Achieving Sustainability: It Takes a Partnership
May 1, 2012
An effective partner can help government organizations implement information management strategies that are both environmentally and economically sound.
Iron Mountain’s paper recycling initiatives have saved the equivalent of 7 million 50-foot trees.
For agencies pursuing the highest levels of sustainability, choosing the right partner can help increase efficiencies and cost savings over the long haul. The best partners can help an organization incorporate smart and environmentally focused initiatives into its information management strategy, even when faced with shrinking resources.
Iron Mountain strives to be an environmental steward in all of its business operations: The company is committed to reducing its environmental footprint, as evidenced by a variety of corporate responsibility and energy management programs launched last year. Its customers stand to benefit greatly from these efforts.
Building to the Highest Green Standards
At its more than 1,000 facilities—from basic storage buildings to the most advanced information processing centers—Iron Mountain aims to meet and exceed the most stringent environmental regulations. For example, its U.S. fulfillment operations comply with California’s stringent environmental regulations and standards.
The company is also:
- Upgrading the lighting systems in many Record Centers with more energy-efficient components
- Recycling fluorescent lamps, ballasts and batteries
- Educating employees on ways they can optimize energy use through the Watts-On awareness campaign
Through these programs and the energy management program currently being implemented, Iron Mountain continues to minimize energy usage throughout its enterprise.
Data Centers: The Underground Payoff
Iron Mountain has consolidated many of its U.S. data centers into two underground storage facilities. One of these is the Iron Mountain Wholesale Data Center Solution in Pennsylvania. Buried within a former limestone mine 180 to 220 feet below the surface, the center’s “Room 48” relies on geothermal properties to maintain an ambient temperature of 55 degrees Fahrenheit, therefore reducing reliance on cooling systems.
Future plans include using the natural 50-degree subterranean lake to help cool Room 48. The use of geothermal cooling will result in record-breaking PUE (Power Usage Effectiveness) ratings of less than 1.2. Thanks to this and other innovations, the location was a winner in the InfoWorld™ 2010 Green 15 Awards.
Easing the Environmental Paper Trail
Back on the ground, Iron Mountain was the largest provider of shredded, recycled paper in North America in 2011.
Recycling, of course, is critical to sustainable business practices. It can significantly reduce the energy required for paper production, which accounts for 4 percent of global industrial energy use, according to the U.S. Energy Information Administration.
By using sustainable processes, Iron Mountain has:
- Offset the use of 1.3 million cubic yards of landfill
- Conserved 1.8 billion KW hours of electricity
- Saved more than 7 million 50-foot trees
- Partnered with several “waste-to-energy” providers, generating enough renewable energy to power 404 homes for a year
The company’s responsible shredding and disposal practices can also help government agencies become greener and more eco-conscious.
Thinking Inside the Box
Iron Mountain continues to lead the recycling pack. Its well-known cardboard storage boxes are composed of 65 percent recycled content—without sacrificing one bit of the boxes’ strength, longevity and protection.
Soon the company will roll out bins and consoles made with recycled content. These reusable and collapsible units reduce the need for pallets and shrink-wrap. Later this year, Iron Mountain will start a periodic collection program for older, unusable bins, sending them back to the manufacturer for reuse.
Cruising Ahead With Eco-friendly Transport
Whether you’re looking at data centers, shredding, or data backup and recovery processes, Iron Mountain procedures require transport of customers’ information in large, secure trucks. The company has implemented (or will soon implement) policies to mitigate its fleet’s environmental impact. These include:
- Upgrading to the latest emissions technology. The company is rolling out more vehicles with Selective Catalytic Reduction (SCR) diesel engine technology. The upshot: cleaner, more environmentally friendly engine emissions.
- Optimizing its hauling capacities. In 2011, a fleet analysis revealed an opportunity to increase the weight load per vehicle. This means Iron Mountain could reduce its fleet while still meeting its customer service needs. The company is now shaving 10,500 miles off of its logs and saving 1,600 gallons of fuel.
- Route improvements. Thanks to its improved routing software and reporting system (TPR), Iron Mountain has taken at least 90 vehicles off the road—and cut its year-over-year gas consumption by 3.9 percent.
Getting Greener with Less Green
Agency budgets continue to shrink; even the National Archives and Records Administration (NARA), charged with guiding agencies through records-management initiatives, faces a 17 percent reduction in 2012. Selecting a trusted partner that has already invested in green initiatives—and is dedicated to helping improve its own and its partner organizations’ environmental practices—provides an effective and economically smart solution to meeting sustainability goals.
Did You Know?
Iron Mountain is launching an Environmental Sustainability Council (ESC), including representatives from departments throughout the company. The ESC will help Iron Mountain further integrate sustainability processes into the company’s operations.
 “Environmental Sustainability,” IronMountain.com
 “International Energy Outlook 2011,” U.S. Energy Information Administration, 2011
 NARA, http://www.archives.gov, 2011
Do you have questions about Iron Mountain sustainability programs? Read additional Knowledge Center stories on this subject, or contact Iron Mountain. You’ll be connected with a knowledgeable product and services specialist who can address your specific challenges.
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