From Dell committing itself to carbon neutrality to IBM Corp.'s new eco-consulting service, major businesses have made a dedicated shift to greening their operations in recent years. Forrester Research Inc . predicted in a recent report that the green IT-services market will grow to $4.8 billion by 2013, with companies like Dell, HP (Hewlett-Packard Development Company LP) and Sun Microsystems Inc. leading the pack. But eco-friendly business isn't limited to organizations with unlimited resources and large IT budgets. A number of IT vendors — from PC providers to software manufacturers — are now offering products and services to support environmentally sustainable business operations for companies of all sizes. Below is a roundup of the 35 most accessible, effective and promising green IT resources now available.
Not sure how to start a green IT program? The following eco-consultants can help.
1. GreenIT Inc .: This Northern California consulting firm offers environmentally friendly IT guidance for technology design and processes, management and staff education. Although GreenIT has clients in a variety of fields, its consultancy services especially target enterprise executives, real estate professionals and IT system manufacturers and distributors.
2. iYogi Inc. : The computer-support specialists at iYogi have recently launched their Green PC initiative, an energy-audit and configuration service to help your PCs run as efficiently as possible.
3. Wipro Ltd .: Best known as a global software-services company, Wipro is now positioning itself as a leader in the green IT market. The business recently announced its Eco Energy consultancy service, which is scheduled to launch by year-end.
4. IBM Green Sigma : Computing giant IBM Corp. is jumping on the eco-bandwagon with its new Green Sigma consulting service. The company's Lean Six Sigma strategy — upon which its consulting program is based — is designed to help businesses analyze operations to improve overall efficiency, reduce water and energy usage and lower costs.
5. EMC Corp .: One of the world's largest technology companies, EMC now offers a comprehensive green IT consulting service. The program aims to improve efficiency for customers' datacenters as well as their overall IT structures.
Computer engineers are developing new products with energy savings and eco-friendly materials at the forefront of their planning. But that doesn't mean they're forgetting about memory space and computing power. Most of these recent releases are powerful enough to support standard office applications while still having a low impact on the environment.
6. Dell Studio Hybrid PC : Dell's colorful new desktop computer uses 70 percent less energy than an average PC. Though the machine is small — weighing in at only four pounds — it's got a 320GB hard drive with 4GB of memory, which can run most standard office applications.
7. Lenovo "Blue Sky" A61e PC : Not only is this PC packaged in 90 percent recyclable materials, but it can be powered by a portable solar panel. The solar-panel option is probably too expensive (at $1,299) for it to be widely adopted, but Lenovo claims that companies can still enjoy up to $1,000 in energy savings per year if they deploy 50 or more Blue Sky machines.
8. CherryPal : This little machine is the size of a paperback and runs on only 2 watts of power. It comes with a free cloud-computing subscription so users have the same resources and computing ability as traditional PC owners.
9. Fujitsu Siemens Scaleo L Green Edition : One of the first green PCs to hit the market, the Scaleo L Green Edition won the CHIP Green Award and the IFA Preview Award for its energy-efficient design. The computer has integrated software that reduces power consumption and a green internal circuit board.
On average, laptops use 10 percent of the wattage as a conventional desktop and monitor. The following laptops are leaders in their already energy-efficient field:
10. Asus U5 : In order to comply with the EU's (European Union's) strict RoHS (Restriction of Hazardous Substances) regulations, Asus ditched halogens, which are full of nasty chemicals, and lead — a notoriously unhealthy heavy metal — for the U5.
11. Toshiba Tecra S3 and M3 : Though these 2006 releases might be a little outdated for technophiles, the Tecra S3 and M3 are still on the cutting edge of sustainable computer design. The first laptops to comply with the EU's RoHS laws, these machines are produced without the use of hazardous substances.
12. Macbook Air : After getting flack from Greenpeace for using toxic bromine in its iPhone, Apple promised that its new Macbook Air would be BFR (brominated flame retardant) and PVC-free by the end of 2008. The machine is currently fitted with a recyclable aluminum enclosure and a mercury-free LCD display with arsenic-free glass.
13. Zonbu Notebook : Zonbu claims its energy-efficient laptop will save users $10 per month on their electricity bills. The company also buys carbon offsets so that each device's operations are carbon neutral.
