When people think of global warming and climate change, they usually think of excess waste, fumes, CFCs (chlorofluorocarbon) and greenhouse gases. Efforts have been made by governments and organisations worldwide to create a more sustainable environment and to lessen the effects of global warming. However, more recently it has come to light that the way in which organisations use information systems may lead to improved sustainability. ‘Green’ information systems is an important and interesting trend in information systems today.
IT departments have been forced to have an input into reducing the organisation’s carbon footprint due to regulations but also due to pressure from environmentally-conscious customers and other stakeholders.
Information systems use a huge amount of energy and it is important that this is measured if they are going to reduce energy consumption. This should be done using carbon footprint calculators or other measures.
One of the most obvious ways of reducing energy consumption is usually overlooked by organisations. Turning off the system when it’s not in use rather than hibernating it will save more energy than people would think.
Enterprise servers use large amounts of energy, particularly when cooling down. Organisations should try to reduce the number of servers in the business, perhaps by using online technology to store workloads and reduce energy consumption. If the organisation is purchasing a new server, they should look for one that incorporates factors of sustainability, such as Energy Star approved products in the US (http://www.energystar.gov/index.cfm?c=home.index).
This trend seems to be increasingly important and may even help the organisation to cut costs. They need to use initiative to find ways to reduce their energy consumption in information systems; even the smallest changes might help!