InformationWeek has a post about Green IT, and adds an interesting nugget.
Green is't just an emerging trend anymore. Companies such as Coca-Cola Enterprises, Ford, Nestlé, Procter & Gamble, and the U.S. Postal Service all have VPs of sustainability. It's the kind of issue a CEO just might bring up with the CIO. That, along with energy costs punching holes in profits, makes this a fight the IT team can't sit out.
The article continues with 10 tips on Green IT. Below are the top 3
1. Look Beyond The Data Center
Too many PCs are left on too long, a problem that IT can combat with both technology changes and awareness campaigns. Regardless of the approach, now's the right time to push efforts that reach beyond the IT department, since employees are likely to be receptive to such changes. "There's a cool factor about it, and we want to take advantage of that now," says David Buckholtz, VP of enterprise architecture and planning at Sony Pictures Entertainment, which has been laying plans for a broad green IT effort.
More companies are looking at active power management software. Miami-Dade County Public Schools has cut the amount of time PCs are on by more than half, from 21 hours to 10.3 hours daily, estimating it will save about $2 million on energy annually by deploying active PC management from BigFix to centrally control power settings. Graeme Scott, CEO of power management software company Living Life Green, estimates that's typical--that PCs stay on more than double the amount of time they need to. Energy companies in the United Kingdom and in California even subsidize power management software in some cases. And Coca-Cola Enterprises is actively managing printer power settings.
Companies choosing software as a service do it for the cost savings. But it also can be seen as a green investment. Companies such as Microsoft and Google are spending billions of dollars building new data centers, often directly near their power sources, and along the way investing heavily in new technology and processes to make them more energy efficient than most companies could run. Microsoft's San Antonio data center, for example, has sensors measuring nearly all power consumption, uses internally developed power management software called Scry, has mass-scale virtualization, and recycles the water used in cooling. SaaS is "one of the greenest things people could do," GreenM3 consultant and founder Dave Ohara says.
Cutting travel is another way companies are going green. Monsanto CIO Mark Showers notes the company's telecommuting and work-from-home programs have grown in popularity over the past year as gas prices have risen. Harrah's Entertainment and Wachovia are among companies that have invested in telepresence, partly to cut travel costs.
2. Culture Is The Biggest Barrier To Green
No one is opposed to saving the planet in concept, but going green can be full of resistance. "It can be in some ways a politically charged endeavor," says Rich Siedzik, Bryant University's director of computer and telecom services. At Bryant, employees worried that the efficiency gains would lead to job cuts. Yet culture can work for the good, too, when something works. With the successful rollout of its new data center, Bryant is now discussing broader green initiatives, such as buying electric vehicles for maintenance staff.
Companies need to take head-on the areas where people's "self-optimizing behavior" conflicts with green goals, says GreenM3's Ohara, who blogs at www.greenm3.com. "Security guys don't give a damn about energy efficiencies, but the way they run the firewall or whatever, that can be massively inefficient," he says. "Nobody ever talks about the trade-offs."
Though companies often set default PC power management settings, Living Life Green says that 70% of employees will turn the settings off. PC power management software from BigFix, Living Life Green, Verdiem, and others can lock settings in and automatically power up just before employees get to their desks in the morning.
Or, with a major awareness campaign, companies might be able to get some of those gains without a technology change. Coca-Cola has done simple things like encouraging employees to print on both sides of paper and cut duplicate printing as a way to push employees to be more green. Sony Pictures has long had a screen-saver setting on PCs, but it's starting a campaign to get people to turn off their screens if they're going to be away. That will piggyback on a larger company effort to turn off the lights. The IT team will start by working with the most influential PC users: administrative assistants. "We're going to target the admins for our on-the-ground support," Buckholtz says.
3. Share The Data--And Perhaps The Pain
Microsoft is trying is trying a new way to keep energy costs low: charging business units by the amount of power they use in the data center, rather than the space they take up on the floor. That's forcing developers writing in-house and SaaS apps to think about how much power their apps will use even as they code them.
Microsoft's data center chargeback model is really about using carrots and sticks to force cultural change. Developers are paying attention to which of two data query methods might save a watt of energy, and choosing that method even if it might make the process slower by a nanosecond or two. Business units are driving efficiency in the selection of the hardware they'd like to see and making the right choices in the amount of hard drives. "You have to [encourage] the behaviors, that's really the bottom line," says Christian Belady, Microsoft's principal power and cooling architect.
But that might not be the right fit for everyone, depending on whether the gains from doling out energy costs are big enough to merit line-of-business managers spending time on it. An interim step might be just sharing that information, publicizing any progress the companies' green efforts deliver.
Here are the remainder tips.
4. Recycle More
5. Don't Forget To Measure ...
6. But Don't Expect Perfect Data
7. Alternative Energy Isn't Cheap
8. Buddy Up To Facilities
9. Consider Water Use, Not Just Power
10. Challenge Conventional Wisdom