IBM Offers ‘Five Golden’ Rules For Green IT

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Companies are missing a trick by not realising how much energy is being used by dormant office equipment, says IBM’s Richard Lanyon-Hogg

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2. Proper Configuration

Lanyon-Hogg said that the second golden rule is organisations should properly configure their equipment. “Many organisations configure the power consumption of their laptops, but much more can be done. Using a printer as an illustration, many companies have got rid of their old laser printers as part of their printer consolidation, and instead opted for new multi function printers. But sometimes this the equivalent of buying an “A-rated” fridged, as they leave the fridge door open.

“We are seeing that some of the energy saving functions in these energy efficient devices are being disabled,” Lanyon-Hogg. He also pointed out that many companies do not alter the contrast of their devices or monitors, but this can be done safely to reduce energy consumption but without impairing the screen.

“When you measure a device, you need to understand what goes through it, i.e. the code that goes through the machine, as the code consumes power in the background,” Lanyon-Hogg said. “These are all non-capital intensive changes that companies can do to save money.”

3. Green IT Fatigue

According to Lanyon-Hogg, the number three golden rule concerns people’s behaviour with equipment.

“Three years ago you had green czars being appointed to bring about change, but we found that after the initial surge of green goodness, it tails off,” he said.

Lanyon-Hogg warned that ongoing financial incentives played a big part in the desired effect of maintaining corporate interest in this, i.e. energy efficiencies save money.

4. Service Focus

Lanyon-Hogg warns that the number four golden rule can be something of a challenge for the IT manager.

This is to do with building an authoritative view of the services that is being delivered across the corporate infrastructure, and how the IT systems and services support that infrastructure.

“What tends to happen with new disruptive architectures is that things get out of control, and people become unaware of what exactly is flowing across their infrastructure,” said Lanyon-Hogg. “This area can potentially provide a huge optimisation of benefits.”

5. Holistic Planning

Finally, the number five golden rule is that companies need to start thinking about their systems holistically, and how they can operate in a sustainable manner.

“I have never come across a company that does all five of these golden rules,” said Lanyon-Hogg. “Companies need to start thinking about the architecture of the systems themselves. They need to consider the physical components, and how they can design these system if they are thinking of introducing sustainable processes.”

“They need to think about the impact of new systems, not just now but also downstream and in the future,” said Lanyon-Hogg. “These rules will bring benefits because the organisation uses less energy, and the company is therefore better positioned to implement a better use of their ICT kit.”

Final Thoughts

“When we think of green IT projects, we are talking about looking at the use of IT equipment to lower the overall carbon footprint of the business,” said Lanyon-Hogg. “When we look at the travel policy of a company we look at the cost of travel but also the footprint of that travel. Often we look at the cost and do a cost benefit analysis, and then implement a video conferencing system.”

“But what is new about this? Well it is continuing proof there is a sustainable amount of waste out there,” said Lanyon-Hogg. “Often you don’t need new equipment, but we can work with the business to lower their carbon footprint and free up expenditure. And our whitepaper is a confirmation that this is not a small figure. It is a very large figure.”

“Look, many businesses are currently working in buildings that were built in the 1970s or 1980s. They often have islands of desks scattered through out the office space,” said Lanyon-Hogg. “But we found that 55 percent of the energy going into that building is going into ICT equipment, and a third of that is being wasted. So there is still plenty of scope for people to save money, and this knowledge is there in documents like our whitepaper, for people to use, free of charge.”

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Author: Tom Jowitt
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