Making Your Workplace IT Greener

Purely in terms of reducing energy bills, making the IT systems in your workplace “greener” can save a small fortune, which is always a good thing to boast about on your CV. Here’s some simple strategies to help the environment in your office.

I’ve been to dozens of events covering trends in data centre management over the last few years, and without fail the most prominent topic is how it’s becoming impossible to build any more data centres because there’s not enough access to reliable sources of power. You might not get much say in where the office data centre is located, but there’s plenty of things you can do closer to home to ensure a more environmentally-friendly workplace.

Make PCs go to sleep automatically on a schedule

This can be trickier on older machines which don’t support sleep technology, but if you do it well, the results can be impressive. As we noted recently, Sydney University managed major savings by automatically shutting down PCs in many of its labs, but didn’t lose the ability to patch them overnight if that was needed.

Minimise the need for non-native apps

As we discussed earlier this week, if your workplace allows people to run Macs, using them to run both Windows applications and native Mac apps can highlight the relative inefficiency of the Mac as a Windows platform. Browser-based apps will work equally well on both platforms, and save users having to repeatedly switch between environments.

Put some suitable office plants in place

Indoor plants make the workspace brighter and more cheerful, and also help purify the air. Check out our list of Australia-friendly office plants to get started.

Ensure there’s a paper recycling bin near the printers

In an ideal world, people would only print documents that absolutely had to be printed, and they’d make use of services such as PrintWhatYouLike to minimise what got produced. But the sad truth in many offices is that people still deploy the Print command at the first sign of having to read anything longer than 100 words, and then forget to pick up the results.

Make sure that unwanted output doesn’t end up binned and in landfill by ensuring there’s a recycling bin near the printer. Ideally, you’d start imposing restrictions or tracking at network level on printer systems, but this is an easy place to start.

What improvements have you made in your workplace IT environment to help the global environment? We’d love to hear about it in the comments.

Evolve is a weekly column at Lifehacker looking at trends and technologies IT workers need to know about to stay employed and improve their careers.


  • Save Paper, Time and $$$

    We went paperless and then reduced what paper we did produce by using FINEPRINT


    Cant think of the last time I used a fax, photocopier and 5 years ago would have spent 1 hour of every day at one.

    Rarely use a printer as well maybe 5 pages a day when used to use 2 – 3 reams

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