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Green IT: the need for sustainable technology and its competitive advantages

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What is Green IT?
Green IT: a key issue for society
What objectives are you trying to achieve with Green IT?
Measures to apply Green IT in the company
Practical example: Green IT at IONOS
Environmentally friendly hardware
Cloud storage
Modern computer systems
Work outside the office
Paper free office
Devices in standby mode
Hardware management after its useful life

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Green IT: the need for sustainable technology and its competitive advantages

Information technology has been a part of our lives for a long time. As systems offer higher performance, more and more data can be transmitted in less time. The end of this trend does not seem to be on the horizon and is understandably also related to a negative consequence of the digital transformation : energy consumption has accelerated at a frantic rate in recent years..

The so-called Green IT or Green Computing attempts to compensate for the negative aspect of this development: the term groups together all the strategies that take advantage of technological progress in favor of sustainability. In other words, Green IT is not synonymous with limiting the possibilities of technology, but with using it in a way that protects natural resources.

Index
  1. What is Green IT?
  2. Green IT: a key issue for society
  3. What objectives are you trying to achieve with Green IT?
  4. Measures to apply Green IT in the company
    1. Environmentally friendly hardware
    2. Cloud storage
    3. Modern computer systems
    4. Work outside the office
    5. Paper free office
    6. Devices in standby mode
    7. Hardware management after its useful life
  5. Practical example: Green IT at IONOS

What is Green IT?

Definition

Green IT is a hyperonym that encompasses sustainable technological products and services, as well as strategies to use information and communication technologies taking care of natural and energy resources as much as possible. To this end, measures can be applied at all stages of a product or service, from creation to waste management.

Green IT strategies began to be developed in the 1990s. In 1992, the US Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) created the EnergyStar program, with which the label distinguished energy efficient electronic devices, thus initiating an awareness process . The idea, however, did not catch on with the general public until the 2000s, when the consumption of energy resources increased dramatically with the widespread use of the Internet and personal computers..

Green IT: a key issue for society

Climate change, its increasing presence in the media and the consequent social reaction, as well as, especially in recent months, the Fridays for Future movement (whose Spanish section works under the name of JuventudXClima), have achieved that the objective of a sustainable economy reaches into politics and the general population. The need to reduce the consumption of resources globally so that future generations can live on this planet is no longer questioned. Consequently, since information technology is one of the most energy-intensive, it becomes the focus of many efforts in this regard.

According to a study by Lancaster University, the use of the Internet could consume 20% of the world's electricity production by 2030. The use of electronic devices thus becomes part of the environmental focus, especially considering the small proportion that renewable energies represent in current energy production..

Information technology is responsible for between 2% and 3% of carbon dioxide emissions, which are the main cause of climate change. A 2019 study from the think tank The Shift Project, called Lean ICT? Towards digital sobriety , predicts, based on current values, that emissions from the digital economy could represent 8% of all CO 2 emissions by 2025. If so, the IT sector would be damaging the environment more than cars and motorcycles.

Taking into account that digitization continues to advance at high speed, there is a high probability that the emissions it causes will grow in the same way. To prevent this increase from seriously damaging the planet, companies and consumers must use electronic applications and devices that are produced and work in the most efficient way possible, both in terms of energy and raw materials.

What objectives are you trying to achieve with Green IT?

There are numerous alternatives to make the production, use and waste management of digital devices more efficient . Both producers and consumers can contribute to the implementation of all aspects of Green IT, including, among others, the following objectives:

  • Reduction of resource and energy consumption in hardware production
  • Production under decent and fair working conditions
  • Hardware lifespan extension
  • Development of software that consumes fewer resources in the process
  • Reduction of energy consumption in the use of IT
  • Energy-saving ways of recycling and waste management
  • Avoid unnecessary printing on paper
  • Using digital solutions to reduce emissions from other products

Measures to apply Green IT in the company

For companies, switching to Green IT can provide a competitive advantage . With the constant increase in the price of fuels and energy, the costs of production and use of hardware and software also increase, so that many business sectors are interested precisely in computer systems that use resources in a sustainable way. This type of technology also favors economic growth and ensures jobs.

The company can capitalize on its efforts through green marketing, thus making it known to customers and business partners that it is committed to sustainability and improving the company's image to the public .

However, many companies lack the right strategic approach to implement Green IT technologies. In order not to lose track, the different measures must be directed and coordinated by a specific manager, since the Green IT concept can be put into practice in countless ways.

Environmentally friendly hardware

The purchasing manager is usually the one who decides what hardware should be used in the company, so they should receive specific guidelines to give preference to brands and sustainable certificates. Hardware that lasts longer will also be more sustainable.

Cloud storage

Storing data in certified computing centers in the cloud consumes much less resources than doing it on internal company servers. Cloud storage also offers advantages over internal servers in many areas.

Modern computer systems

Although storage in off-site computer centers is not always suitable for all areas of the business, resources can be saved through virtualization and centralization of IT services. This simplification and modernization of company systems is what makes Green Computing possible.

Work outside the office

If employees can take laptops home and work from there, or even participate in videoconferencing meetings, it will not make more sustainable use of the technology itself, but the company will do the environment a favor by avoiding travel.

Paper free office

In day-to-day business, one of the easiest options for using technology for sustainability is to avoid printing on paper. Moving consistently to paperless digital management is also a way to save costs on printers, cartridges and paper.

Devices in standby mode

The standby or stand-by mode, which in many devices is activated by default, is key to saving energy on a daily basis. Employees should also be able to easily turn off appliances before going home, an action that also makes a difference in terms of energy savings.

Hardware management after its useful life

Computers, printers and cartridges that are no longer used should be taken to collection centers that handle this type of waste and make it possible for materials and parts to be reused.

Practical example: Green IT at IONOS

At IONOS, the environment and sustainability are central to business strategy, which is reflected in all areas of the company.

Since December 2017, IONOS has been a leader in the hosting industry powered exclusively by renewable sources . Our global data centers are powered by renewable energy, either directly, through the same sources, or through emission allowances, when direct supply is not possible. In addition, by recycling used devices , we and other United Internet AG companies were able to avoid the emission of 143.4 tons of CO? in 2018.

To reduce the energy consumption of computer centers, we have also developed an intelligent computing infrastructure that achieves optimal efficiency and avoids energy losses.

Naturally, IONOS energy management is certified according to the ISO 50001 standard and is regularly reviewed by external specialists.


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