Raytheon reaps green success from sowing sustainability seeds

2009 Green 15: Green tech and cultural shift helps company save money and aid the environment

Defense technology company Raytheon has long pursued environmental initiatives. In 1998, the company started setting goals to reduce waste. Several years later, it focused on cutting energy consumption. Last year, the company launched the first phase of a massive, companywide sustainable IT project, affecting its 73,000 employees spread out around the globe among six business units.

Among the company's pilot projects was deploying PC power management software from 1E on more than 4,000 PCs. The effort helps reduce energy waste by powering down machines when they aren't in use.

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Additionally, the company launched a server virtualization and consolidation effort for its Windows and Unix environments, as well as for its Oracle and Microsoft database servers. The company reports that more than 685 servers have already been virtualized or consolidated.

On top of that, Raytheon started a printer- and paper-reduction campaign through which more than 3,900 personal printers in the pilot businesses were slated for removal. "These printers were often removed without replacement, because of the existing widespread use of multifunction printing devices on the network," says Maureen O'Donnell, internal controls manager for information solutions at Raytheon's Network Centric Systems business unit.

In addition, the printer default settings were changed to double-sided, secure printing, which significantly reduced paper and ink consumption.

Moreover, Raytheon adopted to new IT practices to reduce its environmental impact. For example, a revised IT-procurement process incorporates energy and recyclability criteria into product-purchase decisions and sustainability criteria into supplier evaluations.

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The project focused not only on deploying an array of green technologies but also on driving the necessary cultural change within the Raytheon's six business units to steer employees toward making greener decisions. In fact, the biggest challenge hasn't been so much technological as cultural, says O'Donnell.

In an effort to foster a green mindset among employees, IT partnered with the facilities department to drive a communications campaign via e-mail, site events, and an Energy Citizen Program, which encourages employees to practice energy efficiency at work and at home. "This helped the employee population understand the impact of the IT footprint on Raytheon and how, through simple practices, employees could contribute significantly to the company's sustainability strategy," says O'Donnell.

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Demonstrating the value of the green efforts to company leaders, stakeholders, and employees alike has also proven critical, O'Donnell says. To that end, the company has established a foundation for metrics reporting. "Metrics reporting was challenging to establish, but had a great impact on culture change because it created enterprise-wide visibility into the significant gains achieved from the sustainability strategy," she says.

Communication among Raytheon's business units has also proven effective, allowing them to leverage one another's resources and lessons. The company has gone so far as to launch a formal IT-Facilities Green Working Group with representatives from each of the six businesses.

In the first year alone, the company has reaped $11.5 million in savings from its green initiatives and anticipates far more savings in upcoming years at it builds on its green IT strategy. Of this, $2.7 million resulted directly from server-related energy savings. Moreover, Raytheon was able to avoid building a new datacenter, despite a 25 percent growth in capacity demand, a direct result of its virtualization efforts. Another $250,000 in savings came from the progress on desktop power management, while $1.5 million in savings stemmed from printer-related savings. The remaining savings were a result of reducing server lease expenses, facilities footprint costs, and datacenter labor.

From an environmental standpoint, Raytheon was able to meet its seven-year goal of reducing greenhouse gas emissions by 33 percent a year early, due to the reductions in energy use.


Copyright © 2009 IDG Communications, Inc.