With the downturn of the economy and people becoming more environmentally-conscious, there is a push for non-profit organizations to change their business practices. In the immortal words of Kermit the Frog, “It’s not easy being green.” Robin Fisk at Advanced Solutions International, suggests non-profits take the following practical steps to save time, money—and the environment.
1. Ask your IT team about virtualization. Virtualization takes the resources of one physical server unit but presents itself to the network as a number of virtual servers. For example, a single physical unit could provide file, database and Web server capabilities, while consuming the power of one unit. It reduces running costs of servers that are often unused, as well as the environmental impact.
2. Choose a carbon-neutral hosting partner. The data center business is notoriously power-hungry; according to a study by the EPA in 2006, data centers accounted for 1.5 percent of U.S power consumption. Some hosting companies use carbon offsets, such as planting trees, and renewable power sources, such as hydro-electric power, to mitigate the effect of the power they use.
3. Travel to fewer meetings. Online meeting software such as GoToMeeting and WebEx enable us to conduct meetings online without the time and costs of travel. Although nothing quite matches a face-to-face meeting, is it always necessary? All you need is the software, an Internet connection, a headset and a microphone.
4. Use the off-switch. Desktop PCs, laptop power supplies, monitors and printers are often left on standby when not being used overnight or over the holidays. By simply using the off-switch, you can reduce energy consumption and save your organization money.
Every non-profit can implement these green strategies and improve their IT system. It is critical for every organization to review their overall consumption habits and develop a plan to reduce energy, costs and the environmental footprint in the future.