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Many companies are looking at green IT initiatives, but where do you start?

Green IT is taking off as energy supply shrinks, and costs increase. Where to start with a green IT initiative, though? Brainstorm asked the experts.

Green IT PrioritiesPC power management solutions (PCPM) are still the number-one area where organisations should start embracing green IT. This provides the easiest implementation, the greatest ROI and significantly enhances the health of the PC estate through improved patching. This is backed up by a recent Ovum report that reveals that organisations can achieve average power consumption savings of up to 40 percent through the use of PCPM. That equates to annual savings of 380kWh and 376 kilograms of CO2 per PC, saving the organisation around R300 per PC per year. In spite of the cost- and energy-saving potential, however, many IT decision-makers are resisting adoption of PCPM, due to unfounded concerns that the software could interfere with core IT operations.

Tim James, director, Sustainable IT

Reducing energy consumption is a green IT priority. With the cost of electricity rising, and suppliers like Eskom calling for lowered usage, some organisations are taking measures to reduce their energy consumption. Any objective to reduce energy usage cannot be achieved by just measuring the energy usage by a commodity, but must focus on how that commodity is consuming energy.

The detailed energy consumption patterns of individual plant or organisational assets must be analysed to identify when and where most wastage occurs. Without this, there is no way of knowing how much of the energy consumed is being wasted.

Mike Hibbert, GM Middle East & Africa, Infor

Companies should prioritise the development of an enterprise-class business intelligence engine that can flag and eliminate devices with high power consumption and low utilisation. It cannot be understated, however, that energy-saving policies can only be successful if they are measured correctly, ensuring effective implementation and allowing for corrective action if required.

It is therefore imperative to establish verifiable energy consumption measurements across your IT environment in order to discover the baseline energy usage, allowing for the organisation to set clear and attainable goals.

Finally, it is important that the chosen green IT strategy is embedded in the corporate strategy in order to communicate its importance and ensure buy-in across the business.

Charles Hunter, MD, Greendata

There are three key areas that companies should prioritise when it comes to green IT: the recycling and re-use of existing devices, the creation of recyclable and energy-efficient new technologies and software, and the identification of environmental projects, which see technology being used to improve the environment.

It’s all about using IT most effectively, while designing more energy-efficient IT for the future to support a green economy and society.

Vis Naidoo, Citizenship Lead, Microsoft South Africa

Energy consumption must be the priority. Its impact cannot be underestimated with a backdrop of a national power crisis and the reality of blackouts forcing businesses to run generators with huge cost implications. Global IT energy demands are approximately equivalent to those of world aviation and can account for up to 25 percent of a building’s energy costs.

Reducing carbon footprint and operating costs is the fastest route to a greener IT environment. It is also relatively easy as energy utilisation can be monitored and managed, leading to increased operational efficiency and lower consumption. Typically, savings of up to 40 percent can be achieved through improved power management.

Raoul Hunter, business development manager, CA Southern Africa

When considering green IT in 2012, companies need to prioritise the responsible e-waste disposal of their obsolete IT infrastructure. South Africa’s IT services spend is set to exceed R40 billion in 2012. With this exciting industry growth comes the potential escalation of hazardous ewaste.

E-waste refers to unused computer components containing heavy metals such as lead and mercury, which can be harmful to the environment if not disposed of appropriately. Solutions do exist, such as the lifecycle assessment technique called ‘Cradle to Grave’, which assesses the environmental impacts associated with all stages of a product’s life, from raw material extraction through to disposal or recycling.

Dimitri Tserpes, chief technology officer, Mustek

Source: Brainstorm Magazine, March 2012

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