by David Anderson
What do working from home, mercury and PC power management have in common? They’re all components of a wider view on green computing – a perspective which is essential as we look to complete a green IT strategy.
First, some scope: the aim of green IT (or green computing) is to maximize energy efficiency, reduce hazardous materials during construction and promote recycling and reusability. So what are our options if we’re trying to create a comprehensive green IT policy? It goes far beyond simply turning off our computers.
- Choose equipment that maximizes longevity. A longer product lifecycle not only means that you’ll have to buy less frequently, it also means that fewer resources will be used to create new items (that you’re not buying).
- Look at PC power management options. While there are rudimentary free tools available – some built in to modern operating systems – the biggest savings (in time, energy and costs) come from dedicated PC power management solutions. These will efficiently manage the activity/inactivity of your computers and will report on both energy use and cost savings. (Great for when you have to prove the effectiveness of your program!)
- Know your manufacturers. Purchase equipment from manufacturers who have their own green initiatives. Do a little bit of research and find out if your computer vendor has eliminated (or at least plans to eliminate) substances like mercury, arsenic or phthalates from their machines, or has adopted practices like Energy Star requirements.
- Recycle/Re-use when possible. Though electronics recycling rates are still relatively low, more programs are springing up regularly and should be taken advantage of. Of course, if you can re-purpose older equipment, even better.
- Look at telecommuting. This may not be possible for everyone, but studies have shown that worker satisfaction increases, transportation emissions are reduced and overhead workspace costs (like heating and lighting) are lessened as well when employees work remotely. Given our increasingly wired world, this option is more practical now than ever before.