5 overlooked opportunities for IT sustainability

June 16, 20194 minute read

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The corporate responsibility to pursue IT sustainability and energy efficiencies matters. Being responsible with your company’s utilization of resources can lower your annual carbon footprint and save you money on your monthly power bills. Additionally, it can have a positive effect on employee engagement and brand reputation. According to Ecosphere, more than 90% of millennial consumers would readily switch to buying from a company associated with a good cause.

Chances are good that your company is already doing the basics for energy saving by using smart thermostats, monitoring energy usage online, recycling office waste, and using energy-efficient blinds to block out sunlight and the cold. While initiatives like these may fall within the purview of Facilities or HR departments, there are many opportunities for sustainability that IT departments can spearhead.

Here are 5 ideas for increased IT sustainability.

1. Switch to ENERGY STAR products

You don’t necessarily need to add a sustainability expert to your IT procurement committee, but you should consider purchasing ENERGY STAR-qualified office hardware and equipment. The ENERGY STAR designation shows that the hardware and appliances you use to power your business have been rated as the most energy-efficient options by an authoritative third party. Appliances that can receive this designation include computers, printers, copiers, windows, thermostats, fans, and fridges.

2. Create an IT sustainability council

Encouraging employee involvement in your initiative can create a force of energy efficiency promoters to generate excitement about a culture of sustainability. Facilitate an ongoing dialogue about saving energy and consider implementing the following changes with the assistance of your sustainability council:

  • Creating a more flexible dress-code to support year-round reductions in heating and cooling
  • Turning the lights off, switching to natural lighting, or adopting occupancy-based lighting sensors
  • Encouraging the workforce to unplug appliances and computers or switch power strips to “off” before leaving work

3. Support remote workers

Commuting and business travel can have a serious impact on the environment. Let’s imagine a scenario in which one employee commutes 10 miles to work in a fuel-efficient vehicle that gets 35 miles per gallon. Their daily drive to the office produces a staggering 1.4 tons of carbon dioxide emissions each year, according to Ride Amigos.

As a leader in the IT department, you may not be able to convince your boss to create a fully flexible work-from-home policy, but you can create the technical infrastructure necessary to support remote work and video meetings. Adopt the right technologies, including a VPN for secure access to on-site machines, mobile collaboration apps, and video conferencing tools. This can help to ensure that your department won’t be the roadblock when the company leaders consider expanding WFH opportunities.

4. Reduce paper usage

If your company produces excessive paper waste, you can look to achieve remarkable savings on energy efficiency, paper, ink and toner through managed print services (take HP’s free analysis for a custom report). Inefficient use of printers, copiers, and fax machines can waste up to three percent of annual company revenues according to Stop Waste.

Digitizing and automating paper-based process can also create opportunities for efficiency in how your company captures, manages, and processes documents with business-critical information. Printing and workflow solutions like HP Capture and Route can simplify how your team controls and tracks scanned documents and also distribute information internally, to the cloud, and to your productivity apps.

5. Perform an expert audit

Consider enlisting expert assistance to identify inefficiencies in your company’s IT infrastructure, facilities, and workflows. This could make a real impact on your monthly power bill and carbon emissions. Contact your local power company or building facilities manager to determine whether you qualify for an on-site energy use inspection around windows and HVAC equipment. You may even qualify for a low-cost evaluation and subsidized upgrades to your physical infrastructure.

Work with experts like the Security Advisors at HP Print Security Services to bring your fleet of printers and copiers to heel and better understand how they affect your energy usage, paper stores, and productivity.

IT sustainability is an ongoing process that requires engagement and dialogue between IT, leadership, and employees. By enlisting expert advice and creating energy efficiencies, your organization can save money, reduce waste, and ignite productivity in your workforce.

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