Four Tips for Going Green in the New Year

Paul Mah
Slide Show

Do IT People Really Care About Green IT?

Study finds that IT organizations still consider power consumption secondary to performance.

As we start a new year in 2012, I've put together a number of simple tips on how SMBs may go green by reducing their energy consumption. Do feel free to chip in with tips of your own in the comments section below.


Power off workstations and lights


Given that the typical office operates for just eight out of 24 hours, ensuring that all workstations and lights are powered off goes a long way towards reducing the amount of energy that is wasted. From my personal experience, part of the problem could be due to employees neglecting to power down due to laziness, or because they feel that it takes too long to boot up in the morning. And even though modern displays tend to go into energy savings mode after a predetermined amount of time, it makes good sense to ensure that they are switched off, too.


Turn the thermostat up (or down)


Estimates by the U.S. Department of Energy noted that consumers can save up to 15 percent on their home heating and cooling bills by simply adjusting their thermostats. Similar logic can be applied in the SMB office and SOHO by turning down the heat by 10 to 15 degrees Fahrenheit where it makes sense to, or tweaking the temperature in the server closet from freezing arctic temperatures to something closer to ambient.


Power down appliances after hours


Other than powering down workstations, it also pays to switch off printers and unneeded devices after office hours. One easy way to ensure this is to purchase mechanical timers costing between less than $10 like the one here that can be configured to switch off (and on) at predetermined times. Moreover, more advanced appliances such as NAS (network attached storage) appliances can usually be configured to low-power mode after hours or even switched off entirely.


Switch to laptops and LCDs


Given the trend towards mobile computing and considering how the needs of most SMBs can be met by laptops, transitioning to laptops can help bring about greater power savings in the long run. Rather than attempting to replace all desktops with laptops at the same time, SMBs may instead adopt a strategy of replacing obsolete or unserviceable desktops. In a similar vein, SMBs may also want to stop reusing their obsolete CRTs and switch to the much more energy-efficient LCD displays.

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