Operational Impact
Promoting Energy Efficiency

Promoting Energy Efficiency and Reducing Our Carbon Footprint, with a Target of Reducing Our Operational Carbon Emissions to Zero by 2020

To achieve our aggressive goal of being carbon zero across all global facilities (offices and data centers) by 2020 we consistently deploy our global Carbon Reduction Framework, which challenges us to design, construct and operate our facilities and technology as efficiently as possible, and secondarily, enables us to purchase high quality certified carbon offsets and green power that supports the growth of renewable energy markets where we operate.

In 2012 we well exceeded our first marquee target – reducing emissions from our offices 7 percent from a 2005 baseline – when we successfully reduced the carbon footprint from both our offices and data centers by 10 percent from the target baseline.

In 2014 we further reduced our entire global facilities footprint another 2 percent utilizing our Carbon Reduction Framework.

We are committed to furthering the reduction of our net emissions each year as we approach our final goal of achieving zero operational carbon emissions by 2020. 


Maximizing the Efficiency of Our Offices

We reduce the carbon footprint of our offices by consolidating into more energy efficient real estate and by using our space and technology more wisely.

Optimizing existing buildings
Each year we manage, on average, over 30 efficiency optimization projects in our offices globally, such as raising temperature set points, installing occupancy sensors and energy efficient equipment, and retrofitting our lights to LED. In 2013, we invested nearly $2.7m in energy efficiency retrofits that will result in annual carbon savings of over 3,750 metric tons and provide an average payback of less than one year.

As part of our continuing efforts to achieve energy savings and commercial value, we are engaging in a feasibility study to assess the further optimization of our existing building operating modes without impacting our business or building critical infrastructure. This initiative is summarized as BOLO/FOLO (“Building On, Lights Off” or “Floor On, Lights Off”) whereby non-essential building equipment is turned off at certain time periods, but the critical equipment supporting our building technology, electrical, and resiliency requirements remains operational.  Coordinating the effort requires the analysis of building attendance data, identification of commercial and energy opportunities, and planning and engagement with business units.

In 2013 we commenced a weekend energy conservation pilot across our Bangalore campus and continued our participation in the program in 2014. By turning off major equipment and diverting employees to other workspaces we were able to achieve a total energy savings of over 270,000 kWh.  In 2015, we aspire to further deploy our BOLO/FOLO initiative to further optimize of our existing building operations.

Using space smartly
Since the introduction of our Environmental Policy Framework, the firm has also increased the efficiency of our real estate by adopting the Global Workplace Standard.  As a result, the floor area per seat has decreased by 25 percent and more, resulting in reduced energy costs and material use for the firm broadly.

The Global Workplace Standard includes an open floor design and reduction of enclosed offices: desks are located along the perimeter, and offices along the building core. These efforts enhance our operational efficiency, promote collaboration and communication by increasing our people’s access to each other and improve our working environment by increasing access to daylight and views.

As a follow-on strategy, we are piloting new workplace design to support our firm’s flexible work patterns. Currently, more than 3,000 of our people are participating in pilots across multiple divisions and locations. Implementing this program will further decrease the area per staff allocation, which increases our energy efficiency.

The new workplace design pilots have led us to study further our staff's workplace use per day and per day part. These studies have improved our understanding of demand for lighting and cooling by division and geography. Energy savings have been achieved in our largest offices as a result of these studies as we are now better able to align building services supply with staff activity demand. Studies will continue globally year-round to further optimize energy use across our global workplace portfolio.

