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You, Me & Green IT

by Joanne M. Haywood

Lately it seems that all anyone can talk about is the environment. Climate change, carbon footprints, power consumption - you name it - dominate the public agenda and the messages being sent send shivers down our collective spines. On a personal level we all know how simple changes can have a dramatic effect on improving our world. But how can we in the technology sector connect personal and professional actions to enhance the environmental effort?

It's a tough question and there is no easy answer. Until recently there has been a lack of hard evidence to support the assertion that the use of Information Technology (IT) is having a significant negative impact on the environment. And increasingly, executives are being taken off guard when challenged by their Boards to develop and implement green policies and new management practices to enforce them. Many companies already have corporate responsibility policies but some fail to look at all areas of their organization and neglect to incorporate IT into the greening mix. Yet, the average server has a larger annual carbon footprint than an SUV getting 15 MPG, according to a report titled, "The Inefficient Truth" released by Global Action Plan in 2007. And when looking at the sheer amount of energy required to power our datacenters, PCs, telecommunications, and other IT gadgets we know intuitively that something must be done to reduce our energy consumption and ultimately our carbon footprint.

But, it's not just about power. Green IT is about improving operational efficiencies, increasing productivity, limiting waste, and recycling from the desktop to the datacenter. Combined with the development and deployment of innovative green technologies these initiatives provide the foundati