Tuesday, October 13, 2015

Fuller Systems is Going Green in 2015

To say it has been a while since our last company blog post would be a bit of an understatement. We have had a lot of activity over the last few years. New apps, new services, changes to existing apps and games - the list is very long. I'll save some of those details for a future post, but today I want to talk about "Going Green".

"Going Green" has been a "thing to do" for a while now. Many businesses have joined what is probably best described as a movement towards that goal to do what they can to be environmentally responsible. To be clear, this is different than the "climate change" movement. What I am talking about here is about being socially and environmentally responsible. We believe, personally and as a company, that doing what we can to make the world a better place is the responsibility of everyone regardless of whether you believe the different sides of the debate on climate change. It is also our responsibility to account for our actions that draw on limited natural resources.

So today, we are publically announcing an initiative that we have been working towards at Fuller Systems this year - Going Green in 2015. What this meant for us was to find a way to understand and then account for all the energy used by our company directly, and even indirectly through our apps, games and other services. When we started down that path, we were really surprised to find out how much electrical energy our company was using as we don't just run an office, we also run servers and several Internet services. We first approached the initiative by looking at ways to limit and reduce our overall electrical energy footprint. As we are a relatively small company, that phase of the project didn't take very long, and unfortunately didn't lead to very significant reductions. The fact is, we were being generally energy conscious already, and that just didn't leave much room for very significant improvements.

We then turned to asking the harder, more costly, questions. What could we do to use renewable energy sources for our electrical energy needs? We looked at a few different options, like purchasing the green energy options from our power providers. Those options did not fully allow us to account for energy used off-site outside of our office, and as such really didn't get us where we wanted to be. As a result, we fairly quickly turned our focus to solar power as we are based in California and get quite a bit of sun. I should briefly mention that we looked at other options as well, including wind power, but that was just not feasible for our location.

After meeting with several local and national solar panel installation companies, and reviewing purchase and lease options, we selected a locally owned company to work with as they provided the most complete solution at the right balance of cost and timing of installation. Again, we wanted to get this done in 2015, and some that we met with had installation schedules several months out into 2016. Those were quickly eliminated from our list of potential partners because of that factor, but also because the costs were often higher and overall benefits lower. We also wanted to cover all (not just some) of the company's energy usage for the foreseeable future - and that is not a small number of solar panels. That meant that we needed a good price per panel, and a fair price on installation, or it wouldn't be possible at all.

I'm proud to say that as of just last week we met our goal of "Going Green in 2015", with two months to spare. We were able to turn on our solar panels for the first time, and start pumping clean energy back onto the grid while powering our office entirely from solar. This is not just computers, but phones, printers, heating/cooling, fans, lighting - everything. Seeing that electric meter go negative and effectively turn backwards was very inspiring. In fact, it has made us even more energy conscious every day to be aware of what our solar panels our outputting, and adjusting usage as much as we can to keep things balanced.

We didn't make this decision for "marketing reasons". We didn't "Go Green" because we thought it would get us good press, or sell more of anything. We did this because we think it is the right thing to do. It is the responsible thing to do as a member of our local and global community. Oh, and we think it will actually save us money in the long term - so that doesn't exactly hurt either. If a business can do something that is financially responsible AND be better for everyone alive, it really is a "no brainer".

Finally, I would like to put out a challenge to all the other technology companies out there. Do the right thing and take responsibility for your environmental impacts. Accept the challenge to "Go Green".

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