10 Tips to Go Green

Smart Printing for SMEs

Towards a Greener IT

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With the growing pressure from society, government and customers for businesses to act in an environmentally responsible way, organizations are trying to adapt to the changing needs. Those who fail to meet these expectations of consumers risk causing damage to their brand. In fact, this can mar an organization's ability to win customers and attract and retain their employees. The experience of businesses that have already adopted environmentally sustainable working practices indicates that energy efficiency can lead to significant cost savings, which means your business can become leaner and more efficient. Paper, power and travel are the three main areas where organisations can invest their intelligence and gain savings for them and help reduce pressure on the environment. We delve into some tips that can help your organization go green, save and earn brownie points as well.

1. Reduce paper wastage

Organizations can contribute towards a greener environment and save a lot by reducing the amount of paper being consumed. You'd be surprised at the amount of un-collected print-outs lying on the printers and personal prints being taken by employees. A few simple steps toward better printer management can help curtail paper wastage and lead to significant cost savings. Even Gartner says that active management of office printing can lead to reduction of 10% to 30% in recurring spending on document output. It also reduces the annual paper costs by at least 30% by selecting duplex printing as the default setting across the output fleet. As a common practice, most organizations only utilize the single side of paper for printing. Using the reverse side of paper simultaneously is a easy-to-adopt mechanism. It just requires a small tweak in the print preferences dialogue box while printing. In larger printers, you might have to opt for an auto-duplexing unit. Moreover, paper with single side printing that's no longer relevant can be re-used for printing on the other side.
Use Printer Management software: Another way to reduce paper wastage is to use printer management software. There are plenty of them available, and some of them are even available for free. For instance, a software called Print Censor Professional 5.20.174 is one such software that allows easy viewing, controlling and restricting printer usage on a LAN. This can result in getting rid of duplicate, restricted and unauthorized print jobs.For more on this, read this article. http://ld2.in/vv

2. Automate workflow

Besides using duplex printing and printer management software, organizations can also try and avoid printing unless it's absolutely necessary. Try using digital documents as much as possible. Identify what's the bulk of your printing happening for, and see if it can be avoided as much as possible. Process automation is another way to save a considerable amount of paper. In any business process, there are documents that flow across various departments and heirarchies. If these documents can be digitized and automated in a workflow system, then it would not only save time, but also cut down on the printing costs.

3. Use combination fo print and online for surveys, marketing and promotions

The Internet has opened up a whole new channel to reach out to a much larger customer base, and switch from many paper based activities. Online surveys for instance is one such activity. If you're doing an an internal survey of your employees to say, get their feedback on something, they why waste time and money printing out the questionnaire on paper? Setup an online survey tool, like SeaMonkey or LimeSurvey, and send them a web link to the survey questionnaire by email. This makes things faster and also reduces paper wastage. Similarly, if you're doing a market survey that doesn't require face to face interactions, then again online surveys are a great tool to get quick feedback.
Companies could even consider social and other online media to market their products, and reduce the need to print leaflets, brochures, etc. You could use a combination of print and online to promote and advertise your products and services, instead of just using print.

4. Switch off PCs remotely

It is a good practice to switch off all electronic hardware when not in use. However, it has been observed that most employees do not switch off their PCs at the time of leaving the office. This results in a lot of power wastage. All this translates into mounting power costs for the company apart from CO2 emissions. This can be prevented if computers are proactively shut down when not in use. Since all hardware in an organization is essentially centrally managed, IT managers can use software ot switch PCs off remotely at a predefined time. Software like Edison Energy Monitor provides you an option of doing that. You can use the Edison efficiency slider to choose the level of energy savings you want to achieve. Edison will calculate your estimated savings based on the setting you choose. Scheduling custom settings at any desired time and day of the week is alsopossible. See how Edison can help you by going onto http://ld2.in/vw

5. Replace legacy hardware with power efficient one

Legacy hardware like CRTs and even PCs has essentially been found to be power hungry. The good news in case of CRT based PC monitors is that they're no longer manufactured. You'll only have a choice of LED/LCD monitor. If you have a lot of CRT monitors in your organization, it would be a good idea to replace them in phases with LCD/LED monitors, depending upon your budgets. Notebooks and netbooks have become cheaper, and are more energy efficient than PCs. Evaluate if a larger part of your employee workforce can be given these instead of PCs.

6. Deploy virtualization technology

The question today is not whether to use virtualization or not, but when to shift to it. There are significant benefits to be gained by using this technology. It helps consolidate multiple physical servers into fewer physical servers, resulting in both power and space savings--both of which are prime requirements for going green. Virtualization can also happen for applications, network, and storage, but server virtualization is the most popular, and perhaps the first step to going green. Lesser number of servers not only consume lesser power, but reduce the amount of air-conditoining required for cooling them.

7. Telecommute

Call it Teleworking or Telecommuting, work from home essentially means that rather than the employee being physically present in the office, the work is accessible to him online or other means. Allowing employees the flexibility to work from home reduces the amount of travel they do, thereby cutting carbon emissions. Research shows it also makes employees around 20 percent more productive. Employees can work at the comfort of their home which increases employee satisfaction as well. Apart from all the personal benefits an employee gathers out of telecommuting, organizations can reap tax benefits out of this as well. The technological innovations in the past decades have made working at home easier and more feasible. Reducing travel for maintenance personnel can be achieved by using remote maintenance. Some basic level software can help you achieve that. Remobo is one such free software that helps you to create a VPN instantly and can help in remote maintenance for your system. Learn how to use Remobo at http://ld2.in/vx

8. e-training and e-learning

Most organisations comprise of multiple offices in and outside the country. This entails a tremendous amount of pressure on the environment as the employees need to travel by air, rail, road to their offices. Companies can adopt the option of e-learning or e-training. Presentations or video recordings of the training modules can be made available to the employees and can be viewed from the comforts of their location. If a need for personal interaction arises, video conferencing solutions can be made use of.

9. Re-use hardware

Hardware equipment is an aggregation of multiple hardware entities. Whenever the overall hardware malfunctions, companies tend to dispose of the whole equipment. Essentially, not all parts of a faulty hardware are faulty and can be reused or recycled with ease. Companies should make sure that the reusable parts are recycled and utilized to the utmost. And when there is an absolute need for e-waste disposal, only then it should be taken up as an option.

10. Earn carbon credits by e-waste recycling

A company using IT equipment invariably generates a lot of e-Waste. This e-Waste disposal is essentially an environmental hazard. Most companies just dispose off the faulty hardware to the 'kabadi-wallas' who generally utilize non-eco-friendly methodologies to dispose off the unusable hardware parts. There are organizations coming up which not only buy faulty equipment at reasonable prices and help dispose of hardware in an environmental friendly way, they also give the company selling these hardware with carbon credit certificates. These carbon credit certificates do nothing more than to provide bragging rights to companies at the moment. Companies earning these certificates can essentially go ahead and label themselves as environmental friendly and 'green'. These help earn brownie points for the companies as these are considered healthy practices and business partners and consumers generally would love to associate themselves with such companies. Westere.com is one such website that helps you achieve carbon credit certificates while properly disposing off your hardware in an environment friendly format.

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