Deploying new technology solutions
Our Virtualized Desktop Infrastructure (VDI) enables a highly efficient desktop computing environment in our offices and facilitates:

  • Desktop Power Management: Our proprietary power-management solution, now deployed on approximately 40,000 Network Desktop Client PCs across our global office footprint, save an estimated $1 million annually on power and associated cooling costs.
  • Desktop PC Hardware Fleet Optimization: We replace older, inefficient PC workstations at the end of their useful life with new low wattage thin desktop client PCs, thereby reducing wattage as much as ten-fold per PC replaced, as part of our technology hardware life cycle management process.
  • Desktop Video Conferencing: Our continued adoption of personal computer and smart device-based video collaboration solutions enables wider access to video conference services for our global communication needs. Personal solutions allow for greater interaction across our geographically dispersed facilities, external clients, and staff working from remote locations or home. The strategy results in reduced global travel needs, less energy consumption than traditional firm video conference rooms, and access to firm video services from any global location.

Reducing the Impact of our Data Centers

We work to maximize the operational efficiency of the building infrastructure and technology systems in our data centers by consolidating facilities, driving efficiency in how we power and cool them and optimizing the efficiency and utilization of technology equipment.

Maximizing Infrastructure Efficiency
We continue to seek out efficiency opportunities by exiting older inefficient facilities, migrating our application servers to new data centers that provide lower Power Usage Effectiveness (PUE) compared to legacy facilities and by championing greater efficiency across our North American vendor-owned colocation data centers. Core capacity has continued to grow through 2013 as we have replaced legacy hardware and installed additional capacity. Our overall physical data center footprint, however, has remained stable with service agreements being modified to achieve pricing and environmental efficiencies.

Our long-term modular data center strategy will enable us to achieve measurable power consumption reductions by consolidating our regional data center footprints into more efficient models. Our strategy relies on the adoption of high-efficiency modular data centers: pre-fabricated “data centers in a box” which house servers and the data center infrastructure in secure shipping-container-sized modules. Such modular technology exemplifies a new operating paradigm, fundamentally shifting the way data centers will be assembled, consumed and operated.

Along with its strategic modular data center solutions provider, Goldman Sachs is partnering on the design and implementation of a new publicly available air-cooled module that will significantly reduce the amount of power required to cool our data centers. Adopting modular data centers will also allow us to scale our data center operations more efficiently, and further advance our broader commitment to environmental stewardship and carbon reduction for our global data center operations.

One of our primary data centers in New Jersey achieved Energy Star Certification in 2013, which will be renewed each year. This is a significant and rare accomplishment for data centers. We have also improved the PUE at our other New Jersey data center by more than 10% without reduction in service or capacity to the critical IT equipment.  Some energy efficiency highlights at both facilities include:

  • Cooling: Extensive use of variable frequency drives (VFDs) throughout the facility on pumps, air handling units, chillers, and cooling towers, to match actual IT load
  • Lighting: Occupancy sensors throughout data center fields, hallways, conference rooms, etc., to turn lights off automatically when unoccupied
  • Free Cooling: Use of water-side economizers to cool IT loads without chillers during times of low outside air temperatures
  • Chiller Optimization: Use of a chiller optimization program when mechanical cooling is required that minimizes electrical consumption by adjusting energy use to match load conditions with outside air temperatures

Driving Efficiency in Our Technology
Driving efficiency in our technology footprint helps maximize the gains we achieve in data center infrastructure efficiency and space consolidation. Some highlights of these efforts include:

  • Open Compute Project: Goldman Sachs senior technologists are actively working with a broad consortium of industry members in the Open Compute Project (OCP), to innovatively design the most efficient computing infrastructures at the lowest cost. OCP’s philosophy of standardizing hardware, managing at scale, and driving towards energy efficiencies has benefited Goldman Sachs and other data center users across industries enormously and we intend to continue to engage and benefit broadly.
  • Server Utilization: Our adoption of Open Compute philosophies continues to drive our cloud computing infrastructure, which allows us to scale our computing power in a highly consistent and efficient fashion while minimizing data center growth through active management of all server resources.  Right-sizing application requirements to computing power has further helped reduce our server footprint and enabled greater reduction of data center space in use.  
  • Server Power Management: All new servers deployed in our data centers are configured with optimized power management settings that reduce power consumption during periods of low server utilization.