What is Green Computing and How IT Is Becoming More Sustainable

From your home recycling bin to the G20’s policies on climate change, environmental sustainability has become a focal point for everyone. 

Many businesses are also stepping up to evaluate how they can boost their energy-efficiency, reduce electronic waste (e-waste), and slow global warming.

Part of that answer lies with green computing.

In this article, we will discuss the history and purpose of green technology, as well as the 10 best ways to improve the environmental sustainability of your own IT infrastructure.

What is Green Computing?

Green computing is an initiative that dates back to 1992, when the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) created the Energy Star program. If that sounds familiar, it probably should. Look around your home and you’ll notice that many of your newer appliances boast an Energy Star seal of approval. This is an indication of certified energy-efficiency. The result? Less waste and lower operational expenses.

These same green computing principles can be applied to your organization’s IT infrastructure. Green computing (also known as green information technology or green IT) is the use of computers and their resources in a way that reduces environmental impact. 

More generally, it’s a field of study that encompasses the design, manufacture, use, and disposal of computer systems in an eco-friendly manner. Indeed, IT manufacturers continue to push the limits of eco-friendly computing systems on all fronts. 

Beyond merely creating a product that boasts a green design, the focus is on developing products that qualify for green disposal. This is achieved by decreasing the use of hazardous materials in the manufacturing process.

Why is Green Computing Important?

The goal of green computing has been the same since the very beginning: to reduce resources, minimize waste, and optimize efficiency throughout the entire life cycle of a computing device. 

In a world where businesses are increasingly dependent on technology, green computing is the environmentally friendly solution we need to mitigate negative consequences. 

As awareness spreads, green computing initiatives are becoming the norm rather than the exception, which is good news for both the planet and your organization.

What Techniques are Involved in Green Computing?

Let’s examine 10 green computing strategies your organization should implement to reduce its carbon footprint.

1. Enable Power Management

Power management features can be automatically enabled to power down computer displays and hard drivers after a specified amount of inactivity. These low-power states are often collectively referred to as “sleep mode.”

2. Dispose Responsibly of E-Waste

When disposing of electronic waste, it’s critical that you adhere to local, state, and federal regulations. Whenever possible, find ways to recycle, refurbish, or reuse your computing devices at the end of their lifecycle.

3. Verify Data Centers Temperature

Data centers are notorious for their intense heat output. This directly correlates with the number of servers in your racks. Therefore, the larger your data center, the more challenging temperature regulation becomes.

A green data center is one in which the electrical, computing, and mechanical components are optimized in a way that reduces energy consumption. This can be accomplished in a variety of ways.

For instance, consider installing fans throughout your racks to keep temperatures down. Moreover, use energy-efficient overhead lighting; this means the lights are operated by motion detectors or timers so that they’re only active when needed.

What is Green Computing?

4. Implement Smart Technologies

Smart technologies leverage the power of machine learning (ML) and artificial technology (AI) to collect and analyze data with the aim of streamlining business processes.

Many organizations are now employing these smart technologies in their data centers. By monitoring the environment, Internet of things (IoT) sensors can automatically manage things like power, heating, and cooling in the data center for optimal performance.

5. Opt for Liquid Crystal Displays (LCD)

Compared to traditional cathode ray tube (CRT) monitors, liquid crystal displays (LCD) are environmentally superior in three ways. First, they emit less heat. Second, they require less energy to power. Finally, they’re easier to recycle, since the indium in the TFT panels can be repurposed for the construction of new LCDs.

6. Encourage Remote Work

What began as a compromise during the early days of COVID-19 has gradually become the new normal. For health and legal reasons, organizations across the globe had no choice but to pivot to the work-from-home model

Now, with much of the panic and many of the restrictions behind us, it appears this trend is here to stay.

Not only are remote workers happier and more productive in their jobs, but the reduction in travel and commuting has been a major victory for green computing.

7. Choose Laptops Over Desktops

Laptops consume significantly less energy than traditional desktop computers. In fact, laptops use roughly 30 to 70 watts per hour, whereas desktop computers use anywhere from 60 to 300 watts per hour.

8. Invest in Alternative Energy Sources

Fossil fuel is the problem child of the energy sector: It’s not renewable; it’s cost is highly variable; and it emits high levels of harmful carbon into the atmosphere. 
That’s why many organizations are investing in alternative energy sources, like hydroelectricity, wind power, geothermal cooling, and solar panels. The latter are particularly interesting for their stable costs and invulnerability to power surges and blackouts.

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9. Consider Your Printers

Though printers don’t have the same clout as things like servers or laptops, they’re still a key pillar of your green computing strategy. When it comes to printers, there’s two main things to consider. 

First, consider switching out your inkjet printers for laser printers. Laser printers are more expensive up-front and use pricier toner cartridges; however, they offer a better long-term return on investment (ROI) thanks to their high efficiency.

If you decide to stick with the inkjet printers, opt for ones that use refillable cartridges instead of replaceable ones; this can save you as much as 30% to 50% per refill.

10. Align Your Company’s Vision

To make the most out of a green computing initiative, it’s absolutely essential that the executive staff grasps its importance. 

With C-level and senior management support, it becomes easier to implement corporate policies that emphasize eco-friendly computing equipment, policies, and practices.

Reduce Your IT Infrastructure’s Carbon Footprint With Netsurit

As we’ve seen, green computing isn’t just good for the environment, it offers a high-performance, scalable, and cost-effective solution for your IT infrastructure. 

Now that you understand the green computing concept, it’s time to start implementing the above suggestions within your own organization.

Not sure where to begin? Not to worry. At Netsurit, we can help reduce your business’ carbon footprint, while improving the cost-efficiency and scalability of your IT infrastructure. Contact us at one of our many international locations to discover how.

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