What is Green IT and Why Should Environmentally Conscious SMEs Care?




With the right knowledge, strategies, and a bit of commitment, we can all play a part in this green revolution.

It’s no secret that our tech-powered world comes with some serious environmental baggage. Do you ever find yourself pondering the carbon footprint your IT operations leave behind? If that question has crossed your mind, you’ve already started your journey towards understanding Green IT. Let’s unpack this together, shall we?


What is Green IT?

Green IT is also known as ‘green computing’. It’s the practice of designing, manufacturing, using and disposing of computers and other associated subsystems in a way that minimises their impact on the environment.


Importance of Green IT

By reducing carbon footprints, curbing excessive energy use, and promoting sustainable disposal and recycling of electronic waste, Green IT greatly benefits the environment. It also provides economic advantages, such as reduced energy costs resulting from optimised technology use. Additionally, Green IT contributes to a more equitable and sustainable society.


Implementing Green IT

Green IT can essentially be broken down into three key areas: Green Computing, Green Data Centres, and Electronic Waste Management.


Green Computing

Green Computing is the practice of using computing resources efficiently. It involves two main strategies: Power Management and Virtualisation.

  • Power Management involves ensuring your computer and peripherals are consuming energy in the most efficient way possible. This can include using energy-efficient components, enabling power-saving modes, and even simply turning off your computer when it’s not in use.

  • Virtualisation is a method of running multiple independent virtual operating systems on a single physical computer. This not only maximises the use of your resources, but it also significantly reduces power consumption and cooling costs.


Green Data Centres

Green Data Centres are another crucial aspect of Green IT. These are data storage, management, and dissemination centres that utilise energy-efficient technologies and minimise environmental impact. This might involve using renewable energy, implementing efficient cooling systems, and using server virtualisation to reduce the number of physical servers needed.


Electronic Waste Management

Last, but by no means least, is Electronic Waste Management. This involves responsibly recycling or disposing of electronic equipment at the end of its useful life. By properly managing electronic waste, we can prevent harmful substances from entering the environment and also recover valuable materials that can be reused.

At IT Naturally, we partner with ICEX Group to reduce e-waste to landfill by making sure our tech is securely and sustainably repurposed and recycled.


Challenges in Implementing Green IT

While Green IT provides clear benefits, it’s not without its challenges. These include High Initial Costs, Technical Challenges, and a Lack of Awareness.


High Initial Cost

Green technologies can be expensive upfront, which often deters individuals and businesses from implementing them. However, it’s useful to view these costs as an investment, as the cost savings, in the long run, can be substantial.


Technical Challenges

The adoption of new, green technologies often requires significant technical knowledge and expertise. However, with the growing availability of training, resources and expert IT partners, this obstacle is becoming less formidable.


Lack of Awareness

Perhaps the most significant challenge is the lack of awareness about Green IT and its benefits. 

Many individuals and organisations are simply not aware of the impact of their digital habits on the environment. However, awareness is growing, and initiatives are being put in place to increase understanding of these issues.


Case Study: Google’s Green IT Efforts

Ever wondered how big tech giants are contributing to Green IT? Let’s take a peek at Google, a trailblazer in this space. 

Google is putting substantial efforts into reducing its environmental impact. The company has been carbon neutral since 2007, matching its energy use with 100% renewable energy. Can you imagine? An entire tech giant running on renewable power! 

And by 2030, Google aims to operate on carbon-free energy, 24/7. This move is a shining example of how companies can contribute to Green IT.


The Future of Green IT

As we move further into the digital age, Green IT is set to play an even larger role. There are two main areas to look at: Technological Innovations and Regulatory Changes.

Technological Innovations

Technological Innovations are paving the way for a greener future. We’re talking about more energy-efficient CPUs, servers, cooling systems, and even the potential for quantum computing! Sounds like sci-fi, doesn’t it? But it’s closer to reality than you might think.

Regulatory Changes

On the other hand, Regulatory Changes are also crucial. Government initiatives worldwide are pushing for stricter regulations on energy efficiency and waste management. 


How You Can Contribute

Now, after learning all about Green IT, you’re probably wondering, “But what can I do?” Don’t worry; there are plenty of ways both individuals and businesses can contribute.


Tips for Individuals

As an individual, you can contribute by reducing your energy use, properly disposing of e-waste, and educating others about Green IT. Even small changes, like turning off your computer when not in use, can make a big difference. 

Here are some practical steps you can take to make your use of tech more environmentally friendly:

  1. Power Down: When not in use, turn off your computer and other devices. Don’t just leave them on standby, as they still consume power.
  2. Mind the Chargers: Unplug your chargers when you’re not using them. Even if they’re not connected to a device, they still draw electricity.
  3. Print Wisely: If you need to print, do it double-sided, in black and white, and only the pages you really need.
  4. Telecommute: If possible, work from home to cut down on commuting emissions.
  5. Smart Settings: Adjust your computer’s energy settings for efficiency, such as setting it to go to sleep after a certain amount of inactivity.


Guidelines for Businesses

For businesses, consider implementing energy-efficient practices, investing in green technologies, and training your staff about Green IT. Remember, it’s not just about cutting costs; it’s about contributing to a sustainable future.

Here are 10 ideas to get you started:

  1. Energy-Efficient Equipment: Choose hardware that is Energy Star certified or has similar energy-saving features.
  2. Virtualisation: Virtualising servers can significantly reduce the number of physical servers a company needs, thereby reducing energy use.
  3. Cloud Computing: Utilising cloud services can be more energy-efficient as large data centres often have better energy management systems.
  4. E-Waste Management: Implement an e-waste recycling scheme. Proper disposal or recycling of old hardware prevents harmful substances from polluting the environment.
  5. Power Management: Encourage employees to switch off computers and other equipment when not in use.
  6. Paperless Policies: Go digital wherever possible. This not only cuts down on paper but also the energy used in printing.
  7. Green Web Hosting: Consider using web hosting providers that commit to renewable energy or carbon offsetting.
  8. Remote or Hybrid Working: Allow employees to work from home when possible, cutting down on emissions from commuting.
  9. Training: Educate employees about the importance of sustainable practices and how they can contribute.
  10. Audit and Improve: Regularly conduct energy audits to find areas where energy usage can be reduced, and keep up to date with new technologies or strategies for energy efficiency.



So, that’s the lowdown on Green IT! 

As we’ve seen, it’s not just about saving money or reducing energy consumption. It’s about creating a sustainable future for our planet. With the right knowledge, strategies, and a bit of commitment, we can all play a part in this green revolution. 

Are you ready to take the green leap?

Get in touch with our friendly team for a chat about how we can help.