The Bottom Line

The chemical industry lived through a green transition years ago as it sought to reformulate many of its compounds to be more environmentally friendly to use and to discard. Today, few people use oil-based house paint thinned with flammable turpentine. Instead, they use water-based latex. So in a sense, it is now the IT industry's turn to clean up its act.

Green Technologies is about changing the way we do business, so that the company will save money while reducing its impact on the planet's environment. It is not hard to do. Some of the savings are immediate, such as reducing power usage. Some of the savings come later from properly recycling equipment and keeping toxic material out of the air, water, and soil that we all share. The best thing about Green Technologies is that costs are reduced without a corresponding reduction in customer service.

The biggest challenge to overcome is to shift the thinking of IT executives. First, they must look at the three- (or five-) year cost of operation when purchasing new equipment rather than focusing on a cash flow approach, in which available cash is used to purchase the least expensive equipment. This will allow the purchase of energy-efficient equipment and devices that are easier to recycle when no longer needed.

Second, IT executives must understand the legal impact of the disposal of equipment. Equipment that is disposed of improperly may be traced back to a company, thereby diminishing its public image. It may also result in fines from the local environmental enforcement authorities.

Third, organizations need to discover Green Technologies as a competitive weapon. If these actions are taken for your company's benefit, why not tell the world that as a side benefit of your actions, your company is also a "good citizen." An enhanced public image brings its own rewards in improved employee morale and a public belief that the company is a trustworthy business partner.

Green Technologies need not wait until someone powerful in a company takes notice. It can begin at any level of the organization, however small. Individuals can set the power controls on their computer to turn off when idle. They can delete (or move to offline storage) idle files and look for servers and applications to turn off. Sometimes a great idea, a great movement of people, begins with one humble believer. This is your chance to initiate something big! The first step is up to you.

An interesting thing about Green Technologies is that it allows a company to align itself with being environmentally friendly while simply running more efficiently. In effect, implementing Green Technologies saves company money while making it a better neighbor.

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