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Ten Green Computing Strategies for the Rest of Us
Mark Ross, CEO, Ross Group Inc
November 13, 2011
So does your company have a Green Computing Strategy? Many large companies and institutions are implementing green computing programs. There is tremendous pressure for all of us to be better stewards of our precious natural resources, but the bottom line is that green computing makes good business sense too. While smaller companies may not be able to afford to implement a formal program, there are some simple and effective steps that can be taken to benefit both the environment and your bottom line.
First Steps – things we can do now at little or no cost (you may even save some money!)
- Make sure your computers and monitors are set to take advantage of any power conservation features that are built in. Today, virtually all computers come with energy conservation features, unfortunately though, they are often disabled. Check to be sure that they are enabled and suggest to your fellow co-workers to do the same.
- Encourage users to power down desktops and laptops when not in use, especially at the end of the day.
- Encourage users to power off their monitor when they leave their desk. Even if the energy conservation capabilities of the system are enabled, the monitors still use energy. LCD monitors come back on almost immediately.
- Eliminate some printers from your network. Printers largely sit by just consuming power. Most companies can eliminate some printers from their infrastructure and not really impact efficiency at all, and think of the energy and capital investment you can save.
- Recycle your end-of-life equipment. First check to see if there is a way to repurpose your old equipment. Schools, churches and civic organizations sometimes have programs that refurbish old equipment and put that equipment to good use. Next, check other more formal ways to recycle like your waste management company or Goodwill for example. The Computer Recycling Center (www.crc.org) is a national organization that recycles old computers and they have free shipping. Finally, locate a company that salvages the components and disposes of the remaining components responsibly. It may take some digging, but you can usually find an earth friendly way to recycle your old equipment. Make sure you are data safe though. Old hard drives can be an unintended source for leaking valuable business intelligence.
Next Steps – things you can do as equipment ages
- We are all replacing our aging CRTs with LCD displays as they wear out. However, don’t go out and buy all new LCD monitors just because they save energy. As the older CRTs begin to cause problems, replace them with newer Energy Star labeled LCDs. Not only are they more energy efficient, they also occupy much less space on the desktop.
- Replace aging desktops with Energy Star labeled laptops. Today there is very little performance difference between desktops and laptops. Yet laptops are much more energy efficient than desktop computers, generally have a greener footprint, and you get the added benefit of enabling telecommuting, if that option works for your company.
- When you need to update your servers, buy energy efficient models. Almost all systems manufacturers are now producing green servers.
- Consider virtualization. Virtualization works on the principle that servers have lots of idle time and generally this is true. With virtualization, you group servers together onto one machine and use software such as Vmware (www.vmware) to create virtual servers. This way you can consolidate often multiple servers into one physical machine saving not only energy but usually money as well. And maintenance is usually easier to boot.
- Consider moving your servers to a green certified data center. These are starting to crop up now and some are even LEED certified. Again, only make the move if you are nearing the end of life for your servers and then only if it is well planned in advance. Moving your servers to a data center is a complex venture and it is not for everyone.
These are just a few strategies that you can consider implementing that will move you on the path to greener computing. The important thing is to get started!