Sustainable IT can serve not only to benefit the environment, but can reduce business costs and sustain the future growth of your business.   With the looming energy crisis, some businesses are feeling pressured to take a greener

approach to their business and implement changes that will reduce energy consumption and other costly waste at an organization. Fortunately, taking a greener approach can not only decrease costs, but it can ensure future growth in a period of economic instability.    Searching for the right long-range green IT strategies requires time for planning and implementation. Lucky for us, InfoWorld recommended a few worthwhile examples of green-technology developments and investments that not only can boost a company’s ROI but are fairly easy to put into place.   1. Manage Desktop Power by investing in PC power management solutions from companies such as 1E, BigFix, Kace, or Verdiem that ensure office desktops automatically power down when not in use and get woken up for patching, backup, etc. Less power waste reduces energy costs and carbon emissions.   2. Server Virtualization reduces energy by moving workloads from underused servers and combining on fewer machines.    "Most machines use 5% to 10% of available computing power," said Rakesh Kumar, an analyst at Gartner Inc. in Stamford, Conn. “By utilizing server capacity more efficiently through virtualization, companies can do the same job with 50% to 60% of their existing server population. This translates into major savings in hardware, electricity and cooling.”   3. Make the most of storage by assemblingsolutions that meet your present and future storage needs while wasting the fewest resources possible.Thin provisioning, for one, lets an IT administrator view all available storage and assign “slices” of storage as needed. Basically, the purpose is to stretch the current capacity to cover larger storage requirements; thus, a company spends less on storage arrays and makes the most of what is available. Hitachi Data Systems also offers a Power Savings Storage Service for optimal storage management. This feature puts drives to sleep when they're not being used and eliminates paying to power something not in use. 4. Document-technology systems and print management help reduce paper and ink waste. Equitrac, for example, offers a solution where administrators can set up prevention policies to reduce waste. Examples include preventing employees from printing Web pages in costlier color ink, or certain types of documents to two-sided printing instead of one. In the end, a company saves money on paper and ink and preserves some trees and other natural resources. 5. Refurbished machines are inexpensive and lessen the environmental costs of packaging and transporting new machines. As noted on InfoWorld, “unless your organization really and truly needs a top-of-the-line desktop or server, it's entirely possible that a machine from, say, a year or two ago will suit your requirements splendidly.”    Depending on the size of your company, any and all of the above can be a good starting point to becoming a greener company. Energy efficiency, more than ever, can mean more money in your pocket and lead to smarter business practices.   Learn more about green-technology products and strategies, or calculate your carbon footprint.   By Kathleen Clark   FEEDBACK For comments on this article, email us at