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Sustainable IT Support: Exploring Energy-Efficient Solutions and Green Initiatives

Sustainable IT Support

Despite the rapid advances in technology today, there continues to be serious efforts across the globe to pursue initiatives geared towards sustainability. Businesses’ environmentally-conscious approach in their operations gives them the opportunity to do their corporate social responsibility, while putting them in a good light with consumers. There are many areas in industries and enterprises where sustainability can be achieved—manufacturing, transport, packaging, storage, disposal; and yes, even IT services, systems, and tech support can be green.

Green IT puts clear focus on our technology practices and the impact that these could have on the environment. Now working towards responsible digital IT may seem daunting at first glance because sustainability and IT are inherently at odds. Server farms for instance, use up loads of resources. However, if you look closely enough there are still a number of ways where companies and employees can promote green computing.

In this blog post, we discuss the importance of sustainability in IT, how this can be applied in IT support, and the different green initiatives that businesses can promote to achieve sustainability goals.

Sustainable IT: What it is and Why it Matters

Sustainable IT, also known as Green IT or Green Computing, is the practice of managing information technology resources in a way that reduces the negative impacts on the environment. It involves designing, manufacturing, using, and disposing of essentially anything electronic—servers, computers, monitors, printers,networking and communication systems, etc., all while keeping a sustainability mindset.

Following the principles of Green IT enables enterprises to reduce their carbon footprint, minimise greenhouse gas emissions, and conserve resources. This is critical in today’s world where urgent attention is being placed on the deterioration of the environment. Green IT significantly contributes to ongoing global efforts to mitigate climate change. In addition, sustainable IT services and operations also meet the rising consumer demands for environmentally-friendly practices.

What is Sustainable IT Support?

Sustainable IT support is an emerging concept under the umbrella of green IT that focuses on providing technology assistance in a manner that promotes efficiency and aligns with sustainable business practices. Most aspects of IT support, from the infrastructure utilised to the systems deployed to how employees perform their duties, adopt green initiatives.

Here are 6 ways to contribute to sustainable IT support:

  1. Encourage remote work for support employees

    Encourage remote work

    A practice widely-adopted during the pandemic, remote working has been embraced by employees because it promotes a better work-life balance for them and even boosts productivity. Another positive effect of this work approach is that it reduces carbon emissions since it lessens the need to commute to work. With the rise of IT solutions for virtual communication tools, remote support has fast become a viable option for IT support teams.

  2. Implement data centre best practices

    data centre best practices

    IT support services rely heavily on applications and customer data that are stored in data centres. Data centres consume large amounts of energy which also contribute to carbon emissions. Applying best practices in your data centres would thus contribute to sustainability in your technical support and IT operations in general. Some of these practices include: consolidating servers, using efficient cooling methods, automating controls for lights and security, unplugging and removing zombie servers, and more.

  3. Rethink and redesign existing processes

    redesign process

    Many help desk support processes can be re-evaluated to see how these can be redesigned with sustainability in mind. Even marginal changes can translate to substantial gains in the goal of becoming more environmentally-conscious. For instance, a paperless IT support process not only speeds up access to records; it also minimises the need for long-term physical storage. Many businesses also consider shifting to thin-client computing for support agents. This move can reduce life-cycle energy consumption by about 66 to 73 percent.

  4. Utilise renewable energy

    renewable energy

    Your company can also minimise greenhouse gas emissions and contribute to sustainable IT support by utilising renewable energy sources for data centres and office facilities. Solar power generation, for one, is completely emission-free. Renewable resources reduce the environmental impact and diversifies the energy mix. These could also offer cost savings for your business. You may even opt to relocate your servers to colder climates (if realistic), or alternatively, use cloud data centres located in server farms powered by renewable energy.

  5. Practise proper disposal of e-waste

    E-waste Disposal

    Tech support IT services require a large number of computers and network devices, which would eventually need to be retired. Responsible disposal of electronic waste (e-waste) is crucial for minimising the equipment’s impact at the end of their lifecycle. Proper disposal includes recycling, repurposing, and reusing electronic devices whenever possible. The process would also involve acquiring the services of certified e-waste disposal facilities to ensure responsible handling of hazardous materials.

  6. Train employees and promote awareness

    Train Employees

    Educating employees on the right practices for sustainability such as proper e-waste disposal and energy-saving strategies can help develop a culture of sustainability within the organisation. Doing this can result in three distinct benefits: environmental and social consciousness, energy efficiency, and cost savings. It shouldn’t stop there, however. In addition to training employees, enterprises can also promote awareness of sustainable practices to their customers. This not only boosts the organisation's image, but also inspires customers to adopt similar practices in their own business operations.

With the growing realisations on the effects of climate change, sustainable IT support is set to play a significant role in the future of IT services. If you need help in evaluating your current carbon emissions and then actively managing/reducing them, there are IT solutions and services for that. Talk to your managed services provider to know more about these today.

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