April 1, 2011 – JPMorgan Chase CIO Guy Chiarello rattled off his e team's top five energy efficiency accomplishments for the past year, a deep roster of projects that touch most of the international bank's operations, but more importantly, demonstrate the transformative power of getting the most out of the hardware that's already there. Enabling greater utilization of the bank's servers, workstations, video terminals and other tech assets is the energy drink that boosts performance, reduces space requirements, slices maintenance fees, increases equipment longevity and produces ecologically sound productivity.

It also makes the boss happy.

"If you work at an organization led by Jamie Dimon, it's always about being better, faster and cheaper," says Chiarello, who's help lead an effort that's on pace to reduce its data center footprint by more than 20 percent by 2012, reduce paper consumption by 30 percent, redeploy about 15,000 existing desktops and monitors by leveraging Linux-based thin client servers, and jump start internal video conference usage, reducing the amount of necessary corporate travel.

Data centers have been reduced from about 100 to just over 30, a move that's greatly increased utilization while slicing about four megawatts of energy. In one case, JPMorgan Chase was able to use this virtualized environment to reduce the compute capacity required for derivatives risk computation by 66 percent. Virtualization has also allowed the bank to use thin client technology to connect workstations directly to a data center-hosted user environment, delivering a virtual desktop infrastructure while using existing hardware. "Virtualization helps us in 20 different ways, we have much better use of capital and the obsolescence of our equipment is being elongated," he says.

Additionally, in the past year the bank has improved travel efficiency by increasing its videoconferencing terminal count from 250 to around 300. By leveraging Cisco TelePresence as a standardizing element for video meetings, JP Morgan Chase has increased videoconference utilization to a current level of about 85 percent from less than ten percent a little over a year ago.

Extra energy savings are also coming through the bank's "Smart Print" program, which replaced large numbers of single-function devices-such as faxes, printers, scanner and copiers-with fewer, more multi-function devices. The bank has removed more than 22,000 devices (including 10,000 in 2010) and replaced them with 6,000 devices that default to double-sided printing. Once fully implemented this spring, the new fleet is expected to consume as much as 80 percent less energy than the old machines.

JPMorgan Chase's energy strategy also extends to its headquarters building on Park Ave. in New York, which is undergoing a substantial renovation. The project's design is seeking to attain the highest LEED sustainability rating-platinum-through the use of efficient building materials, with a high percentage of recycled materials. At least 90 percent of the building's gypsum board, 25 percent of metal framing, 20 percent of insulation, 25 percent of ceiling tiles, 20 percent of concrete and 80 percent of structural steel are made of recycled materials. "The [renovation] is really a symbol for the way we are doing things," he says. "We have to learn a new way."

Additionally, at the branches, new centers in the pipeline are making use of recycled materials, including nearly 40 percent of carpeting, 20 percent of wall covering, and 80 percent of ceiling tiles.

And the bank is seeking intelligence on future reductions by adopting smart metering [deploying meters that regularly record energy consumption], and partnering with Syracuse University to perform research on how the bank can further improving its technology capacity to utilization ratio.

Beyond the considerable impact of JPMorgan Chase's sweeping utilization projects, the bank's influence on industrywide and cross-industry sustainability strategies is also substantial. When firm the size of JPMorgan Chase vigorously adopts a paper reduction or server virtualization strategy, it has a major impact on other firms that supply the bank, or other banks that feel the impact of changes made by JPMorgan Chase's tech vendors.

"Suppliers are going to put into account what the buyers want. When suppliers have to go the [sustainable or thin client] route, there's bound to be a domino affect," says Anthony Rydell, a senior manager for Deloitte Consulting.

This story originally appeared on Bank Technology News.


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