What is Green IT? Why Should We Care?

Green IT is the trend and practice of using computers and networks and related peripherals, in an environmentally responsible way. The idea of green IT is to minimize or mitigate the negative effects of computing and technology on the environment. Steps to do that include designing energy efficient servers and processors, reducing the consumption of natural resources, and properly disposing of electronic waste.

What does it mean to Go Green?

In addition there are steps that employees and computer users can take to help in this regard, such as:

  • Powering off computers monitors and printers when not in use, or at least use sleep mode.
  • Using LCD monitors if possible rather than the old Cathode Ray tubes.
  • Use Laptops rather than desktops if possible.
  • Minimize the use of paper, such as using email as a substitute for mailing documents, photographs, etc.

There are many other steps that businesses can take to implement green IT principles.

  • These include redesigning their data centers in an efficient environmentally sustainable manner.
  • Using cloud computing, and cloud services. Research have showed that the cloud is a more efficient platform.

In addition, there are steps that need to be taken by computer manufacturers and IT vendors, these include:

  • Using environmentally friendly materials when building computing devices and other peripherals, such as printers and monitors.
  • Having recycling program in place to dispose of outdated systems.
  • Implementing cloud services and virtualization.

Will network-based applications help us “go green”, and how?

The world has been steadily moving to a network computing environment, virtualization, and now to a cloud computing environment. This will definitely help us “go green” in many ways. As an example, the use of Email and Videoconferencing helps save on paper, trees, travel expenses, fuel, etc. Videoconferencing apps such as Google’s hangouts will allow a group of people to meet online and collaborate in real time, using a smartphone or tablet (which in turn consume less energy than desktops or laptops).

Cloud computing, is also a big step toward green IT. Examples of cloud based computing are Google’s Gmail and Google Apps. Google Apps live in the cloud, and Google is taking measures to improve efficiency of its data centers, like using free cooling techniques, recycling, certification to industry standards, and optimizing power distribution.

According to research published by Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory, “moving all office workers in the United States to the cloud could reduce the energy used by information technology by up to 87%.” That means that using cloud services such as Google Apps can greatly help the environment.

Here is the link to the study:
Cloud Efficiency Study