"Greening" the IT Asset Usage
The usage phase of an IT assets' lifecycle is where most of the industry's "Greening" efforts are concentrated. Organizations are utilizing technologies like virtualization, centralized power management etc. to increase utilization of existing assets, reduce carbon emissions and cut down on operational expenses.
However, challenge lies in enabling employee involvement in the Green journey and not in implementing technology solutions. Also, as mentioned in my previous post, employee awareness & involvement can provide much higher benefit as compared to technology implementation.
I would like to divide this post into manual initiatives and automated solutions.
· Business users must inform the IT organization when the assets are no longer required. Also, IT organizations should conduct periodic audits to track and report on IT asset usage by the business.
· Laptop users must read and follow the battery care practices mentioned in laptop's user manuals
· Learn and adjust the power settings in operating system according to one's way of working.
Following manufacturer's instructions and using OS power settings help in delaying the degradation of a battery. This offers multiple benefits in terms of frequency of charging the battery, reduced expenses due to longer battery life and of course reduced impact on environment resulting from avoidance of buying new batteries.
· Do away with screen savers (there is a better saver for your screen: a monitor's 'off' buttonJ).
· Turn off computers when not required.
· Avoid printing unless it's unavoidable and try using recycled paper wherever possible.
· The documents we make tend to go through a number of versions, if possible, delete the intermediate versions once the document is finalized. This would save storage space on PCs as well as servers and reduce the need for increasing storage space.
· Centralizing the power management for PCs and servers can go a long way in managing energy usage. Organizations can standardize the OS based PC power settings by implementing the same in a centralized manner. These small settings provide considerable financial benefits when taken in the context of entire organization, the bigger the organization the bigger the benefit.
Also, many software vendors are coming up with centralized power management software that tracks power consumption of relevant devices and powers them down if idle. Such software also handles patch management of powered down devices using features like wake-on-LAN. Hence, employees don't have to leave their PCs on after a day's work thinking about patches.
· Printer management is another area that is important for "going green". It is possible to centrally implement power settings for printers. You can implement "sleep" mode for printers and optimize printers for double sided printing, secure printing etc to make sure that printers consume less power and there are no unnecessary printouts.
· Last but not the least; organizations can employ virtualization technology to increase utilization of their existing assets. This technology is on the top of most IT manager's agenda these days due to the multi-faceted benefits offered by it. To list a few:
o Decrease in electricity bill
o Increased free space in data centers
o Reduction in carbon emissions
I would like to conclude this post with a simple thought; optimizing the utilization of your existing assets by appropriate use of technology and process is more sensible economically as well as environmentally than buying new energy efficient assets. By doing that you would be saving on the cost of purchasing and handling of replacing existing assets with new ones as well as avoiding the carbon emitted in the production of new assets.
I hope this post would have provided some good pointers to employees and organizations to enhance utilization of existing assets. I will be back with my post on eco-friendly end-of-life management next Monday. Have a great and "green" week ahead! J