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- Improving the Sustainability of Your IT
- Appoint an IT sustainability leader
- Conduct an IT audit
- Use IT products longer
- Invest in energy-efficient hardware
- Allow remote work
- Share equipment
- Follow data center best practices
- Store data responsibly
- Monitor your IT operations
- Evaluate IT sustainability efforts
- The bottom line
Reading time: ~4 minutes
Sustainability is becoming more popular across the world. In fact, a recent study revealed that more than a third of global consumers are willing to pay more for sustainable products and services.
As a business owner, you need to take sustainability seriously, and your IT department plays a huge role. The more data you collect and store, the more energy you’ll need to run servers and data centers. So you need to try to make your IT as energy-efficient as possible.
Improving the Sustainability of Your IT
But it isn’t easy. IT equipment is inherently energy costly. For example, servers and related equipment generate a lot of heat, so you need to have extra cooling devices to keep them from overheating. All of this requires electricity.
Of course, many IT energy costs are unavoidable. But that doesn’t mean you can’t significantly reduce your IT department’s carbon footprint. It’s all about finding the right balance between sustainable practices and keeping your business profitable.
So without further ado, here are ten steps to improving the sustainability of your IT department:
Appoint an IT sustainability leader
The first step is to appoint an IT sustainability leader. This doesn’t necessarily have to be an existing IT staff member (in fact, it might help to have someone outside the IT department who has a more objective perspective).
An IT sustainability leader takes the lead in setting sustainability goals and communicating them to executives and managers. They are the ones who develop an IT sustainability strategy and measure the company’s progress along the way.
Making someone responsible for leading the cause is important.
Conduct an IT audit
Next, conduct an IT audit to identify underutilized data center equipment. Then get rid of what you aren’t using or see how you can use it more efficiently.
Other benefits of regular IT audits, according to Park Place Technologies, include enhanced data security, reduced IT costs, software compliance, and more.
Use IT products longer
The longer you use IT products, the more value you get out of them. After all, 80% of most IT equipment’s greenhouse emissions occur during the manufacturing phase.
To lengthen your equipment’s lifetime, try to repair or refurbish it when needed. You don’t want to buy new equipment if you don’t need to. That’s how you get the best overall value from your IT assets.
Invest in energy-efficient hardware
When you do invest in IT hardware, you want it to be energy-efficient. For example, you could get smart power strips that cut down on how much energy electronic devices consume.
Use your purchasing power to get the best equipment. State-of-the-art IT infrastructure will always be better than legacy systems. Just make sure you don’t buy what you won’t use.
Allow remote work
Another way to reduce your IT energy cost is to virtualize your data teams and other departments. That means allowing remote work.
This will save you on office space costs like utilities, desks, computers, and so on. And it will also allow employees to reduce their carbon footprint by cutting out their commute (not to mention help them save on gas). It’s a win-win.
Though it’s an often overlooked practice, share equipment. Not every employee needs their own printer or even computer in many cases. Have IT staff on different shifts rotate using the same desktop computers with different sign-in logins.
Sharing equipment is a little harder to do at home (for those working remotely), but to the extent that IT team members can share devices, they should.
Follow data center best practices
Your IT data center is what is most energy costly. So it’s essential that you adopt best practices for a sustainable data center. This can include all of the following:
- Using outside air cooling or liquid cooling
- Not overcooling
- Investing in energy-efficient technology like SF6-Free switchgear
- Rightsizing physical IT infrastructure equipment
- Minimizing bypass airflow with blanking panels, raised floor grommets, or efficiency hoods
- Separating aisles based on hot and cold temperatures
- Unplugging any servers that aren’t being used
- Using renewable energy like energy from solar panels, wind turbines, and hydroelectric plants
That’s not an exhaustive list, but it’s a good place to start. The more energy-efficient you can make your data center, the better.
Store data responsibly
Since data centers use a lot of energy, you also want to make sure you are storing data responsibly. That means only saving what is necessary and not outsourcing to data centers powered by fossil fuels. Keep strict standards about only using data centers that share your sustainability goals.
Monitor your IT operations
Once you’ve put into place all of the IT sustainability tips offered so far, it’s time to monitor your IT operations. Analyze your operational data to detect any energy wasters. Don’t install or use more IT infrastructure than necessary for your business.
Also, check your IT supply chain. Who are you partnering with and do other vendors support sustainable practices as you do? These are important questions to address if you want to maximize the sustainability of your IT department.
Evaluate IT sustainability efforts
Lastly, it’s important to look at the big picture and regularly evaluate your IT sustainability efforts. What’s working and what’s not? Make adjustments where needed and never settle for mediocre performance. Always strive to make your IT operations more energy efficient.
The bottom line
These days, having sustainable IT operations is a business imperative. You can’t afford to ignore IT energy efficiency in the long run. If you do, your competitors will end up pushing you out of the market and you risk going under.
So commit to making your IT department more sustainable today. If you do, your business will be able to scale faster and last far into the future. That’s true whether you are a big software company, a local ma and pa shop, or any other kind of business. Make IT sustainability a priority and you won’t regret it.
Thank you for reading!