Reduce your business impact on the environment with green IT
All businesses are increasingly dependent on technology and small businesses are no exception. We work on our PCs, notebooks and smart phones all day, connected to servers running 24/7. Because the technology refresh cycle is fast, these devices quickly become obsolete and sooner or later we dispose of old devices and replace them with new ones. We use massive quantities of paper and ink to print documents, many of which we promptly send to the circular file.
Many businesses waste resources in the form of energy, paper, money and time — resources you could invest to develop new products or services, or to hire and train employees.
Fortunately, there are a number of simple steps you can take to reduce waste, no matter what the size of your business or how far along you are in the IT refresh cycle. The transiation is made easier as many IT vendors have major initiatives underway to make their products, services and practices more eco-friendly. These include building computers with more environmentally friendly materials, designing them to consume less energy, providing recycling programs to dispose of old systems, developing virtualization and cloud computing alternatives and providing tips to businesses that want to go green.
Here are some practical tips to help you go green.
- Eliminate paper, printer and packaging waste. Try tools such as Green Print to make people “think before they print” and automatically eliminate things such as printing that extra page with only a footer or disclaimer on it.
- Buy remanufactured toner cartridges and get personal ink cartridges refilled to save money and reduce waste. If you’re looking for a new printer, shop for one that automatically prints double-sided.
- Reduce power consumption. The Northwest Energy Efficiency Alliance found that businesses can reduce their average power consumption through effective power management. “Set and forget” tools, such smart power strips, automatically turn off peripheral devices when you turn off the main device.
- When buying new equipment, look for EnergyStar 4.0 ratings and above. Try Edison, a free application that helps you monitor energy use and save energy. Intuit QuickBooks customers can use Intuit Green Snapshot to estimate their firm’s carbon footprint and get recommendations to conserve energy and dollars.
- Recycle all kinds of old equipment such as electronic devices, mobile phones and printers.
- Use Web conferencing instead of traveling to meetings. Web conferencing is a great way to go green and save huge amounts of time and money. Some web conferencing vendors will offer you a free 30 day trial so you get to know the system before making any long term commitments.
- Transition from paper-based to digital processes. Paper-based marketing, forms and faxes add a lot of trash to landfills. E-mail marketing solutions are greener and more affordable, flexible and interactive than direct mail.
- Use cloud computing and software-as-a-service solutions (SaaS) instead of in-house applications. With cloud computing, multiple organisations share the same computing resources and that increases utilisation by making more efficient use of hardware resources.
- You’ll find almost every kind of application in the cloud; from personal productivity applications to accounting to industry-specific solutions for every size company. If you use dedicated hosting services, shop for green hosting providers that use solar or wind power and take advantage of energy-saving technologies such as virtualization.
- Server and storage virtualisation. Because hardware itself is relatively inexpensive, many mid-size and even small companies are facing server and storage sprawl.
- Meanwhile, surveys show that up to 85 percent of system capacity goes unused. While you will have to invest in initial start-up costs, virtualisation can help you improve resource utilisation, reduce energy costs and simplify maintenance.
- Develop a thin-client strategy. Netbooks and other thin clients use about half the power of a traditional desktop PC. They are smaller, cheaper and simpler for manufacturers to build than traditional PCs or notebooks and cheaper for you to buy and operate.
- Thin clients run Web browsers and/or remote desktop virtualisation software (from the likes of Microsoft, Citrix and VMware) so you can use the desktop environment that you’re used to. With these solutions, you can also extend the life of older PCs or buy less expensive, refurbished PCs to save money and reduce waste.
If you would like to find out more about green technologies and how your business can meet carbon reduction targets, contact one of the pre-sales team at Yellowspring on 01268 494160 or email firstname.lastname@example.org