Undoubtedly, IT Industry has brought about a tremendous success for the emerging economy and has been one of the topmost contributors to the GDP of our country. The software industry is the main component of the Information technology in India. There are more than 500 software firms in the country which shows the monumental advancement that the Indian Software Industry has experienced. BUT has anyone ever wondered, to what extent do these IT companies contribute towards the global cause of conserving energy to address environmental issues and particularly the problem of global warming which are a growing concern for the global society. It is definitely a responsibility of every individual present on this planet but an even greater responsibility lies upon the shoulders of such profit making corporate giants to take initiatives in this area of concern. Many of the well known companies like TCS, Wipro, Dell and etc. have taken initiatives in this aspect and have included and implemented green policy as a social responsibility. They have also realized in the process that it has proved to be a value addition to their organization which helps in increasing efficiency as well as reducing operational cost to a big extent. With rising energy costs, squeezing profits and threat to global warming that can cause unrealizable and irreparable damage to our planet, the value of implementing techniques adhering to “Green – Technology” to reduce Carbon footprints and minimize waste has been recognized. It becomes very important that such organizations understand the need to be socially responsible and implement the “green techniques” in their business processes and operational activities. In the IT field, the proportion of electric power consumed by IT continues to grow due to the widespread use of IT equipments and the increased demand for data centres. As a result, the development of energy-saving infrastructure has become an urgent priority. There are also high expectations that new applications of IT can help reduce society’s overall environmental burden, and consequently interest in “green technology” is expected to intensify. So what are the basic measures or techniques or measures which need to be induced by an organization to make an impact towards this global and extremely crucial cause? These simple solutions are designed not only to save money but also to address environmental concerns effectively and inexpensively:-
KNOW YOUR CURRENT POSITION AND CHALK OUT A GREEN PLAN
• The first step to begin a sustainable IT program is to determine your current footprint. Only by understanding your present patterns of energy usage and waste creation can you set meaningful goals for improvement. Often, organizational structures and legacy systems make it hard to get an accurate picture of where you are, but keeping a track of your current and previous state will help the Organizations keep an account of the efforts put in and having a proper metrics for calculating the efforts will show the exact output or results accurately.
EFFICIENT POWER SUPPLIES & POWER MANAGEMENT TECHNIQUES
• Efficient power supplies and power management can reduce in-use desktop power consumption by 60-70%. Also, encouraging the usage of IT equipment with environmentally friendly features such as compact design and energy efficiency, and IT solutions intended to lessen equipment users’ environmental burden. As per the conclusions obtained from a study done by “Lenovo Corporation” , it is found that:
Many existing PC infrastructures are not provisioned with energy conserving hardware.
Choosing 80% efficient power supplies and integrated graphics capabilities are the easiest power conserving choices that have little effect on the average user’s computing experience.
Power management can result in 69% less power consumption per PC using identical hardware while still providing a reasonable computing resource for the end user.
Enforcing newly applied power parameters is necessary in a successful power savings strategy.
• New technologies can reduce power consumption in data centres and required floor space as well. But achieving these results requires integrated planning among IT, Facilities Management, and Real Estate.
REDUCTION IN THE PAPER USAGE
• Double-sided printing can reduce paper consumption to a great extent. A paperless process can speed access to records and reduce costs and environmental impacts for long-term records storage.
One good example is “Bank of America”. According to their corporate website, they have reduced their paper use/consumption to a drastic level. We offer customers a range of options for “e-delivery.” Through Online Banking and Bill Pay, e-statements, deposit image ATMs and other products, the bank is working with customers to significantly reduce overall paper consumption. E-delivery reduces paper usage, cuts cost to the bank and provides customers more ways to protect their privacy. In April 2010, BOA reported a 38 percent increase in the number of paper account-related communications suppressed through digital delivery. With the complete upgrade of more than 13,800 deposit-image ATMs, which no longer require envelopes for deposits, they have eliminated the use of more than 2.2 million pounds of paper in the year 2009.
EDUCATE YOUR EMPLOYEES AND CUSTOMERS
• Not only the IT product manufacturers should provide educational resources around the environmental benefits of their products, much of it focused on data centres and personal computers but the Government must establish environmental requirements and standards for IT. Organizations must develop education campaigns on IT environmental issues and train their employees as well as business partners on the same.
A very good example of this is “E-bay” . The program called “Green Teams –Engaging Employees in sustainability “ in which grass-root or cross-functional group of employees come together to educate inspire and empower employees around sustainability. These groups focus on greening operations at the office, addressing issues such ad recycling in the office, composting food waste, reducing the use of disposable take-out containers and eliminating plastic water bottles.
ENCOURAGE GREEN BUYING POLICIES
• In USA, Environmental Protection Agency has introduced a program called “Environmentally preferable purchasing/procurement-EPP “which ensures that green IT products are incorporated into major purchasing programs in both the public and private sectors. Such Green buying policies should be incorporated by IT companies at large responding to their new requirements as it will make a huge difference in energy conservation.Investigating and implementing cost-effective technologies, processes, and policies to decrease use of consumable products such as paper, printer ink (toner cartridges), non bio-degradable plastics, metals, or glass products.
• Increase the usage of Video Conferencing solutions to eliminate the need for air travel & driving, allowing professionals to conduct important meetings very productively and inexpensively too which ultimately results in causing less pollution and reducing the CO emission in the atmosphere.
• Investigate, encourage and implement cost-effective technologies, processes and policies to increase recycling of or reuse of IT equipment such as PCs, laptops, cell phones, and other electronic devices.
• Reduced movement of people and use of equipment through e-learning through internet is a good way to save energy consumption.
• Flexible working, or tele-working, can significantly reduce the demand for office space and employee commute travel. But saving money and reducing environmental impacts require the cooperation of Senior Management, IT, Human Resources, Facilities Management, Real Estate, and Employees.
• Lightweight and powerful net-books should be provided to employees, which enable them to be mobile in the increasingly popular telecommuting trend.
• Instead of air-conditioning the entire server room, a lot of energy and cost can be saved by only air-conditioning the inside/interior of the enclosure.