Information technology is all about making sure that the technology in any given workplace is running as smoothly, efficiently and invisibly as possible. Want to know if the IT department in your office is doing it’s job? Ask a random employee what they think. If they respond, “What IT department?” then you know you’re dealing with top of the line professionals. The role of IT has expanded in the past decade as companies (and entire industries) look for ways to decrease their carbon footprint. Not only does this make good financial sense, but green computing also helps make offices run more efficiently, with less wasted resources and fewer redundancies. Here are just a few ways that green IT is helping the environment and making your business better.
The common misconception about cities is that they are worse polluters than other regions of the country. Sure, cities create a higher overall amount of pollution, but the amount of resources used per person is actually much lower than the suburbs or out in the county. It’s simply more efficient to power and heat an apartment than a row of single-family houses–to say nothing of the real estate saved by stacking people on top of one another. Cloud computing works from this same basic idea. By storing all of your company’s data in a centralized location you remove the need for every computer in the office to store a separate copy. Sure, the amount of energy required to store, access and read a file is very small, but when you multiply this by millions of files a day, the watts start to add up. Cloud services like Mozy use customized, highly efficient systems for storing data and are very quickly making every work computer’s hard drive irrelevant.
Combine the advantages of cloud computing with the proliferation of smartphones and tablets and yet another feature of green IT reveals itself: a low demand for paper. From an environmental standpoint, paper is an extremely inefficient way to view and share information. Not only does it require an abundance of natural resources to create, it’s also extremely fragile and extremely easy to misplace, which means you always need more and more paper. This is to say nothing about everybody’s favorite office device, the copier, which eats electricity, ink and paper with little regard for the environment. The cloud-based office is quickly making paper and copiers irrelevant. Tablets and laptops provide instant access to information, and accidentally spilling coffee on one doesn’t mean that your important information is gone forever. By saving your work in one easy to access place, the cloud saves a few trees in the process.
With each new generation of computers, the hardware inside is able to accomplish common computing tasks with much less energy. The solid state hard drive was just the latest in a line of advancements that improved the overall efficiency of nearly every computing device. Old hard drives had an actual spinning disk that consumed a ton of energy and became less stable over time. Solid state drives don’t have either of those problems. They are smaller, lighter and consume far less energy than their older siblings. They’re also less injury prone–so you don’t have to keep trading your laptop in every time someone bumps into your desk. Processors also keep advancing, growing faster and more efficient every year.