Tuesday, September 29, 2009

How to Combine Economic Growth and Green IT

More than a concept or fashionable precept, the ‘Green IT’ phenomenon or preservation of the environment has to be considered as an absolute must by all businesses. In view of the frenzied continuous growth of IT in all type of businesses (including a massive turnover of equipment), the IT sector is turning into a potential time bomb not only in terms of recycling but also in increasing levels of energy consumption.

For instance, approximately 50 million tons of e-waste is produced yearly in the world with a steady growth of 5% in Europe alone. Just think of 239 million PCs sold worldwide in 2006!

But besides these numbers related to manufacturing and recycling, those linked to the consumption of energy speak for themselves. In a recent report, the analyst group IDC has shown that whilst over 10% of the electricity consumption in Europe is directly produced by IT equipment, 80% of companies are still not able to quantify their energy consumption.

It is definitely time that we become aware of the dangers, not only at manufacturing levels but also amongst end user companies. A certain number of software providers, mainly those specialized in IT management solutions have been studying the subject and are now able to offer means to better implement business processes in terms of environment policies, energy consumption savings, leading to better business ROI.

Implementing a set of centralized processes throughout a company infrastructure can lead to a significant contribution towards reducing the costs of replacement of devices and energy consumption. With the right set of tools, a company will be able to identify the state of its IT assets (new, working or failing), to measure the precise sources of energy consumption and to renew the redundant equipment consuming unnecessarily and therefore not only generating cost savings but also transforming its IT business into a Clean Infrastructure.

The WEEE (European Union's Waste Electrical and Electronic Equipment Directive) makes equipment manufacturers responsible for disposing of e-waste generated by goods they produce, and the disposal must be ecologically friendly. These regulations became law in February 2003, with member states given until August 2005 for implementation. Including Green IT initiatives into its infrastructure management is therefore a key link to the Protection of the Environment chain, widening the magnitude of the environmental watchdog.

Besides the general trends of control, the simple fact of being able to automatically and centrally switching devices on and off, according to business hours or end users working patterns, is another mean made available by committed software providers.

Representing a real source of savings for companies, implementing such responsible practice reduces their electricity bill by more than 30%. Various studies have shown that the annual consumption of a PC and associated devices averages 800 kWh per end users each year - choosing for the implementation of an ‘automatic on-off’ process would therefore reduce company consumption to 240KWh per users so an average of 24000 KWh per 100 PCs.

It is proven that economical factors lead and accelerate general awareness, allowing quick measurable results. Therefore, it is now a reality that reducing business spending implies a relevant management of assets combined with the implementation of dedicated energy costs saving solutions. On the reduction of equipment depreciation time alone, a saving ranging from 10 to 20% of the buying value could then be achieved, furthermore by complying with these types of practices; companies would improve their competitive positioning by setting themselves as environmental market leaders and vanguards.

In order to be effective and successful, this global approach must be kept within the frame of a strategic plan, lead jointly between the company Board and IT Management.
Green IT is definitely flourishing!