Eco-friendly computers are undeniably an important area of any green IT operation, but several other hardware devices are integral to a successful sustainability strategy. Here are a few resources to consider:
14. HP Photosmart D5463 Printer : This printer is full of nifty features — such as printing photos and text directly on DVDs — and saves a vast amount of ink with its unique cartridge design. That means fewer toxic cartridges need to be recycled — or worse, sent to the landfill.
15. SPARKLE Calibre P960 Green Power graphics card : By using real-time user-detection technology, this graphics card consumes 28 percent less energy than its traditional counterparts.
16. D-Link Xtreme N line wifi router : In late July D-Link announced its popular Xtreme N line wifi routers have been revamped with eco-friendly features. According to the tech company, the new routers can adjust power settings by detecting users' link status and network cable length, reducing energy consumption by up to 40 percent.
17. Rackspace Green Essential Server : Businesses that choose one of Rackspace's green server configurations enjoy carbon-neutral operations because the company buys enough carbon credits to completely offset their users' systems.
These innovative software products help even the eco-savviest IT officers improve their companies' energy efficiency and overall sustainability strategy.
18. Edison : Verdiem Corp.'s Edison helps computer users save energy beyond sleep mode. According to a predetermined schedule, Edison turns off machines' screens and hard drives to achieve optimum power savings.
Users receive a report chronicling how much electricity and money they're saving.
19. LocalCooling : Similar to Edison, LocalCooling is a free PC software tool that allows users to customize a power-save mode for their machines. The program also has a nifty screen that displays how many trees, gallons of gas and kilowatts a user saves with the software.
20. GreenPrint : GreenPrint examines each document to identify and eliminate unnecessary pages — say, ones with only one line of text on them, or an irrelevant banner ad. The software claims to have saved over 2 million pounds of carbon dioxide and 340 trees already.
21. WatchOverEnergy : Created by AKS-Labs, WatchOverEnergy tracks PCs' energy use by wattage and dollars spent and lets users customize their sleep-mode settings.
22. PowerManager3 : As you might have noticed, most energy-auditing software programs work only with PCs. Mac users need not despair, however, with PowerManager3 offering a comprehensive energy-efficiency program competitive with the above-mentioned software solutions.
A variety of blogs and Web sites offer information about greening your IT operations. The leading online resources include:
23. GreenerComputing : This site has articles, blogs, columns and job listings in virtually every green IT sector.
24. Green PC : Powered by iYogi, this blog offers up-to-date news and reviews about green computers and software.
25. Nortel Energy Efficiency Calculator : This online calculator lets companies compare their current energy use to that of Nortel IT products.
26. Green Electronics Council : This organization's goal is to "inspire and support the effective design, manufacture, use and recovery of electronic products to contribute to a healthy, fair and prosperous world."
27. The Green Grid : The Green Grid is a consortium of IT companies that have committed to advancing energy-efficiency technology for datacenters.
28. Climate Savers Computing Initiative : Similar to The Green Grid, the Climate Savers Computing Initiative is a non-profit organization of consumers, businesses and conservation groups led by Google and Intel Corp.
29. Guide to Greener Electronics : This guide, compiled by Greenpeace, ranks leading mobile phone, television and PC manufacturers on their eco-practices as well as how harmful their products are for users and the planet.
Tossing outdated computers and old electronics in the garbage bin is hardly environmentally responsible. Learn how to properly dispose of — or reuse — your company's IT hardware by consulting these resources:
30. Green Uses for Waste : This Web site has articles and advice dedicated solely to environmentally friendly ways to deal with garbage. The "Office " section has two helpful articles about recycling electronics and IT equipment.
31. "Toxic e-waste pouring into Third World ": This report details a disturbing e-waste trend: U.S. companies sending their outdated — and often toxic — electronics overseas for disposal.
32. HP Recycling Program for IT Companies : HP has 41 recycling centers nationwide that safely process HP inkjet and LaserJet cartridges in addition to all kinds of computer hardware.
33. Best Buy Recycling Program : Best Buy stores recycle ink cartridges, televisions and a number of other electronics. The company even offers $500 to $1,000 grants for businesses and non-profit organizations to start their own recycling programs.
34. EPA's (Environmental Protection Agency's) WasteWise Program : While this program primarily helps companies reduce municipal solid waste, it also has resources for recycling selected industrial wastes, including IT equipment.
35. Staples Recycling Program : Like Best Buy, Staples Inc. will recycle used computers, monitors, laptops and desktop printers at any of its stores.
And there you have it - 35 of the best green IT resources now available. There's no excuse not to start greening your IT operations today.
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