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Infosys, Wipro go on a green drive

According to reports, this is one side of Bangalore’s flagship companies that does not get sufficient attention. Infosys and Wipro are actively seeking to become very green companies.

Infosys plans to be fully carbon neutral by 2017, in other words, achieve net zero carbon emissions by balancing the carbon released by the company with an equivalent amount offset. As part of this, it is working to reduce its per capita electricity consumption by 50% from 2007-2008 levels and to source all of its electricity needs from renewable resources by the end of 2017.

Between 2007 and 2012, Infosys reduced its per capita electricity consumption by more than 32%. In 2011-12, it procured 48GWh of renewable energy, 18% of its total electricity consumption.

Wipro in 2010-11 consumed 25 million units of renewable energy and this has grown to 65 million in 2012-13, out of its total electricity consumption of 300 million units — which means about 21% is now from renewable sources. The plan is to increase its renewable energy consumption to 160 million units by 2015.

“We want to become fully green as quickly as possible,” says Rohan Parikh, head of green initiatives at Infosys. Every new building on its campus follows integrated design methods to maximize daylight and minimize heat. Efficient building envelopes — with insulated walls and roofs and high performance glass — are used to make sure that these buildings are energy efficient.

It has equipped buildings with sensors, energy and water meters that provide real-time operational data to the smart-building system. “The system provides us useful data to improve operational efficiency, identify and eliminate wastage, diagnose potential problems, validate performance and improve future building designs,” Parikh says.

In Wipro, 18 of its buildings are certified to the international LEED (green) standards. The company has replaced some older equipment with more energy efficient equivalents. Since 2007, Wipro has been working on a server rationalization and virtualization program. As of March 2012, the company has 800 virtual servers running on 120 physical servers, contributing to energy savings of about 3 million units annually.

“One of the major heads of energy outside our facilities comes from business travel to customer locations – contributing to around 20% of our emissions footprint. Over the years, we have launched various remote collaboration and workstation productivity solutions, including internet-enabled voice and video conferencing technologies, which have reduced our energy and emissions footprint,” says P S Narayan, head of the sustainability business at Wipro.

Both companies have installed solar panels. Infosys has solar rooftop plants in campuses where it heavily relies on diesel power generation. Solar energy generated on the campus is 50% cheaper than diesel generated power. Wipro has implemented pilot scale solar PV installations at some of its locations. The guest blocks and cafeteria extensively use solar water heaters.

However, buying renewable energy comes with challenges. Renewable energy is bought from independent power producers, and banks are extremely cautious about lending to entrepreneurs in the space. “We also face tremendous resistance from utility companies, as they do not want to let go of premium customers. At the same time, state power utilities are not keen on setting up renewable farms themselves,” Parikh says.

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