“Going green” is all the rage these days. It is a concept that we should all embrace for the betterment of the environment and to more efficiently consume resources.
Green practices start with a frame of mind or a goal to deliberately focus your actions to be aligned with green concepts. Companies gain a great advantage by declaring themselves “green” through tax breaks and public opinion, second to actually helping the environment.
Companies should take caution when declaring a green state to obtain publicity or favor in that even if you have implemented every change possible to be classified as a green company, your employees may still drive “gas guzzlers” or not practice green concepts while at client sites or other venues during the course of doing business. It is difficult to maintain a perception of being green when you show up in a luxury sport utility vehicle that gets fifteen miles to the gallon!
Going green can bring bleeding edge technologies to your company for a price, so you should weigh your desire to be green with being what we call “fashionably green”. Cutting edge products can do things like automatically migrating virtual servers to run on a fewer number of hosts during off-peak hours while powering off unneeded hosts to save electricity. While on the surface this sounds like a great way to save money and help the environment, the costs for virtualizing your environment, investing in the specialized servers and racks that facilitate automated power functions, and purchasing the software licenses to control it all may very well outweigh the savings you get from powering of some hosts at night. Avoid going fashionably green in favor of implementing green practices that make sense from every angle.
There is good news, though. At a time when everyone is trying to economize every facet of business, you can employ green techniques today and begin the transformation into being a more consciously aware company while saving a boatload of money in the process.
Here are some ideas that will directly impact your bottom line while raising awareness and participation by all members of your organization:
Computers and Peripherals
- Servers – Consolidating the physical number of servers and networking gear that are plugged in and turned on is one of the best places to start saving money. Between the power, cooling, and rack cost savings alone, you will see direct results on your next energy bill.
- Desktop PC’s – Most modern PC’s are equipped with various “sleep modes” that balance energy consumption with how fast it will “wake up”. PC’s should be put in low power states when the user has been away for fifteen minutes or longer and during non-working hours.
- Monitors & Speakers – Monitors and speakers consume a great deal of electricity, especially when left on all the time. Screensavers do not do anything to save electricity, but using your systems built-in power features will. Turning off speakers when not in use will save a significant amount of electricity and money.
- Peripherals – Unplug items when they are not in use. For example, a tape backup unit that only runs at night does not need to be powered on all the time and printers probably do not need to be powered on overnight. Look for settings on your devices that will put the unit in a low energy consumption mode after a set amount of time. Also, look for devices that run on the power provided through the USB port rather than a dedicated power cord.
- Telecommuting – With the mobile technologies available to us today and the blurring lines between business hours and personal time, there is no reason to not consider the financial recovery available through the adoption of telecommuting policies. Reduced office space and daily power consumption coupled with reduced fuel and emissions related to travel to and from the office add up to a very green company profile.
- Travel and Meetings – While some situations call for traveling to a remote site, careful consideration should be given to business travel. Advances in teleconferencing software and services have made for extremely reliable and user-friendly ways to host and participate in face to face conferences over your existing network infrastructure. There are business quality solutions available for free, so the cost of a modest webcam is your only barrier to entry if you would like to cut down on business travel.
- Lighting – It seems obvious, but turn the lights off when you leave a conference room. An unoccupied room really doesn’t need to be illuminated.
- Think twice before printing something.
- Use “draft” quality when printing documents to save ink.
- Use energy efficient light bulbs in your office and home where possible.
These are just a few simple ways that you can begin addressing the green issues and start saving real money in the process without requiring any special expertise or additional investment.