What Is Green Computing?

Green computing is all the rage, but what does the term really mean?

Being environmentally friendly isn’t a trend, it's a major movement. And like other aspects of business, the IT world is greening up fast.

It seems that everywhere you look, “green computing” is being touted as the next big eco shift. Considering the reach of technology, it’s not surprising that IT would be ripe for green strategies. But what does green computing mean for small-business owners?

Getting Definition

Green computing is an umbrella term, referring to an eco-conscious way of developing, using and recycling technology, as well as utilizing resources in a more planet-friendly manner. Here are some key elements of green computing:

  • Using energy-efficient hardware like notebook computers, displays, servers, printers and desktop computers.
  • Better use of resources, such as reduced paper consumption and lower energy utilization.
  • Greater awareness so that technology components don’t end up in the waste stream.
  • Stronger environmental controls for technology production, leading to fewer toxic chemicals in the finished products.

In general, green computing works at all levels — development, manufacturing, usage and disposal — to minimize technology’s impact on the global environment.

Benefits of Green Computing

For a small-business owner, it can feel satisfying to be employing more earth-friendly tactics, and there are even more advantages. Being more environmentally responsible can lead to that other green: cash in your pocket.

Green computing can help your wallet, since it creates a system of energy efficiency and lower utility costs.

For example, you can use notebook computers that are proven to be energy-efficient when compared to desktop computers. By putting an automatic power-down system in place for reducing energy consumption during periods of inactivity, you can save even more in energy costs. Then, if you also power-down peripherals like laser printers (which are notorious energy users), your energy usage drops even more.

With every green computing strategy, cost savings follow. And using fewer resources like this will extend the life of your systems, giving you better ROI and lowering your carbon footprint.

A Growth Driver

The Environmental Protection Agency has reported that most small businesses can cut their energy costs by 30 percent, simply by employing more green-computing and energy-efficient strategies.

When you add the amount of savings that comes from extending the usage time frame of technology components, you’re talking about some significant greenbacks.

What can you do with that unexpected windfall?

For many companies, finding that level of cost savings leads to more growth, either through hiring or through strategic initiatives that might otherwise have been impossible to fund.

Green computing promises strong ROI, but it goes beyond a better bottom line: The strategy is a growth driver that can benefit your business and your planet.

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