Green IT

This was a ’seed’ article for the launch of ooffoo, a Green community site for conversation, exchange and trade. Anyone who is familiar with hexadecimal RGB colour codes will know that 00FF00 represents the colour green. Hence ooffoo.

Green IT

Posted by David Tebbutt

When people ask me to write about ’Green IT’, I’m always tempted to say that this is not the big deal. It’s not so much IT itself that’s important, but what you do with it. If you use videoconferencing to avoid travel, you’re making a great contribution to the environment.

Having said that, Gartner’s Simon Mingay calculated that IT is directly responsible for two percent of the world’s CO2 emissions. Clearly, computer users have a role to play in diminishing these emissions.

As fast as they are pursuing emerging markets, computing and communication equipment vendors are trying to reduce their environmental impact. They have a tough job on their hands, given that these new markets (China and India, for example) want some of what we in the West take for granted.

So, faced with this, what are ordinary users to do? Two golden rules might be ’switch off’ and ’re-use’. If you switch kit off when it’s not being used – printers, PCs, laptops, phone chargers – then you’ll be making a contribution. Not only to the planet’s health, but to your financial health as well. Why pay for electricity that doesn’t deliver a benefit?

When you get the urge to buy a new machine, ask yourself why you’re doing it. Sadly, a lot of the time, the answer boils down to lust. Lust for an iPhone, an Asus Eee PC or a MacBook Air, perhaps. Apart from being stylish, the functionality is quite often not madly different to what you have now. If it is, then maybe you should change. But it’s important to know that you are contributing to environmental harm by the very fact of buying a new machine and, depending what you do with it, by disposing of an old machine.

This is where re-use comes in. If you have to change stuff, see if you can put the old stuff somewhere it will do some good. A charity perhaps? ComputerAid International will take certain kinds of PC and ship them for use in developing countries, which extends their life by a few years. The company, incidentally, wipes the hard drives clean with Blancco software.

Your other option, long before you consider taking stuff to the tip, is to mention it on ooffoo. A lot of enterprising people out there might be only too willing to give your old equipment a new lease of life.

About the author:
David’s principal role in life is as an industry analyst specialising in the human and environmental aspects of IT, with a particular interest in areas such as personal productivity, collaboration, social computing and sustainable computing. He also oversees Freeform Dynamics’ training, coaching and workshops.

David is also a writer covering the above topics . He regularly writes for Information World Review and blogs for Small Business Blog and on his own Teblog

David also coaches teams and individuals in how to plan for meeting the press and venture capitalists.

In previous lives, he was an IT professional for 11 years (programmer to IT manager), a management skills trainer for three years, he relaunched and edited Personal Computer World in its early days and was shortlisted eight times for national writing awards. He won three times. He was technical director of Caxton Software from 1981 to 1984.

You can find out more about the author here:

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