Getting Green About Work Meetings

iLinc Green Meter pageI’ve always known there was a good reason why I worked from home in terms of the impact on my quality of life and the impact on my family.

But I have to admit, I feel a little bit overwhelmed analyzing the impact of my telecommuting or the impact of anything I do day-to-day on the planet. Luckily, it turns out I’m helping to save the world by working from home. At least according to the iLinc Web conferencing software.

iLinc announced their “Green Meter” to provide companies with a tool to measure the “environmental ROI” of Web conferencing – real time carbon emissions savings. The patent pending feature calculates the “standard emission rates” for cars or planes based on where each participant in the Web conference are located. How does it do this, you ask?

The meter takes the IP address of each attendee in the conferencing session, combines it with the host’s location, and then attributes longitude and latitude coordinates for each person. Next, it compares participant location to host location. If the participant were at the same location as the host, for example, the CO2 savings would be zero. If the distance between participant and host is under 200 miles, the meter calculates based on the C02 emissions of driving a car the distance. Over 200 miles, the meter calculates the emissions of flying, distinguishing between short and longer flights.

iLinc Green Meter screen shotFinally, the iLinc Green Meter tallies C)2 amounts for each participant, storing the data for every Web conferencing session. Each participant can see his or her impact on the environment. A company can monitor the impact of a team or of their entire organization. iLinc claims that their customers reduced their impact by over one billion pounds of carbon emissions as of August 2007.

Next month, iLinc will unveil their next-generation iLinc Green Meter that will not only measure carbon savings but also “the monetary impact of replacing travel with online collaboration.” They’ll help companies put a dollar amount to measure their overall savings.

What is the impact of traveling to a meeting? According to the company’s press release:

A company can significantly reduce its CO2 emissions. As an example, a single roundtrip flight between NYC and LA emits 2,000 pounds of CO2. That’s 2 months worth of emissions from a full-size car alone.

iLinc CEO James M. Powers says he devised the idea for the Green Meter after lunching with former Vice President Al Gore, a family friend. How’s that for inspiration?

Linc’s Green Meter comes standard with iLinc version 9.0.