Reading time: 7 min | Nina Nischler
April 22, 2022
Coinciding with Earth Day on April 22, 2022, we focus on the topic of Green-IT.
Sustainability in society is becoming increasingly important - and so is the pressure on companies to constantly optimize and make their processes more sustainable.
Digitalization is advancing further and further. Information and communication technologies (ICT) make it possible to connect with people from all over the world. The way data is collected and analyzed is changing rapidly. On the one hand, this brings many advantages. Many resources can be saved, such as paper consumption.
On the other hand, digitalization has a major impact on energy and contributes to the continuous increase in CO2 emissions. Particularly high energy consumption is generated by the operation of ICT devices, such as computers, servers, and especially data centers.
But how much do IT infrastructures really burden the environment?
The graphic once again illustrates the energy consumption of IT infrastructures in Germany:
According to the non-profit organization The Shift Project, which is committed to fighting climate change, it is estimated that by 2025, the CO2 emissions of the digital economy will account for around 8% of global CO2 consumption, which is more than all cars and motorcycles in the world combined.
But how can IT technologies be designed to be more sustainable? This is where Green IT comes in. What does Green IT actually mean?
Green-IT means using information and communication technologies in a way that consumes as few resources as possible and protects the environment. This includes resource-efficient development, use, and disposal of IT equipment.
There is a distinction between "Green through IT" and "Green in IT," where "Green through IT" means saving energy by using IT resources, such as switching from letters to emails or from air travel to video conferencing. "Green in IT" means saving energy within IT infrastructures or data centers.
For companies, integrating and implementing sustainable IT infrastructures is a major challenge. However, there are already numerous solutions for creating environmentally friendly IT infrastructures in the company. In the following, we present some solutions on how you can also make your company more sustainable.
Turn off devices
Cool server room and adjust lighting
Disposal of hardware
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The mention of the following labels is based on our editorial team's own experience and research. We are not affiliated with any of the environmental labels mentioned.
Companies can consciously choose devices that do not have harmful impacts when making purchases. This may be difficult for individuals, but individual labels such as the "Blue Angel", "EU Ecolabel" or "Energy Star Label" can be considered.
One first step towards more sustainable practices in a company is to introduce a "paperless office". As the term suggests, paper should be saved and replaced with digital processes instead.
Some people might be familiar with the practice of simply closing their laptops instead of properly shutting them down, but this makes a significant difference in energy consumption. It's important to shut down devices after work, as well as turning off the lights and heating in the office overnight. These things should not be underestimated, as small changes can make a big impact.
To implement sustainability in a company, it is important that managers inform and educate their employees about it. Additionally, it is important that the topic of sustainability is convincingly lived out. Only when it is consistently implemented by employees can something be achieved.
But how can companies proceed? The company vision and strategy should be clearly defined and known to every employee. Similarly, the company's CO2 emissions can be measured to subsequently define clear climate goals. It is important that these goals are regularly reviewed and adjusted. Through regular meetings, employees can contribute their own ideas to act even more sustainably. Training sessions could also be helpful in raising employee awareness of the topic of sustainability.
How many devices does a company really need? It is not necessary for each employee to have their own complete set of devices. Devices such as printers and scanners can be consolidated, which is much more efficient.
50% of energy consumption is due to cooling and lighting. It is important to consider a few things, such as appropriate insulation, avoiding direct sunlight, and optimal air conditioning. Switching to free cooling helps to save energy.
There are two types of free cooling: direct and indirect. In direct free cooling, filtered cold air is transported from outside into the data center. This is a cheap and energy-saving method. However, direct cooling depends heavily on weather and local conditions. For example, in a heavily trafficked street with poor air quality, it is important to clean the filters frequently.
In indirect cooling, air is led into the data center by means of an air-water heat exchanger. This means that a cooling medium cools down the outside air and transports it into the data center. In this case, dirt particles in the air are not a problem, but this method is not quite as efficient as direct free cooling because a heat exchanger is required.
Make sure to dispose of hardware properly so that parts of it can be recycled and reused.
Companies can avoid acquisition costs, resources, and electronic waste by opting for the secondary use of devices. Meanwhile, there are companies that professionally prepare devices for reuse. This is especially exciting for smaller companies that do not necessarily require the latest hardware.
Processes such as backups can be automated, allowing for a time window to be selected during which less system performance is required.
It is much more resource-efficient to store your data in a cloud, where the data is stored in a certified data center with state-of-the-art security, rather than on company-owned servers.
Try the GDPR-compliant leitzcloud now, where your data is stored with 100% security in a sustainable TÜV-certified data center.
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Sustainable IT (Zugriff 24.03.2022)
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Green-IT: Herausfordrungen, Ziele und Lösungen für Nachhaltigkeit in und durch Informationstechnik (Access 24.03.2022)
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Green IT: Tipps zu mehr Energieeffizienz in Unternehmen (Access 24.03.2022)
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Green IT: Nachhaltigkeit im Unternehmen umsetzen (Access 04.04.2022)
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