If there’s one positive thing the 2020 near-global lockdown has highlighted, it’s how the world flourishes with reduced pollution. Rare sea turtles have been returning to the coasts of Thailand, the Himalayas have been visible from India for the first time in 30 years and birdsong across the UK has become more audible than it has in decades. No doubt this is something the majority of us would like to see continue and further improve.
While economies still have to go round for obvious reasons, there simply isn’t the world funding to turn everything carbon neutral overnight. Our natural resources can’t keep up with current demand and the environment is suffering because of it.
The manufacturing and operation of IT systems unsurprisingly adds to this problem. The world is wholly dependent on technology and this is only continuing to rise – it helps us to work, learn, socialise, consume and much more – but there are ways, as users, buyers and decision makers within the technology field that we can each do a little bit more.
Sustainability in Technology
Sustainability in every aspect of our lives has been becoming more prominent and ingrained, and with manufacturers looking for their next USP, energy-efficient and sustainable computing is raising the competitive stakes.
The circular economy is another phrase we’re likely now all familiar with (not unlike ‘socially distanced’!), except the former is one we’d hope is here to stay. Its aim is to reduce the consumption of finite resources: reuse, recycle and rent. This is in direct opposition to the ‘take-make-waste’ model we’re all too familiar with.
An example of circular IT in action occurred for M-Tech during the UK’s Covid-19 lockdown. We repurposed 10 laptops from Gildredge House School to Stone Cross Surgery. They were no longer suitable for use in the school, yet invaluable to the surgery who were in need of extra work from home devices.
Energy Efficiency and Your Devices
Typically, modern PCs are much more energy efficient than their older counterparts. While it’s important to keep a device for a significant period of time, it’s also important not to make this ironic. As technological equipment ages it naturally becomes slower and less reliable, drawing on excess power. When a device is under strain from demanding activity, or almost full, it is required to work harder and again, use more energy. In addition to general aging, devices of all types accumulate dirt and dust internally, demanding increased fan usage so they don’t overheat.
There is a fine line between upgrading devices unnecessarily and continuing to draw out their lifespan ironically. We suggest an upgrade every 4 years should be sufficient to ensure you not only benefit from the latest in device security and performance, but also lower your carbon footprint. If roles and responsibilities change to be more technologically intensive it may of course be prudent to upgrade sooner. Think of what happens to old devices in this instance, an unwanted PC could be perfectly suited to an admin only role, or beneficial to the library down the road who don’t have the funds themselves. If you simply can’t think of someone in need of older or surplus devices, there are plenty of responsible IT recycling businesses out there who can safely destroy your data yet save the device and its components from landfill.
A new device will likely have increased memory, storage and battery life, if portable. It should be able to run newer apps and software with ease, being more compatible with the ever evolving requirements of modern programs.
Portable vs Static Devices
From a power consumption perspective, laptops consume up to 80% less power than desktops. There is wide variance in this of course, depending on the exact model purchased and the use case of the device, however laptops add in the remote working capability with much more ease than a desktop.
As one of the USPs of a laptop is to last for a long time on its battery, manufacturers often focus on energy saving displays and don’t install over-inflated components. By the device being more simplistic, it also consumes less power.
Laptops aren’t for everyone, and you’d need to run a company-wide analysis as to how much less travel pollution and power consumption a laptop affords vs those who add extra monitors to their setup, and the processing needs of the individual, let alone literal costs.
Don’t Get Let Down by Your OS
The next puzzle piece in the pursuit of Green IT is what’s on your device. We all know tech changes rapidly, but this isn’t just in the form of snazzy new features or increased security. Operating systems are re-coded over time to be more efficient in themselves. Windows 10 can help reduce power consumption by up to 10% on the previous OS with its Power Throttling features. It also helps speed up start up, so results in saving energy, time and money all in one go – never mind the rest of the new features.
Combining this with Microsoft (formerly Office) 365 enables your users/students/employees, whoever they may be, to share files, communicate and collaborate seamlessly. By using the included cloud storage from One Drive this prevents data from having to be stored on the device itself, filling up space, slowing it down and shortening its lifespan – adding to the sustainability of your choices. With the data all being stored in a Microsoft datacentre, the onus then goes on the tech giant to use their vast resources to install energy efficient initiatives for sustainable power and cooling.
Go Green with M-Tech
We strongly believe in getting the right set up for you. If that’s a Windows 10 and Microsoft 365 integrated solution then that’s great – we’re Microsoft Silver Partners, so highly certified and trusted to consult on, supply and support their products and solutions. If it’s something else entirely then we’ll help you find the right technology to lower your carbon footprint while supporting your organisational goals. Contact us today to see how we can worth together to embrace the future of green IT.