We are all becoming increasingly dependent on technology–connecting more devices to more servers and networks to communicate, collaborate, automate and get our jobs done. New mobile and cloud technologies put more information and resources at our fingertips than ever before. We’re updating solutions, devices and infrastructure sooner rather than later to leverage technology that can help us to improve employee productivity, attract new customers and streamline operations.
But we also need to think about the resources required to develop and use technology. What chemicals, metals and synthetic materials are needed manufacture and package bright and shiny new technology devices and systems? Where do these materials come from? Where do they wind up when we discard them for newer ones? How much energy does it take create technology products? And how much power is required to cool massive cloud and corporate data centers–or even just a couple of servers in your office?
While we tend to think that only IT vendors and big businesses can have a significant impact on the environmental impact of technology, all businesses, regardless of size, can use green technologies and practices to contribute to environmental sustainability–and at the same time, reduce costs.
Green IT is the practice of managing technology resources in a more efficient and environmentally responsible way. Relevant areas include:
According to a recent BLS Green Technologies and Practices (GTP) survey, 57% of U.S. businesses use green technologies or practices to improve energy efficiency within their establishments, and over half use these green IT to reduce waste materials.
SMBs that want to start or build on a green IT strategy should consider not only how they can use technology in a more sustainable way, but also purchase solutions from vendors with a commitment to developing green IT solutions and services.
Technology vendors have a major role to play in green IT. They can build computers with more environmentally friendly materials, design them to consume less energy, provide recycling programs to dispose of old systems, develop virtualization and cloud computing alternatives, and provide service to help businesses that want to go green.
Dell embraced green IT from early days, when it began its “Design for Disassembly, Upgradeability, Serviceability” initiative. In 1994, Dell became a founding member of the U.S. EPA’s Energy Star Program, integrating energy efficiency into every product line.
The company’s impetus is to make it easier for customers to be green. Dell makes it a point to design with the environment in mind and by embracing sustainability in its own practices, it helps customers reach their own sustainability goals while taking control of resources that create value.
Since then, the company has become an innovator in environmental sustainability.
In its fiscal year 2013, Dell has achieved several environmental milestones:
Dell has extended its sustainability initiatives well beyond its own internal operations and goals. For instance, in 2013, the company added social and environmental (SER) criteria to its global supplier selection process, including criteria for clean water and air discharges.
In addition to broadening its EPEAT imitative, Dell is helping customers build proactive, sustainable IT strategies that not only benefit the environment, but save money and streamline operations. Dell Services helps customers assess current technology practices and determine options to green up existing practices, and/or develop new approaches to meet sustainability and fiscal goals.
With each new generation, Dell products consume less power. For instance, Dell has reduced energy consumption in its desktop and notebooks 25% since 2008, and Dell servers are warranted to run for extended periods at up to 113°F/45°C with only fresh air cooling. Dell KACE Appliances offer green IT management capabilities that conserve energy by controlling how quickly desktops go into low power states.
Taking a green IT approach can also provide companies with benefits beyond energy reduction and cost savings:
Dell and other IT vendors have a huge role to play in ensuring that we use consume and use technology in a more sustainable way.
But the green IT story isn’t just for Dell and other big businesses. SMBs can develop green IT strategies to reduce their carbon footprint, and gain business and IT benefits in the process.
In the next post in this series, I’ll provide some practical tips to help you get started or continue on the path to help your business reap the benefits of going green.
This is the first in a two-part series sponsored by Dell that discusses why green IT is important, and how SMBs can develop and benefit from their own green IT initiatives.
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Published by: IT Analysis Communications Ltd.
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