10 Steps to Implementing Green IT
It must be pointed out that recognizing the need to adopt green IT is different from actually putting it into action. As of now, most companies, whether big or small, still do not know where to start in green computing. Untold amounts of studies have been conducted on making IT departments more environmentally friendly. As a result, the whole IT industry is replete with information on green strategies, many of which may even clash with other environment-friendly programs.
So, here is a basic 10-step guide to help you develop a more environment-friendly IT department in your company.
1. Proclaim your Green Intentions
For companies that are still confused as to where to start implementing green IT, it is always best to begin by communicating intentions to adopt an environmentally friendly IT infrastructure. The push for energy efficiency should be cascaded down to EVERY member of your staff, setting the stage for collaboration between various departments. When they learn about your initiatives, they will know that everyone needs to be involved.
You will obviously gain many more ideas on how to transform IT into a Green component of your organization. If you have already formulated a rough plan for green computing, then it would also be wise to communicate an outline of your plans and goals so that everyone will be able to do his or her part.
2. Appoint a Working Group to Ensure Compliance to Green IT
Now that you have set the ball rolling, you need to have a committee that will monitor and ensure that the company’s plans are adhered to by all members of the organization. In this regard, it will be very advantageous to make this team a part of the executive board to give it muscle when performing its work. One of the most important tasks that your appointed green IT Team should focus on is the acquisition of energy efficient IT infrastructure. This team must make sure that your IT groundwork meets all the criteria that are set for the protection of the environment.
3. Measure Current Carbon Footprints Produced by IT Components
You need to know where your company stands in terms of carbon footprint brought about by your information technology services. Quickly establish a carbon footprint reference point. Check the power usage in your IT center and compare it with existing power efficiency standards and metrics for your industry.
Don’t just think desktops and servers when creating an efficiency benchmark. Make it a point to also include factors like air-conditioning, lighting, and recycling of IT peripherals. You can also get a clearer picture of your overall IT carbon footprint if you determine carbon emissions that may be brought about by purchasing or disposing of all related items. You will use your benchmark in developing or fine-tuning your green IT goals to make them more realistic and attainable.
4. Plan More Centralized IT Operations
It can be relatively easy for an organization to centralize its information technology system. That’s because virtualization has become widely available. With server virtualization, carbon footprints can be significantly reduced.
Just imagine the amount of carbon emissions eliminated by removing just 20 individual server CPUs in the office. You can even save more cubicle space while implementing green IT.
5. Use More Efficient Computer Applications
The software that you use can significantly affect your green computing initiatives. For instance, an employee needs to generate a report that spans 5 fiscal years. Hours can be wasted just completing this simple report. However, by using database software that allows the user to effectively customize the parameters of the report and remove any unimportant detail, your employees can finish any report in mere minutes.
By using more powerful computer applications, your IT system can better deal with any inefficiency. Besides, faster software spares your company servers from regularly operating at maximum capacity. This means lesser power consumption for your main data center. If you can only increase the speed of the computer applications that you use, you can have a corresponding positive effect on your energy use and carbon emissions.
6. Use a More Power Efficient Cooling System
Data centers and IT departments are known for big energy-guzzling air conditioning systems. Servers need to be maintained in cool temperature levels at all times. Your computer room air conditioning (CRAC) units also ensure that air is efficiently distributed to prevent humidity from developing in your network or data center. But the problem is that most CRACs available today are designed to work for the entire floor area of data centers. Hence, they consume more energy than necessary.
To reduce your CRAC power consumption for green computing, you can invest in supplemental cooling systems that can be placed in between the rows of servers in your data center. Such cooling systems can directly prevent excessive heating in specific rows of servers. Thus, they can minimize the number of times in a day that the bigger CRAC units are required to work on full power. Apply new Data-Center design technology that minimizes hot-zones.
7. Carefully Weigh Lifecycle of IT Devices and Accessories
Now that the whole world is clamoring for more environmentally friendly products, it is easy for any company to find IT devices and accessories that are suitable for green computing. But before you jump in the bandwagon and invest in the latest green IT products, you must first take into account the projected lifecycle of your existing IT hardware. Can it be recycled? Will it decay in time? If not, then disposing of your existing hardware can far outweigh the environmental benefits that you intend to achieve by buying newer more power-efficient computer hardware.
8. Make Sure Green IT Policies Enhance Business Performance
By implementing green computing initiatives, you will become a contributor to the bigger goal of saving the planet. But you must also consider the needs of your business when putting environmentally friendly initiatives in action. Make sure that your drive for a green IT fits in your overall business operation. Better yet, ensure that environment-friendly IT and your business goals complement each other. By doing so, you will be able to achieve both your green policies and your bottom line goals.
9. Work with Everyone Involved in Your IT Process Lifecycle
Now that you have taken the steps to ensure that your company uses green IT, you need to get everyone involved in your initiative. For your employees, make sure that all of them are made accountable for their adherence to green computing policies. Your human resources department can support your initiatives by regularly posting announcements and notices that touch on the subject of environment-friendly computing. Let everyone know about your goals and the steps that needed to be taken to ensure that your organization maintains green ways of using computer systems.
Make it a key point to engage software and hardware vendors and gain insight from them on making your infrastructure safe for the environment. Ask them for products that help you move toward a more Green IT environment.
10. Monitor Results and Continue Optimizing Your IT
Lastly, you should always check the results of your green IT initiatives. Compare this data with the benchmarks and metrics that you have set for your company. A good example is checking your total power consumption for each month. If it has significantly dropped, then you can say that you have effectively reduced your organization’s carbon footprint. If you see that you have achieved your goals, check your IT system to find more areas where you can improve environmental friendliness. Never rest on your laurels, continue to optimize your IT systems.
In the end, always remember that the way to a more efficient and green computing does not have to entail huge investment costs on your part. Many environmentally friendly steps are easy to implement and you do not even have to wait for years to reap the benefits.
Copyright (c) 2009 Jack Lesley Jr