Home » Green Tech: How to Plan and Implement Sustainable IT Solutions. By Lawrence Webber and Michael Wallace. AMACOM.

Green Tech: How to Plan and Implement Sustainable IT Solutions. By Lawrence Webber and Michael Wallace. AMACOM.

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Green Tech: How to Plan and Implement Sustainable IT Solutions

by Lawrence Webber and Michael Wallace

New York: AMACOM, 2009

One of the early promises of the computer revolution was the environmental benefit of having less paper consumption and waste. Little did we know it then, but paper accounted for only a tiny portion of the impact that technology has on our environment. Energy used in cooling servers; the manufacture of hardware, chips, and other components; the disposal of outdated equipment —all of these factors and more add up to a stark reality: Technology is killing our planet.

Almost as sobering to contemplate is the fact that IT-related energy expenses alone cost American businesses upwards of $7 billion every year. Clearly it’s incumbent upon your company to rethink its energy use.

In recent years, businesses big and small have made great strides toward “going green? in general terms. Packaging has become more environmentally friendly, paper and metal recycling are up, and awareness of their “carbon footprint? has guided both new and established businesses toward more responsible practices—many of which are also big-time money savers. But until now, IT has never been a major focus of the effort. Green technologies will help companies like yours change that, and it’s easier than you might think.

Green Tech divides the mission of sustainable IT into three major goals. The first is to rethink your purchasing goals. Often, the lowest-priced equipment is so energy-inefficient that its initial advantage is negated during its first year of operation; while only slightly higher outlays will result in substantial savings very soon and for years to come.

Second, your company needs to examine the specific equipment it has and the specific tasks for which it is used. Are your servers bigger than you need; your backups overly redundant; your work?stations, printers, scanners, copiers, and other items left on overnight and over the weekend?

Third, think long term. Disposal may seem like an issue for down the road, but getting rid of old equipment can be a costly endeavor. You don’t want to have to pay hefty waste-processing fees, fines, or indefinite warehousing costs. And if you’ve bought quality equipment in the first place, you’ll find many opportunities to sell or donate it when you’ve outgrown it.

A book not just for IT buyers but for anyone in business, from the C-suite to purchasing to public relations, Green Tech offers practical ways to:

  • Encourage sensible power usage by bridging the gap between the people using the electricity and the people paying the bills
  • Build the business case for adopting and executing green technology strategies across the entire organization
  • Reduce energy and equipment costs without sacrificing customer service levels
  • Identify old equipment and cost-effective, energy-smart replacements
  • “Right-size” your equipment for the tasks at hand, including reducing or virtualizing servers
  • Cool your data centers for a fraction of the cost you’re paying now
  • Conduct an energy audit and establish your company’s energy baseline
  • Recycle or donate old equipment responsibly

One at a time or in combination (the choice is yours), each and every idea in the book will have a very noticeable impact on your bottom line — and on the world around you.

Lawrence Webber has more than 30 years of IT experience in hardware and software and is a PMI®-certified Project Management Professional. He is a Senior Project Manager at Insight Corporation. Michael Wallace is the Vice President of Application Engineering at Result Data. He has more than 25 years of experience in the information services field. Both authors live in Columbus, Ohio.

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