May 30 3 min read
What Is Sustainable IT?
Sustainability in the IT industry
Sustainability used to be the buzzword of the last decade. Now, it’s become a way of the world as people and companies adopt new practices and technologies in the fight against the climate change crisis and global warming.
In the IT industry and within offices up and down the country, desktops, laptops and servers rely on constant energy sources. From charging up our devices or keeping them at maximum power to devices and servers generating heat, which require additional energy to cool the computer equipment.
Sadly, sustainability in the IT industry needs improvement. But there are numerous approaches to reduce the negative impact on the environment, starting with sustainable IT, also referred to as green IT.
What is sustainable IT?
Sustainable IT, also known as Green IT or Green Computing, aims to minimise the negative impact on the environment in all areas of IT operations, including the design, manufacturing, operating and disposal of technology, computers and other computer related products. It is the practice of environmental sustainability in the IT industry.
Across the world, many IT departments have green IT initiatives with the aim to reduce the environmental impact of their IT operations.
How can IT be more ‘green’, and why it matters
Green IT initiatives include reducing the use of hazardous materials, maximising energy efficiency during a computer or products lifespan. Other aspects of green IT encompass redesigning data centres and promoting virtualisation, green networking and cloud computing.
There are a few different ways in which the IT industry can be sustainable and green. We’ll take a look at 5 of these approaches to sustainable IT below.
5 Ways the IT industry can be green
Power management is an approach to sustainable IT that relates to the power-saving aspects of the IT industry or within a business’s IT department. Beginning with automating components (e.g. monitors and hard drives) so they turn off automatically after set periods of inactivity.
To maximise space, computer cooling and energy costs, a business can also consider relocating its server, or moving to a cloud based solution instead.
Data Centre Power
Ensuring data centre power is green is all about following the best practices, including to utilise outside air cooling; automate controls (lights, security and outdoor cooling); don’t over-cool; separate aisles based on hot and cold temperatures; aim for power usage effectiveness (PUE) of 1.2 or lower; and lastly, to unplug and remove zombie servers.
Data centres have a high energy demand, so its key these centres take measures to improve their energy and space efficiency through storage consolidation and virtualisation.
Migrating to the cloud is a great way for businesses to transform their IT into green IT. By moving on-premise applications and document storage to the cloud, businesses can significantly reduce their direct energy consumption and carbon emissions.
Since the beginning of 2020, many businesses have been reaping the benefits of remote working. But, enabling remote working is a great way that your business can be more sustainable with its IT. The benefits for sustainable IT include increased worker satisfaction, reducing greenhouse gas emissions relating to travel and commutes, increased profit margins due to a lower cost for overheads (e.g. office space, heating, lighting, etc).
To make headway towards sustainable IT, businesses should recycle their computing equipment as this prevents harmful materials (lead, mercury, hexavalent chromium) from entering landfills. Old computing systems can be re-purposed or donated to charities and non-profit organisations.
If your business has computer supplies (printer cartridges, paper or batteries) hanging around, unused, then these may also be recycled. Any old storage devices should be treated with care, especially if they contain sensitive information (emails, passwords, credit card numbers, etc), making sure that this information is removed beforehand.
How can individuals promote Green IT?
- Shut down computers each day, and set them to go to sleep if inactive for over 15 minutes or even sooner
- Share printers if at home or in the office
At Bluecube we specialise in providing managed IT services to all different sized businesses across the UK and overseas. We can work with business owners directly, or assist an IT department, delivering a wide range of IT support services, including a 24/7 service desk, cyber security, IT infrastructure and cloud solutions, IT strategy guidance, and more.