If you’re company has been flirting with the idea of becoming more sustainable, there are many ways technology can help you go green, some of which are obvious. Solar panels, one of the cleanest sources of energy available, has become much more affordable in recent years, so much so that individual homeowners can invest in solar panels to generate electricity right at home.
The same is true for businesses. Companies that apply solar panels to their facilities can save large amounts of money on their electric bills. If enough companies use solar panels, it could have a big impact on the environment.
But technology offers other ways for protecting the environment. New avenues for recycling and energy conservation are opening up year after year.
New technologies are becoming obsolete faster than ever, and while investing in new technology can cost, it’s often necessary if you want to keep up with your competitors and move your company forward. Inevitably, we generate millions of tons of waste each year stemming from electronic equipment. According the The Balance, the United States generated 11.7 million tons of e-waste in 2014, and in 2012 only about 1 million tons of the 3.4 million tons of e-waste generated was recycled.
As more recent statistics are still being calculated, it’s safe to assume they won’t paint a brighter picture.
Thankfully, there are steps your company can take to recycle your hardware more effectively and make a dent in those numbers. Some hardware can be sent back to the manufacturer or to your technology partners to be refurbished, reused, broken down for spare parts, or recycled. For example, LIVE Consulting offers hardware recycling to all our clients, making it easy for them to do the right thing and cut down on the e-waste they produce.
Dell also has its own recycling program, called Asset Resale & Recycling. Dell users can retire excess hardware in an environmentally responsible way, while also meeting local regulatory guidelines and protecting sensitive data. Since data security is a key concern among companies when it comes to hardware recycling, more programs like Dell’s could have a huge impact on the amount of electronic waste entering our landfills.
Many waste management companies also offer recycling programs for electronics, and some electronics retailers will let you recycle electronics at their stores (usually for a fee). Check with your local waste management provider to see if you have options. If you’re a large company, you may be able to form a partnership with a recycling company.
Environmentally-Friendly Energy Sources
As more and more environmentally-friendly energy sources are being connected to the grid, power customers are being given more options to choose greener energy. If you lease your space, you may have the option to choose green energy sources from your current power provider. This may affect your budget, but sustainable energy solutions are becoming more affordable every year.
If you own your office or data center, there are other ways you can choose green energy, such as generating it on-site. Installing solar panels on the roof of your building is always an option for generating your own power. If you have the land available and the permits, you could even install a small wind turbine or two.
There are other ways to limit your energy usage, such as:
- Using greener appliances and Energy Star products
- Using green cloud services
- Reducing printing dependance and paper usage
- Switching to LED lights
The less energy you use and the larger the share of energy you draw from renewable sources, the better.
Alternatives for Server Room Cooling
If you maintain your own server room, you already know that keeping it cool requires a lot of energy. First, you should follow typical server room cooling best practices, like monitoring environmental conditions and managing space and airflow properly. But there are other, more innovative ways you can conserve energy and keep your server room cool.
For example, you can install an air-side economizer to bring outside air into your server room and direct your exhaust air outside instead of re-circulating it. This saves energy, as less energy must be cooled by the system.
You can also use an overhead power distribution system. Traditional raised-floor power distributions systems can restrict vital air flow and lead to hotspots in the server room. Using a clean, organized power busway system suspended from the ceiling will make power distribution simpler and lower cooling costs.
Starting a Green Initiative
There other ways for your company to go green. Some methods involve technology, but others simply require a concerted effort by your staff. Using more environmentally-friendly office products, replacing outdated hardware, or obtaining an energy audit are all great steps towards making your company more sustainable.
Nonetheless, the best way to truly go green is to make sustainability a part of your company culture. Try to create efficiency goals for your office or offices, measure your energy savings, and provide incentives to your employees to make more sustainable decisions.