The trend ‘Green is the new black’ has paved its way not only in the business world but also among companies’ IT departments. Green computing or green IT is an all-new need-of-the-hour concept that involves reducing the carbon footprint generated by information systems. With proper implementation, green computing can make IT operations cost-effective and improve overall efficiency.
i. A source from Wikipedia points out that only 15-20% of e-waste is recycled from 50 million tonnes every year.
ii. Researcher Anders Andrae published a paper stating that data centres will contribute the largest share (33%) in ICT to global electricity usage.
iii. The energy bills of data centres amounted to $11.5 billion in the U.S. in 2010, with an increase of 9% per server in energy consumption.
iv. An average desktop computer wastes around half the power it gets.
All these astonishing figures suggest that environmental issues are now affecting individuals, governments and businesses alike further reiterating the need for ‘Going Green’.
What does it mean to ‘Go Green’ with your IT infrastructure
‘Green IT’ or ‘Green Computing’ are terms used for environmentally-friendly IT practices. Such practices include using energy-saving CPUs and servers and disposing of electronic waste correctly. Businesses are adopting eco-friendly practices and IT leaders are looking for ways to bring eco-friendly strategies to their organisations without affecting the organisation’s productivity.
How to implement green computing
Here are some proven ways for implementing ‘Green’ IT infrastructure in your organisation:
- Adopt cloud computing: Before the invention of cloud technology, there were computers with certain RAM, storage and processing power. As the system was switched on, power was consumed whether all the resources were used or not. With cutting edge technologies, such as cloud computing and virtualisation, a single physical server can be accessed by multiple users. Hence, more work can be done on fewer servers with server resource optimisation. Moreover, now with the usage of smartphones, tablets and laptops, power consumption has reduced drastically.
- Opt for power management technology: Operating systems with Advanced Configuration and Power Interface (ACPI) help in saving power. They configure monitors and hard disks to sleep after inactivity. Moreover, these systems can reduce the CPU’s power voltage. They use technologies, such as Intel SpeedStep or AMD Cool’n’Quiet, to handle the systems automatically. For example, Intel’s vPro technology can turn computers on and off remotely, saving energy.
- Redesign your data centre: Installing a hot and cold aisle layout, can help in reducing power consumption that is required to run a data centre efficiently. Optimum data centre designs use other energy technologies such as evaporative cooling and catalytic converters on backup generators, minimizing the building’s carbon footprints. Also, low-powered blade servers and uninterruptible power supplies utilize 70% less power than an uninterruptible power source.
- Use efficient displays: Consider upgrading old CRT monitors with newly-furbished LCDs that can save up to 70% energy and reduce electricity costs. Do some research on which LCD consumes the least power and install it on all the systems. One such LCD is the Flatron W2252TE launched by LG that uses less than half the power of traditional monitors.
- Invest in star-rated hardware: Hardware vendors offer workstations and servers that meet the Environmental Protection Agency’s Energy Star guidelines that aid in lower power consumption. Opt for systems with good Electronic Product Environmental Assessment Tool (EPEAT) ratings which use Institute of Electrical and Electronics Engineers’ standards to measure environmental performance. EPEAT-registered products meet Energy Star 4.0 standards.
You can also consolidate servers with storage area networks (SANs) and network-attached storage (NAS) solutions to save energy.
- Recycle systems from time to time: You should reuse, repurpose and recycle old systems and supplies appropriately. Repurposing systems can be done within the organisation. For instance, you can use an old computer for simple tasks. This way you can avoid buying a new system unnecessarily thus, avoiding e-waste.
Electronic waste can also be recycled to produce new products. Some vendors also take computers and peripherals to recycle.
- Bring on a change with Green Computing
As you implement green IT infrastructure, start comparing the metrics obtained with the benchmarks set in the company. Consider monitoring total power consumption every month. If the figures show a drop, it can be inferred that you have successfully reduced the organisation’s carbon footprint.