How to use green IT without breaking the bank

The good and the bad behind going green

Most small businesses want to be environmentally conscious -- but probably aren't keen on investing in a lot of expensive upgrades. But going green doesn't have to break the bank, and in the long run it could end up saving money.

For smaller businesses that want to go green, there's good news and bad news. The bad news is that a lot of green technology requires scale, said Aaron Hay, research consultant with Info-Tech Research.

A classic example is virtualization. If you have four servers and move them onto one virtualized server, you're going to save on power consumption and the environmental footprint of those four servers. But, obviously, a much larger business with hundreds of servers would make more of an environmental impact.

The good news is that the state of green IT is now such that a small business can grow in a sustainable way, which is something that up until the past two or three years has simply not been possible. "If they don't have a data center, they can build one that's energy-efficient, that has dedicated cooling and ventilation and maximizes the square footage and employs virtualization and logical storage techniques," said Hay. "There is an opportunity for small businesses to go ahead and do these things the right way."

Fortune 500 companies, on the other hand, have such a large installed base of computing infrastructure that it's going to take them decades to switch over to a greener IT environment.

There are also environmentally sensitive actions that small businesses can take without worrying about scale, such as recycling old computer equipment. Another way is to manage their printer fleet, such as removing the color cartridges in their photocopiers so they can only be used when absolutely necessary. And they can convert to a paperless office by rolling out some solid communications policies.

While small business owners are often concerned with up-front costs, spending an extra five or 10 percent up front could actually save you over the life of a technology, said Hay.

Rather than looking at just the up-front costs, figure out the cost of maintenance and supplies for the piece of equipment you're buying. "The lifecycle costing model may show you that an environmentally preferable purchase is of similar cost to something that's just a lowest-cost option," he said.

Recommended

Keep up with the latest tech news, reviews and previews by subscribing to the Good Gear Guide newsletter.

Vawn Himmelsbach

ITBusiness.ca

Comments

Comments are now closed.

Most Popular Reviews

Follow Us

Best Deals on GoodGearGuide

Shopping.com

Latest News Articles

Resources

GGG Evaluation Team

Kathy Cassidy

STYLISTIC Q702

First impression on unpacking the Q702 test unit was the solid feel and clean, minimalist styling.

Anthony Grifoni

STYLISTIC Q572

For work use, Microsoft Word and Excel programs pre-installed on the device are adequate for preparing short documents.

Steph Mundell

LIFEBOOK UH574

The Fujitsu LifeBook UH574 allowed for great mobility without being obnoxiously heavy or clunky. Its twelve hours of battery life did not disappoint.

Andrew Mitsi

STYLISTIC Q702

The screen was particularly good. It is bright and visible from most angles, however heat is an issue, particularly around the Windows button on the front, and on the back where the battery housing is located.

Simon Harriott

STYLISTIC Q702

My first impression after unboxing the Q702 is that it is a nice looking unit. Styling is somewhat minimalist but very effective. The tablet part, once detached, has a nice weight, and no buttons or switches are located in awkward or intrusive positions.

Latest Jobs

Don’t have an account? Sign up here

Don't have an account? Sign up now

Forgot password?