Forget Saving, Let’s Make Money with Green Computing

Imagine a future where homes and businesses don’t just save energy, they produce it, too. Science fiction? Nope: thanks to the advent of "green computing" that scenario is likely to become increasingly common.

Going green can help you save money and resources. But did you know that some homes and small businesses save so much energy, they sell it back to utility companies?

While these instances might be rare right now, there’s potential for more companies and homeowners to become producers of energy, not just consumers.

True, the financial incentives are modest right now (unless you’re converting a major chunk of land to wind power, that is). Nonetheless, the benefits are compelling, especially for businesses with high energy costs.

Producer Power

Companies and homes that significantly improve energy-efficiency practices can see an additional boost by using alternative and renewable energy sources. These sources harness natural forms of energy like wind, sunlight, rain or geothermal heat and turn them into electricity, heating, cooling and fuel.

You don’t need to install a biomass boiler or turn your whole rooftop into a solar station, either. Just a few solar panels, a wind turbine or other renewable energy system can combine with lower power consumption to help tame those utility bills.

Juiced-up Computing

Green computing can play a major part of any energy-reduction strategy, since components and hardware involved in green computing implementations are more energy-efficient.

For example, data storage on smaller disk drives requires less power than traditional, larger drives. Although that might seem like a minor change, those types of shifts add up to big cost savings.

An Energetic Future

Currently, there are several bills in Congress calling for utility companies to institute net metering, a strategy that allows consumers to record how much energy is banked thanks to their green tactics. Already, though, all public electric utilities are required to make net metering available to those customers who ask.

The amount of compensation varies by state, according to power limits, monthly rollovers and other factors. States will pay their customers a retail rate for their energy. That could add up to a tidy revenue stream over time and boost ROI even more.

Other green computing practices like better power management, minimal paper use and proper disposal of e-waste can be blended to create a highly efficient business or home office. When coupled with the use of alternative energy, you're beginning to look greener than Kermit — and that can lead to some benefits from the power company.

By employing more energy-efficient practices and increasing power production though alternative and renewable energy approaches, you could end up being on the best end of a utility payment: getting a check, instead of writing one.

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