Going Green for Earth Day
Earth Day, which happens every year on April 22nd, was started by former Wisconsin Senator Gaylord Nelson and is celebrated in over 175 countries. The purpose of Earth Day is to spend time focusing on environmental issues, so let's look at a few ways your organization can implement some IT elements to go green for Earth Day, but also get some green for your company.
Two-Sided Printing Many companies have printers in their organization that are capable of printing on both sides of a piece of paper, but they are not taking advantage of it. The reality is, the majority of the printing that happens at organizations is for internal use, and not for presentation to customers. By setting your default print mode to be on both sides of the page, you can greatly reduce your paper usage and costs.
Don't Print or Print Less Two-sided printing is one way to reduce paper consumption and save money on things like toner and ink. Another way to save money is to not print at all. Services like Instaper.com will take a web page and save it for viewing later on a tablet or Kindle. This is especially handy for long form articles you don't want to read in front of a computer screen, simply save them and read them later on your eBook reader of choice.
If you still want to print an article, something like Instapaper is great because it grabs the content of the article, and not all of the ads the populate today's web pages. This will save paper and expensive color ink if you do decide to print an article.
Go to the Cloud One of the main costs for organizations with large Infrastructure is the energy costs associated with server rooms. Not only do IT managers need to be concerned, with the energy costs associated with the power consumption of their servers, but also by the costs associated with cooling the servers.
One of the big benefits of the virtualization of hardware enabled by software vendors such as VMWare and Microsoft has been the ability for organizations to reduce power consumption by consolidation numerous servers to a single server.
Another, even bigger way to drive down these energy costs, is to move your application servers out of your local IT infrastructure totally, by having them run in the cloud. There are, obviously, many times when this would not make sense. However, for times when it does, moving your infrastructure to the cloud can be doubly green. Cloud providers like Amazon, Google and Microsoft are hyper-focused on minimizing the power consumption of their data centers. The more efficient they can be in cooling and powering their data centers, the greater their return on environment. By moving your organization to the cloud, you will also see a reduction in costs for power and cooling within your own organization.
Sleep Mode Both Microsoft and Apple have sleep mode available for their systems. After a period of inactivity, the state of the computer is essentially saved and it goes to "sleep". In this mode, the computer is still on, but it uses much less power than it normally would. If you are a large organization with many computers, setting them to automatically go into sleep mode when they are not being used, especially when employees are at home, can result in a significant reduction in energy consumption.
If you have users who access their computers remotely when they are out of office be sure to enable Wake-On Lan for them. Wake On Lan allows a user to access the computer, or a file on the computer, remotely when the computer is in sleep mode. It will, as the name implies, wake it up from sleep mode.
Recycle Old Computers Be sure to recycle your old computers since they are full of heavy metals like cadmium, mercury, and lead that are bad for the environment. A great way to recycle computers is ask your area school districts if they would be willing to receive a donation. Many school districts are running very long computer replacement cycles and would appreciate the donation. Better yet, your organization will appreciate the tax write off. Just be sure to wipe your hard drive before donating.
These ideas are just a few of the ways your organization can be greener and save a little money in the process!