Learn from the top – how IKEA, Google and IBM are cutting electricity use

IKEA, IBM and Google may be some of the most successful companies of our generation, but,like many other savvy organisations, they want to keep their energy costs down. With the resources to fund new initiatives and energy-saving schemes, it’s worth checking in on what these business giants are up to to get ideas for your own company.

Here are some of the inspiring ways the international giants are cutting their business gas and electricity bills and working towards a greener and more sustainable future.


The Swedish furniture behemoth was the first retailer in the US to phase out energy guzzling incandescent light bulbs. This policy was extended to all stores and it now only uses energy efficient bulbs internationally. The dedication to sustainability is reflected in the products on sale too – Ikea plan to sell only LED bulbs by 2016 and it has completely got rid of all plastic bags, opting instead for re-usable carriers instead.

IKEA also show a strong dedication towards recycling. 71% of all products sold in the store are recyclable, while 84% of the waste generated in stores is recycled.

Many IKEA stores feature solar panels and the company is also investing in renewable energy including a nine-turbine farm in central Sweden which will help to power the country’s stores and keep business energy charges down.


The search engine giant claims its huge data centres are as efficient as possible, reducing energy consumption by up to 50% compared to traditional centres. Google has also entered into agreements to buy electricity directly from wind farms located close to its data centres. The agreements, known as Power Purchase Agreements, promise long-term custom so it can help clean energy providers to grow in the long term.

Around the more spacious office sites, like its Mountain View global headquarters, Google encourage workers to use specially designed and branded bicycles, known as GBikes, to get around.

In the long term, Google is hoping to power its business using 100% renewable energy.

But Google isn’t just using renewable energy for internally, it’s actively investing in the industry too. So far it has committed more than $1 billion to renewable energy projects.


By using analytics and integrated software to assess its energy use and power consumption, and working with the providers of its office equipment and resources, IBM has cut down dramatically on energy consumption in its offices and data centres. Using smart meters to control electricity, hot water, heating and air conditioning, the company avoid unnecessary lighting and heating, cutting back on energy consumption.

IBM also offer charging facilities for hybrid and electric vehicles at many of its office locations.

In a recent cutting-edge move, IBM began collaborating with the University of Michigan’s Erb Institute for Global Sustainable Enterprise. IBM offers a program for graduate students that allows them to take on roles within big, industry-leading organisations while they finish their studies in sustainability development. That way, both the students and the companies benefit from each other’s knowledge and expertise.

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