How to be Green, with an IT twist

By Marc Reifenrath on August 16, 2008 in Company News

It seems like everyone in the past year is trying to be a better citizen to mother earth.  More people are starting to recycle and change their actions to try to play a more active role in becoming green.  A place that many people forget to stay consistent with this act is at their work place.  In the past year or so we have been making a conscious effort to become more eco friendly with our habits around the office.  In fact we have even appointed a Green Zen Master.  Their role is to encourage and inspire the proper habits.

One of the biggest things we have done is switched to completely electric power. This includes our heating system, which is produced by heat pumps as well as a small electric water heater.  Because we have no gas running to our building we receive a better rate from CFU, over time this amounts to a large savings.  Where we can we use the high efficient light bulbs in our office we are, these last longer and use much less energy.  Since we have a large amount of computers in use it is important that a as a whole we cut down our needs in other areas to compensate for our demands in other areas.

The above mentioned are not necessarily IT specific, but are things that may be easy to change in your office.  On the IT side there are several simple things that you can do to help cut down on your electric bill.  The easiest one is to simply shut down all computers after work hours that are not mission critical.  By putting your computer into standby you will still be using power, the best way to save will be to shut the power completely down.  Also check any other peripheral machines like printers, faxes, speakers, copiers that could also be shut down after hours.

Many of us are engrained in our ways and feel it necessary to print much more than we really need to.  Try to only print the documents that you must have on paper.  If everyone in your office can cut back on ten or more sheets a day this would have a much larger impact on the overall paper usage in a work environment.  When buying printer paper, look for recycled paper.  In our office we use recycled paper for internal documents and record keeping, for formal documents that go out to clients we have a nicer paper that we use.  Often times you can create a PDF of your document and simply email the same item that may have been printed off.

Billing can create a large amount of wasted paper as well as an extra cost when you factor in the paper and mailing expenses.  We encourage all of our clients to accept billing via email.  This is quicker and much more cost effective all while being green.  Some organizations must receive the invoices in the mail, if you are one of those organizations then consider a change.

If you want to be extreme, there are hosting services that offer green power as their primary source of energy.  Typically these hosting environments are wind powered and can provide a breakdown of how they get their power.  You can expect to pay a little more for this service but it is a green option.

This is by no means a complete list of the absolutes, hopefully it will start a conversation in your office and how you can become a little greener.  For more tips and detailed information there are many websites that provide great information.  Google "How to be green" and you will have 45,300,000 results.

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