Phasing in the Green

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During the time we were writing our Green IT book, we came across a great many new green products and solutions. The last few years have seen an explosion of general and IT-related technologies touting to help an organization be greener. As we continued our research and writing, it became clear that going green was becoming easier and easier.

This is good news for all of us; however, one of the first things any organization is going to consider when buying new technology is the initial cost. It turns out that many of the green products and solutions aren’t the cheapest options, and it may take some time before the scales of finance tip in green’s favor. So how does an organization go green – you know, do the right thing for planet – while doing the right thing for the bottom line?

Low Hanging Fruit – The Technology Refresh.

One of the best opportunities to go green is when an organization is faced with the natural process of replacing aging technology with something new. In IT, this can happen frequently as there are often new technologies and solutions that offer a business significant value. With an existing technology in place, the organization will already have a good grasp on the fixed costs, and much of the operational costs associated with the technology. A good example is laptop and desktop computers – a company knows how much each unit costs and how much support and other costs are. They may have even estimated how much energy each consumes over a given period of time and if not, this can be estimated without too much effort. For example, the vendor’s website likely mentions how much power the device consumes.

If one of the easiest ways to go green is by simply phasing in the green technology when it’s time to update something, where do these opportunities most often lie? Well, it could be almost anything from copiers, printers, laptops, desktops, monitors, servers, uninterruptable power supplies, routers, switches, phone systems, and data center components like HVAC systems and generators. Even pagers and cell phones present the opportunity to improve on “greenness”.

Every single one of these technologies has at least a few green offerings. Look for energy savings through efficiency (improved power supplies, system design) or improved capacity (read virtualization). Also keep an eye out for products offering a reduction of consumables, low or no toxic emissions or components, or ones that are simply designed to last longer or be more recyclable when they are at the end of their useful life.

Baby Steps – Small Changes Can Have Huge Impacts

Let’s take a look at two examples:

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