Saving Money while Saving the Environment


Please note: The 10 Things You Can Do Today to Green Your IT Operations and the On-line Resources do not constitute an endorsement by the NYS Forum or its members. All users are encouraged to verify the information independently and should check with equipment manufacturers to ensure that proper equipment standards are met. This information is being provided for informational purposes only.

Little Known Facts

The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency, in its report to Congress, estimates that data centers used 61 billion kilowatt-hours in 2006 - that's 1.5 percent of all power consumed in the United States at a cost of $4.5 billion.

The operation of information and communications technologies accounts for roughly two percent of global carbon dioxide (CO2) emissions, including PCs, servers, cooling, fixed and mobile telephony, LAN, WAN, printers, UPS, and storage. (Gartner)

10 Things You Can Do Today to Green Your IT Operations

  1. Replace CRT with LCD flat screens.

    According to ENERGY STAR, the energy-consumption of an average LCD display is far less of that for an average CRT. A 20" CRT can use as much as 150 watts of power while a 20" LCD will typically use only 30 watts.

  2. Activate sleep features across entire networks of computers.

    Tools to implement this include free solutions that utilize open source software and/or tools that you may already have at your disposal. According to ENERGY STAR, you can save up to $75 a year in power by implementing simple power management features. ENERGY STAR Power Management features are standard in Windows and Macintosh operating systems. Lock those settings in place, so that users cannot change them.

  3. When you're done with your monitor, turn it off.

    Although leaving it to enter sleep mode or turn black by itself uses a lot less energy than full-power mode, it still draws anywhere from one to five watts of power (and on some devices, it may draw much more).

  4. Recycle - make it a part of your procurements for new equipment.

    The Institute for Local Self-Reliance estimates that 75 percent of obsolete electronics are currently being stored. Storage is a short-term solution that will one day result in a massive disposal issue for the country and the world.

  5. Minimize the use of external power adapters.

    External power adapters, also known as power supplies, are crucial to the operation of virtually all small electronic devices. Plug them in only when necessary. As many as 1.5 billion are in use in the U.S. - that's about five for every person. The total electricity flowing through all types of power supplies is about 207 billion kWh/year. 207 billion kWh/year = $17 billion a year, or six percent of the national electric bill.

  6. Baseline your IT energy consumption and continue to monitor it on a regular basis.

    Base lining allows you to compare savings year over year. This site can help you estimate your IT energy budget. (External Link)

  7. Measure your energy consumption.

    With a simple power meter, you can calculate the electrical expense of a device by the day, week, month, or even an entire year. These devices are under $30 and can be used in evaluating and base lining equipment.

  8. Improve your printing processes.
    • Replace individual desktop printers with small group or department printers.
    • Add this statement to the bottom of each email message: "Save Paper - Think before you print."
    • Make double sided printing the default on every printer or multi-function device.
    • Use recycled paper where possible (it is getting better now - less fraying into the printing/copying device).
    • Recycle the waste paper that you produce.
  9. Review the data center floor design.

    Check hot-aisle and cold-aisle configurations, as well as proper placement of vented tiles.

  10. Turn the thermostat in your datacenter up.

    ASHRAE (American Society of Heating, Refrigeration and Air-Conditioning Engineers) recommends 77 degrees. Note: It is advisable to check with your equipment manufacturers prior to making thermostat adjustments.

On-Line Resources (External Link)
The Green Grid is a global consortium dedicated to advancing energy efficiency in data centers and business computing ecosystems. (External Link)
A Guide to Environmentally Preferable Computer Purchasing, a report from the Northwest Product Stewardship Council, a group of government organizations that works with businesses and nonprofit groups to integrate product stewardship principles into the policy and economic structures of the Pacific Northwest. (External Link)
A Guide to Greener Electronics, as ranked by Greenpeace, this Guide ranks leading mobile phone, game console, TV and PC manufacturers on their global policies and practice on eliminating harmful chemicals and on taking responsibility for their products once they are discarded by consumers. (External Link)
The US EPA (Environmental Protection Agency) Environmentally Preferable Purchasing (EPP) program. EPP helps the federal government "buy green," and in doing so, uses the federal government's enormous buying power to stimulate market demand for green products and services. Geared first to help federal purchasers, this site can help green vendors, businesses large and small - and consumers. (External Link)
ENERGY STAR Power Management features are standard in Windows and Macintosh operating systems and place monitors and computers (CPU, hard drive, etc.) into a low-power "sleep-mode" after a period of inactivity. (External Link)
The Energy Cost Calculators at the US Department of Energy's web site allow users to enter their own input values (e.g., utility rates, hours of use, etc.) to estimate the energy cost savings from buying a more efficient product. (External Link)
The Electronics Environmental Benefits Calculator, from The Center for Clean Products and Clean Technologies, is intended to assist institutional purchasers, including Federal Electronic Challenge (FEC) program participants, in qualifying the benefits of environmentally sound management of electronic equipment. (External Link)
The Federal Government (FEC) is in the act. The FEC program promotes initiatives to encourage the Federal Government to:

  • Purchase greener electronic products.
  • Reduce impacts of electronic products during use.
  • Manage obsolete electronics in an environmentally safe way. (External Link)
NYSERDA's focus includes promoting and funding of energy-efficiency programs, research and development initiatives, low-income energy programs, and environmental disclosure activities. (External Link)
June 24, 2007, Announcement creating New York's Renewable Energy Task Force, Increasing Renewable Energy Generation Promoting Energy Conservation. (External Link)
August 28, 2007, Announcement of Green Building Initiatives. (External Link)
April 19, 2007, "15 by 15" A Clean Energy Strategy for New York. (External Link)
A source for inexpensive power meters, P3 International strives to develop products that are easy to use and ahead of their time. (External Link)
Simply Green - A Few Steps in the Right Direction Toward Integrating Sustainability into Public Sector IT, A Green Paper from the Center for Digital Government, a national research and advisory institute on information technology policies and best practices in state and local government. (External Link)
Visit IT Business Edge for white papers on Green IT. The IT Business Edge editorial staff is dedicated to simplifying the technology decision maker's workday by providing in-depth reports that cover the most important trends in a variety of business technology topics. (External Link)
Eighty percent of users disable their computers' power management features within 90 days. This site offers a free kit to enforce power settings.