Practical Green IT Ideas For The Office


In this article Kelly Millward discusses practical green IT ideas – ways that you can improve the sustainability of your office equipment.

IT is a booming industry, responsible for e-shopping, e-waste, cloud computing and increases of users accessing mobile devices and Internet. At present, IT is considered to contribute 2% to global emissions and is expected to increase to as much as 5% by 2020, largely from growth and conversion from older systems.

Taking this into consideration, IT has got the potential to reduce greenhouse gas emission by up to 15% through modernization, digitization and improvements in efficiency and monitoring.

With statutory requirements upping the ante, its time for companies to improve their ICT as it might just improve CSR, your customer base and employee satisfaction.

5 practical green IT ideas for the office

1. Let’s start with the humble office desktop. On average an office computer is active for 6.9 hours a day, of which it is idle for 3.9 hours. In around 50-60% of offices, computers are left on overnight and during the weekend, astonishingly, 75% of the time they are on, no one is likely to be in the working environment, though this wasteful use of energy from your desktop computer can be curbed. For starters, it is important to educate your employees that any time spent away from there computer, it can be turned off or use set to use a static, dark screensaver in power-saving mode and when they go home, they need to turn it off and turn off their monitor screens! By giving your employees some responsibility, you can effect these changes organization-wide, with the new green conscious in mind. If this proves troublesome, numerous systems now allow a remote administrator the ability to turn PC’s on and off, for example wake-on LAN.

2. When considering your PC, tablet and smart phone, it is important to buy one that has a good end-of-use policy and has taken steps towards being recognized by agencies such as EPEAT or US Energy Star, for their own sustainable agenda, in production and office. The more sustainable the supplier and the more practical or recyclable option at the end of the products life-cycle, the lower your equipment’s impact will be across its whole Life Cycle contribution to greenhouse gas emissions.

3. We are not quite done with desktops yet, there are other things you can do to green them up. For starters, investing in LCD monitors can begin to reduce your carbon footprint. LCD’s are small, compact and use less in production. They have also been designed to use less harmful products and are more efficient then their CRT counterparts. This switch can be part of thin-client architecture. Thin – clients are expected to use a fifth of the power normally used to run normal PCs. Making the move to thin-client can save 54% of carbon emissions, an estimated reduction from 1210 KgCO2eq to 550 KgCO2eq in a 5 year period.

4. The work laptop has fast become a common accessory to your everyday employee. Laptops, with the addition of a few peripherals, including monitors can replace the humble desktop. Creating a domino effect of allowing your work to become portable, providing devices that can be taken to clients and meetings, removing the need for hard copies and reducing work travel requirements!

5. Many offices have numerous facilities for fax, photocopying and printing services. Attempting to minimize what is printed should be considered a sustainability goal within all organizations. Reducing the need for copied and printed materials can be aided by sharing information across networks and with the ability for all documentations to be accessed from numerous devices, not just those in the office. Whilst reductions in the material use can be made, so can the centralization of these units. One power draw is better then three and improves your footprint and helps to cut costs. In tune with the ‘turn-off’ principle, Photocopiers left on overnight, have the capacity to use energy equivalent to making 1500 copies, so please turn them off! Here are some green printing tips.

When implementing any change in your office environment, it is important that you have someone who can manage and co-ordinate this, it is important to keep employees up to date and monitor power consumption to make more informed decisions!

This article is brought to you by Digital ID, suppliers of ID technology and plastic card printers.

About the Author Kelly Millward

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1 comment
Diana Saxon says October 23, 2013

I linked to this page from a posting on Google+.
Most if not all, of these tips can also be used in a home setting as well.
I only have my laptop plugged in while it charges; the rest of the time it’s running on battery only. It spends it’s nights unplugged from the charger and shut off.

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