Five tips for low-energy business computing

By Robert L. Mitchell, Computerworld |  Green IT

Replacing older computers and peripherals with Energy Star-rated equipment
can save both energy and space -- and the lower power consumption can significantly
reduce cooling loads in office areas, further extending savings.

The place to start is with CRT displays.

"The biggest offenders are the monitors," says Brown. Most businesses
have already begun phasing out CRTs in favor of more efficient LCDs, which use
about one-third less power, but they still have plenty of CRTs waiting to go.
Verizon Wireless accelerated its refresh cycle because doing so not only saved
energy but freed up valuable desk space in its call centers, says Waghray.

To save energy, move data, not people

Energy-efficient computers are good, energy-efficient people are even better.
A green office is about more than using energy-efficient equipment: The application
of information technology to support teleconferencing and telework can make
both people and businesses more efficient.

Several hundred people employed with Cox Communications Inc.'s call center
this year began working four out of five days from home. Using a browser and
their own home computers, remote staff access a suite of applications hosted
on a Citrix Presentation Server back end.

To access the system, call center workers download a browser plug-in and then
authenticate to the system. "We can present the entire environment to any
computer anywhere. We even stream content to employees for staff meetings,"
says Josh Nelson, vice president of information and network technology.

By rotating different teleworkers into the office on different days of the
week, Cox has cut computer equipment and cubicle space needs, and avoided a
building expansion.

Employees benefit, too: In an era of $3 a gallon gasoline, they have taken
to the voluntary program because it saves four commuting trips to the office
each week and takes several hundred cars -- and the emissions they produce --
off the roads each day. "It's been quite impressive from a cost perspective
[and] what it does for the environment," Nelson says.

Terremark Worldwide Inc.'s hosting business requires employees to travel both
globally and locally between facilities for everyday meetings. It recently deployed
videoconferencing systems from Tandberg to tie together conference rooms between
its facilities. Before, staff made regular trips between the main offices and
its hosted data center facilities two hours away.

"It helped us avoid about 20% of the travel we were doing before,"
says George Bandin, vice president of information system and technology. "Just
within our own facilities, it's a huge savings in fuel and time."

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