy consumption, associated CO2 emissions, and the “Sustainable IT: Awareness Survey” campaign results.

This is useful if you want to quickly report on your devices' impact and carbon footprint alongside a measure of your employees’ sentiment towards the importance of the subject.

Windows laptop footprint

This tab displays energy consumption insight from the remote action “Get Consumption Information hourly” which retrieves the hourly energy consumption of all active Windows laptops that successfully executed the remote action.

The data is broken down by key hardware components, tracked over time, and automatically converted into CO2 emissions using a global carbon emission factor.

Additional device footprint

This tab focused on other device types' estimated energy consumption and CO2 emissions. This information is tracked to see if recent sustainability policies work as intended.

The impact of external monitors connected to devices is included in this tab. Included here is a breakdown of the number of monitors connected to a device to help detect and reduce the overuse of external monitors based on company policies.

Network and Outlook footprint

Every GB of traffic has a related environmental cost as data has to be stored in servers and propagated between clients across various networks. This tab offers reporting on network traffic to give an idea of its potential impact. Although no direct energy and carbon footprint calculations are made on the dashboard, the impact can be measured, as described in the tooltip and the Sustainable IT calculations documentation available for Nexthink Community users.

The storage and traffic of Outlook files can have a consequential environmental impact in large organizations, which is also tracked in this tab. This doesn’t mean we shouldn’t use Outlook, but rather that emails should be sent with purpose, junk emails deleted, or non-work-related newsletters unsubscribed from…etc. In addition, the use of shared folders or productivity tools such as Onedrive can be considered.

Footprint reduction opportunities

This tab focuses on actionable insight and remediation opportunities. This includes:

  • Abnormal consumption: using the “Get Consumption Information hourly” remote action, this widget shows devices consuming over 1000 Wh, an abnormally high consumption level according to research.

  • Best practice compliance: shows devices are running settings or applications that force an unnecessarily high consumption.

  • For Windows: displays inefficient power plans (not balanced). The remote action campaign “Set power plan” can ask users to change their power plan automatically.

  • For macOS: returns devices with Hibernation disabled, use 'Caffeinated' mode, or do not have a sleep policy defined. These devices can be investigated to change their policies or raise awareness.

  • Inefficient device activity: focuses on devices running without or with little user interaction. A table helps to focus on devices with the worst uptime-to-interaction ratio, and KPIs provide the means to quickly investigate specific devices constantly running with little or no user interaction.

  • Inefficient server activity: This breaks down servers (with a collector installed) potentially running unnecessarily due to low uptime or traffic. These could be considered to be shut down or consolidated.

Dependencies

Remote actions dependencies

The library pack has the following remote action dependencies. For more details about each remote action, please visit their pages in the in-product library.

  • Get Consumption Information hourly (Windows only)

    • Returns energy consumption (Wh) data from Microsoft's powercfg.exe tool with a parameter to convert to kgCO2e using a chosen carbon factor.

  • Get Battery Status (Windows and macOS)

    • Returns device power plan data.

  • Get Outlook storage info (Windows)

    • Returns OST file size and quantity data.

  • Get Power Plan Mac (macOS only)

    • Returns Sleep, Hibernation, and Caffeinated status data.

  • Set Power Plan (Windows)

    • Configures the target device(s) to a chosen power plan.

    • This remote action includes the ‘Set Power Plan - Invoke campaign’ to notify and ask users about changes made to their devices.

Remote action configuration

Get Consumption Information hourly

This remote action returns energy consumption data directly from Microsoft’s powercfg in watt-hours, broken down by individual components: CPU, display, network, and disk. When triggered, the remote action returns the energy consumption from the last hour of each active device that successfully executed it.

An input parameter in the remote action's configuration enables users to choose a carbon emission equivalence to convert automatically and output kilograms of CO2 emitted. By default, an estimated carbon emission equivalence of 0.436 kgCO2e/kWh is chosen (this assumption is from research done and explained in the Sustainable IT calculations documentation available for Nexthink Community users).

The remote action schedules feature enables you to create up to ten separate schedules across different regions. For example, you could create separate execution schedules to target devices across different branch offices, as shown in the gif below.

The recommended execution schedule is once every hour for the most granular insight. However, you can adapt the schedule based on your needs and requirements.

Here is a snippet of the NQL query used in the image above. The query simply returns a list of Windows laptops in Switzerland running Windows. For help customizing the query, please read the NQL tutorial.

devices during past 30d
| where hardware.type == laptop  
| where operating_system.platform == windows  
| where public_ip.country = "Switzerland"

Set Power Plan

This remote action comes with a campaign that notifies and asks a user permission to make any changes to their devices before triggering.

By default, this remote action refers to its dependent ‘Set Power Plan - Invoke’ campaign. If you do not wish to use the related campaign, simply pass an empty GUID as a parameter value: 00000000-0000-0000-0000-000000000000 as described in the description section below:

Note: If you send a campaign via this remote action, publish it first; otherwise, the user will not be prompted.

Next, configure and define the power plan that the target device should switch to upon successful execution:

Campaigns

The Engage campaigns included in this library pack can provide insights into employee sentiment toward corporate sustainability and give administrators the means to enforce best practices by launching educational, awareness, and self-help campaigns.

This pack includes different types of campaigns. The “Sustainable IT: Awareness survey” campaign should be published to see the results on the dashboard widget in the overview tab. Without it, these widgets will not return any data.

In addition, the remote action campaign for the “Set Power Plan” remote action is key should you wish to notify and ask user permission to change their power plan.

All other awareness and self-help campaigns are optional and should be sent out based on personal needs and preferences.

List of campaigns

  • Survey campaign:

    • Sustainable IT: Awareness Survey

  • Awareness and self-help campaigns:

    • Sustainable IT: Disable screensavers

    • Sustainable IT: External monitor survey

    • Sustainable IT: Green your inbox

    • Sustainable IT: Measuring impact

    • Sustainable IT: Repurpose surplus monitors

    • Sustainable IT: Save energy and protect your eyes

    • Sustainable IT: Turn off devices

  • Remote action campaigns:

    • Set Power Plan - Invoke

      • included with the ‘Set Power Plan’ remote action

Campaign configuration

While the campaigns are ready for use immediately after installation, we recommend heavily modifying them to meet your needs and requirements best. Consider using the resources linked below if you require assistance creating or modifying campaigns:

Version History

3.0.0.0 - 28 Aug 2023 - Updated widgets using the 'Get Consumption Information” RA to reference the new ‘Get Consumption Information Hourly' Remote Action. Like the 'Get Consumption Information Last 7 days’ RA, this new version returns energy consumption data collected by powercfg.exe; however, it now returns energy data from the last hour.

Note: This new version of the RA comes with a new NQL ID, meaning that if you update the dashboard but don’t install/update the new RA, some widgets will appear broken. Therefore, take care to backup any execution schedules you have defined for the old RA, then install the new RA and define the new schedules using your backups.

2.0.0.0 - 14 Jul 2023 - Substantial rework of the dashboard layout with new widgets, remote actions, campaigns, tabs, filters, and associated logic. For more information, please refer to the documentation.

1.0.0.2 - 28 Mar 2023 - Updates to NQL queries in the remediation opportunities dashboard to improve performance

1.0.0.1 - 9 Mar 2023 - Minor updates to widget layouts

1.0.0.0 - 17 Feb 2023 - Initial Release

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