Cisco Blogs

Greening your small business IT

June 28, 2010 - 1 Comment

I recently lived in a great apartment, I liked almost everything about it–the location, the space, the view–but it was built almost 30 years ago. As you can imagine, a building from the 1980’s isn’t as energy efficient as you might hope for these days.

Although everything generally worked fine, I wasn’t thrilled with the environmental “friendliness” of the place and my utilities bills were quite steep. I decided to approach the owner of the building about investing in greener window panes and more energy efficient appliances. He dismissed the idea, and I am happy to report that, for a wide array of reasons, I now live in a new apartment, that better satisfies my environmental standards.

I imagine a lot of you wrestle with a similar decision when it comes to your small business IT. Do you spend money now replacing reliable equipment with more energy-efficient products in an effort to save money and be more “green?”

Before you make any decisions, you need a strategy. If you’re interested in making your business’ technology more friendly to the environment, you should get together with the key players in your company and create a plan of action that everyone can agree on.

Sometimes starting small is best. For your business, a small step might mean starting with the easy stuff that doesn’t cost anything, such as power management. For example, you can set up employees’ laptops to skip the screensaver and instead enter sleep mode after a certain period of non-use.

From there, depending on your budget, you can start replacing your employees desktop PCs with laptops, which can save a considerable amount of energy. The average desktop PC consumes 60-250 watts while a laptop consumes just 15-45 watts.

Another way to achieve green IT is with desktop virtualization. Thin client workstations cost much less to setup and maintain, and use less power. Setting up virtualized servers can also reap additional power and cost savings for your company.

What’s your green strategy? Has your company decided to replace old equipment with more energy-efficient models as they near the end of their life cycle? Or have you decided to pursue a more aggressive sustainability program by replacing equipment sooner or adopting alternative technologies like virtualization?

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