How to use green IT without breaking the bank

The good and the bad behind going green

"Since we all moved to e-mail, we're printing more than ever before," said Foulds. "Don't print unless you need to." It's best to use paper that's 100 per cent post-consumer recycled, made white without chlorine processing -- which will cost the same or slightly more than regular paper. Another option is FSC (Forest Stewardship Council) certified paper -- trees are still cut down, but it's done in a more sustainable way.

Employers can encourage workers to use public transit or car pools, and to use as many reusable supplies as possible, said Foulds. Have a kitchenette stocked with reusable dishes or containers, for example, so if employees are going out for takeaway, they can bring those containers with them. Provide coffee mugs and start an informal ban on disposable coffee cups.

"Your employees are probably looking for ways to be greener at work," she said. "It's another reason why people will want to work for your company."

If you're working out of a home office environment, there are federal and provincial programs for upgrading to energy-efficient appliances. While it's more common in the U.S. at this point, some utility companies offer grants and incentives to go green.

But organizations don't have to overhaul everything overnight. "If you start now, it will become a habit for IT to think about the environment when they're implementing various solutions," says Hay.

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Vawn Himmelsbach

ITBusiness.ca
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