Develop a Green IT Policy

From multinational corporations to small businesses, everyone seems to be taking steps to operate more efficiently and reduce energy consumption. While the positive effect on the environment is unmistakable, many companies are finding another benefit to going green—it’s helping them save money. From simple actions you can start doing today to more strategic long-term planning, these tips will help you develop a green IT policy that, over time, will yield positive returns for the environment and generate green on your bottom line:

1. Manage power settings. One of the easiest ways to save energy is to configure your computer to reduce its power consumption. By setting your computer to enter sleep/standby mode or to shut down the hard drive or monitor after a certain period of inactivity, you can cut power usage by more than 90%. Another practice is to have employees turn their computers fully off at the end of each day, or at least before the weekend.

2. Consider telecommuting. It’s been estimated that if the 40% of Americans whose jobs could be done remotely actually did work from home, 625 million barrels of oil a year would be saved—or around $43 billion in gas costs. Reduced travel costs aren’t the only benefit of telecommuting. For businesses, studies show that not only will you see higher employee satisfaction, but you’ll also notice a reduction in overhead office costs.

3. Get smarter about printing and faxing. How many times have you printed an online article only to find that an extra page with a couple lines of text printed as well? The printer is one of the largest sources of waste in an office, but there are tools you can use to cut down on the use of paper and toner. GreenPrint is an application that analyzes documents sent to a printer and identifies waste. It will recommend which pages should be printed, which shouldn’t, and different ways to condense print jobs. In addition to using an application like GreenPrint, consider saving a document as a .pdf file and e-mailing it instead of printing or faxing.

These are just a few of the many actions you can take to make your IT more green. Obviously, the more steps you take, the greater the return to your small business. But even if you follow just one of the above steps, you’ll make a noticeable difference in the long run.

Jim Lippie Vice-President, Sales and Service Staples Technology Solutions Concord, Mass.

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