As the central hub for all things tech in a business, the IT department consumes a lot of natural resources in the day-to-day running of a business. Thus, the onus should be on both business owners and the IT departments themselves to do what they can to opt for greener IT solutions.
Going green with your IT can help to make your operations more efficient, save you money, and help to reduce your carbon footprint. And, as businesses push to adopt eco-friendly practices more and more, the awareness spreads to an organisations’ strategies as a whole – linking their environmental responsibility with their larger business functions.
Here, we’ll explore some solutions and processes you can use to help reverse some old habits and reduce your carbon footprint. We’ve also devised an interactive quiz for you to take, so your business can measure up its green credentials. If you’re looking to work on your environmental responsibility, be sure to give it a go!
Power management technology and best practices
There are a few no-effort tips you can use to begin your move towards a greener IT department. In fact, they’re so simple, they pretty much go without saying! When you aren’t using your computer, make sure you power it down. If you have to leave it on because of security update installations or because it’s running a program, then turn off the monitor and the speakers.
Rather than using a screensaver, configure your computer or monitor to go into sleep mode during work hours. Also, when leaving at the end of the day, power down any peripherals that aren’t in use, such as printers, external hard drives and scanners.
There are plenty of third-party management products that can provide further flexibility and control over your computers’ energy consumption. Certain programs allow you to manually reduce the power voltage to the CPU, while Intel’s vPro allows you to turn computers on and off remotely. This does away with the need to leave systems on for pesky updates or patch deployments in the wee hours.
Eco-friendly printing and paper tips
Your paper usage can start to pile up – and we don’t just mean physically – if you don’t keep things in check. Consider whether certain duties throughout the day actually require you to use paper. For instance, email the minutes or agendas from meetings to conserve paper, and avoid printing out or making copies of emails that can just as easily be forwarded to other recipients.
Excessive printing can also be detrimental to offices looking to increase their efficiency. When printing, always print on both sides of the paper, avoid large fonts and decrease the margin width to save on your sheets. When purchasing paper, look for recycled paper with a high percentage of post-consumer content and minimal chlorine bleaching.
Recycling, reusing or repurposing your old systems and supplies can help to reduce the number of hazardous materials sent to tips and dumps, where they can cause harm. Many IT and electrical components contain toxic and carcinogenic substances such as mercury and lead, so disposing of this technology in the incorrect manner pollutes the ground, water and the air.
If a member of the team requires a new workstation to run high-end, resource-intensive programs, then don’t throw out the old computer; give it to a member of the team who’ll need it for word processing, spreadsheets and other similar tasks. This kind of process saves money and avoids e-waste.
Consider donating old computers and other devices still in good condition to those outside the company such as schools and non-profit organisations. Additionally, equipment that’s unsalvageable by you or other businesses can be recycled to make new items. Old printer cartridges, old phones and paper can all be recycled and revived, too.
For more information on our recycling service, be sure to head to our dedicated page, here.
Buy efficient tech
When your department buys new hardware, make sure it’s energy efficient. The right hardware will be labelled as such. Replacing your old energy-wasting equipment with newer technologies requires less power and is one of the biggest ways to lower your energy costs.
Be on the lookout for high efficiency (80%) power supplies, variable speed temperature-controlled fans, small form factor hard drives and low voltage processors. Additionally, consider replacing your old CRT monitors with LCD displays, as these can save up to 70% in energy costs.
Consolidate where you can
Virtualisation technology allows your department to run multiple virtual machines on a single physical server. Since many servers tend to be underutilised, the savings you can make are highly appreciable; VMWare claims that its virtualised infrastructure can decrease energy costs by as much as 80%.
Storage area networks and network attached storage solutions can serve to consolidate your department’s storage. Consider powering down selected drives, opting for slower drives where possible, and minimising the use of power and cooling equipment.
Optimise your data centre
If your department has a data centre, then you’ll know that it eats up vast amounts of energy. Consequently, the cooling it requires can cause problems, too. Consider rethinking the data centre’s design so that it features a hot aisle and cold aisle layout; coupled cooling and liquid cooling can hugely reduce the energy required to run hardware.
Optimum data centre design for energy-saving brings the use of alternative energy technologies, and how they can minimise the footprints of the buildings themselves, into frame too.
Use thin clients to reduce GPU power usage
You can also reduce your energy consumption by using thin clients. Ecologically friendly and less reliant on power to run, thin clients use less power than energy-efficient PCs in sleep mode. Most of the processing is done on the server, so they use very little energy.
And once they’ve reached the end of their lifecycle, there’s no hard drive, less memory and far fewer components to deal with.
Encourage remote working
How do you make sure your IT department improves its environmental responsibilities even further? You take the office out of the equation, of course. Allowing as many workers as possible to telecommute lets you reduce the amount of office space that requires heating and cooling, the required number of computers and the number of miles employees travel to get to and from the office. This reduces the cost for both employers and employees alike.
At Computer Disposals Limited, we can help your office manage its old hardware. Head to our homepage or call 0333 060 0547 to discover what CDL can do for you.