As a small business owner, did you know there are several green IT practices you can do to help save on your electric bill? All this technology we use costs us not only to buy and maintain it, but it burns electricity and creates heat. Some of those things run 24x7x365, but others can be turned off when not in use, or at least turned down. Just as you (should) turn off the lights when you leave a room, so can your technology be ‘user-aware’ and save power when not in active use.
The good news is that the newer technology is greener than ever. Even the new networking hardware is energy aware. Check out D-Link’s page for lots of tips, not necessarily on their hardware. When it’s time for a hardware upgrade, think green! There’s good reference material on Vertatique.com for going green in the office.
Here are some specific advantages of eco-friendly IT practices for devices that you might have in your office.
Servers: The ‘iron’ itself runs all the time (except when it’s broken) and Windows servers default to a recommended power saving mode. The monitor turns off, drives spin down and CPU sockets/cores get disabled when not in use. The best way you can save money here is to make sure that the power settings are at Balanced (recommended). Beware, there are some exceptions. If your servers are virtual, then the power savings decisions actually fall on the hypervisor and NOT the VM. Actually, a green IT practice that is best way to save money on your servers (purchase, power and cooling) is to move them to the cloud! While enterprise data centers have their own challenges, a small business would do well to consider moving some operations to the cloud.
PCs: Since Windows machines default to a recommend power saving scheme, you should be OK. You can use Intel Power Management to actually force machines to hibernate (as opposed to sleep) if your infrastructure supports that. Of course, if you can turn your PC off at the end of the day and your IT department doesn’t complain, do that! Many companies do scans, patches and updates at night, so this might not be recommended. For example, our EstesCloud ClientCare machines do that patching and scans on Monday night.
Laptops: Hibernate when you can, and follow the manufacturer’s recommendations for battery life. Often, just closing the lid will force the sleep/hibernate cycle and save juice.
Mobile: We all try to eke out every last minute from our smartphones. I recommend installing a power saving app that will stop background processes, turn off the screen and improve charging characteristics. I use the 360 Security app for this and more features.
Printers: Most printers now go into a power-saving mode, at the cost of a few moments warming back up when you go to print. You might consider replacing occasionally used ink-jet printers with low-cost lasers so the ink doesn’t keep drying out and needing to be replaced!
At home: If you have a remote-enabled device like a TV, DVR, DVD or stereo, it’s drawing power even when it’s “off”. I put my entertainment system on a surge-protector, and when we’re done for the night – I flip the power off on all those power-sucking vampire devices. I also put my Wifi router and cable modem on a light-timer that cycles off every night. This has multiple benefits – I save power when it’s off, my kids can’t easily get online late at night, and those home routers tend to be more stable when restarted on a regular basis. Win-win strategy!
In addition to doing our part to save the planet, another great advantage of eco-friendly IT is that you’ll save a few bucks!