Green IT: Sustainable IT as a contribution to environmental protection
What exactly is Green IT? However, the fact that information technology has long been an integral part of our working and private lives, and there is no end in sight to this development, means that negative consequences of the digital transformation are also being felt: energy consumption has risen exorbitantly in recent years, and at the same time more and more electronic waste is accumulating.
Green IT or Green Computing is intended to counteract this development. The term refers to the concept of keeping the world’s increasing demand for energy under control through digital devices with a focus on environmentally friendly and energy-efficient solutions. All aspects surrounding information technology rely on resources, materials and energy – and it is precisely these that should be used in an environmentally friendly manner.
A socially highly relevant topic
In particular, climate change and the huge media response to environmental movements such as “Fridays for Future” have brought sustainability in business to the attention of politicians and the public. According to the study “Energy Consumption of Data Centers” from the German Bundestag (source).
the power consumption of data centers will increase by more than 60 percent in the next 8 years – and it is well known that only a small proportion of the energy currently consumed is generated sustainably. Worldwide, information technology is responsible for around 2 to 3 percent of carbon dioxide emissions. The figure is expected to rise to 8 percent by 2025. Although companies could benefit from tax advantages and subsidies, few companies pay attention to sustainable information technology.
5 Measures to Implement Green It in the Company
But what can companies do in concrete terms and what are the benefits? There is no question that sustainable IT is a challenge. First of all, the awareness of environmental protection and the will should be there. As an IT service provider, we offer companies more and more solutions to realize a sustainable IT restructuring step by step.
This already starts with the procurement and purchasing of hardware and software: Here, the ecological footprint can already be reduced in IT purchasing. In order to achieve the environmental goals a company has set for itself, IT purchasing is particularly in demand. Purchasing requires comprehensive transparency regarding the materials used in products, supply routes, energy consumption or life cycles.
The biggest headache is the complexity of the supply chain. Obtaining this information while still negotiating a favorable price often poses major problems for IT buyers – and thus little attention is paid to it. As a hardware and software supplier, we also offer notebooks from the Lenovo ThinkPad E and L series together with our partners (e.g. Lenovo). These notebooks are made from 80-90% recycled materials
2. Automate IT Processes
If regular processes such as backups are automated in the company, they can be scheduled for times when the system has sufficient capacity. This makes optimal use of system resources and prevents devices from being switched on at night, for example. For implementation, IT departments can choose time slots when employees’ servers and PCs are used less – for example, during lunch breaks.
3. Observe IT Life Cycles and Dispose of Them Properly
If older hardware no longer meets the necessary requirements, companies should consider a timely and sustainable replacement. Professional service providers offer professional disposal of old hardware. In this process, valuable raw materials are recycled from the devices and are then used in new devices (e.g. in the Lenovo E and L series). With the right IT lifecycle management software, individual IT workstations in the company can be managed efficiently and replaced with just a few clicks.
4. Virtualize Server Structures
An efficient IT architecture is often missing in many medium-sized and small companies. To save resources here, individual components can be coordinated and server structures virtualized. Here, several individual servers are combined on one powerful server. The individual parts, such as the working memory, CPU, cooling or power supply units, then only need energy once each, which means that the power consumption is noticeable.
5. Outsourcing to the Data Center – Energy Efficiency and Performance Go Hand in Hand
The fact that data centers are energy guzzlers is undeniable. But in fact, many companies are already unconsciously focusing on green IT, namely by outsourcing precisely their IT to the data center. How can this fit together? The gigantic number of physical servers, server rooms, cooling systems, etc. that are still in use at many companies consume more energy combined than if they were all bundled in one data center. Even when companies use cloud applications, a data center is working in the background. For example, complete server systems in the company building used to be required for the Microsoft Office environment – today this is completely eliminated with Office/Microsoft 365.
Economy is unfortunately (still) more important to companies than ecology
Unfortunately, green IT does not yet have the status in companies that one would hope for the sake of the environment. The term Green IT is in fact not limited to hardware and software, but is a holistic concept in the overall strategies of companies. Opportunities to meet the challenges are available. Of course, Green IT requires a change of mindset and a break from habits – but remember: There is no plan(et) B.