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The Advantages of Green Computing For Businesses and Individuals

Green computing is a rising trend that looks to establish itself as the preferred IT philosophy -- not because techies are tree-huggers, but because green solutions are affecting their bottom lines. Many businesses today are asking the questions: "What is green computing?" and "Why is green computing so important to society?''

What is Green Computing?
Today, the term green computing embodies the entire life cycle of technologies, including research, manufacturing, use, and disposal. Green IT takes a much more holistic approach than it once did, especially as companies are brainstorming solutions to cut costs and increase revenue.

Why is Green Computing Important?
Green computing benefits the environment. Reduced energy usage from green computing techniques translates into lower carbon dioxide emissions, stemming from a reduction in the fossil fuel used in power plants and transportation. Conserving resources means less energy is required to produce, use, and dispose of products. Put simply, saving energy and resources saves money.

The advantages to green computing are realized on both large and small scales. Green technologies are available for an entire organization or for a single employee's workstation. Unfortunately, many companies and business owners are stalled by the initially larger investment in green technology, and fail to realize the long-term benefits and cost savings. As such, let's examine adjustments that can be made regarding green computing and IT support, big or small.

System-Wide Green Computing
When investigating green alternatives for your entire organization, consider technologies like cloud computing. Basically, cloud computing eliminates the need for hardware like servers. Also known as virtualization, cloud computing replaces hardware with "virtual" servers or servers in "the cloud." Essentially, cloud computing allows companies to reduce their need for big, bulky, energy-consuming servers by relocating them on the Internet. Cloud computing may also be used in areas like networking, data storage, software applications, and operating systems, again, potentially reducing the need for hardware. As a result, businesses stand to save a lot of time, money, and resources on maintenance and support by switching to cloud computing set-ups.

Individual Green Computing
There are many other green computing techniques at the personal computer level. For instance, power management can be an easy and effective means of saving green while conserving energy. While many operating systems come with power-saving settings, there are also a variety of products that monitor and adjust energy levels to increase performance and reduce wasted energy. For instance, some surge protectors can sense when a master component (like a computer) is turned off, and respond by cutting off power to any peripheral machines, such as like printers and scanners.

System-Wide and Individual Green Computing
Finally, green computing initiatives can reap savings in both big and small ways. Technologies that save paper, like email, can have a huge impact on costs as well as the environment. As companies and employees develop methods and habits of conservation, simple practices like emailing memos or printing in smaller fonts can bring instant results. Additionally, policies like telecommuting or teleconferences pose additional benefits by reducing the amount of carbon dioxide produced by travel.

Green computing is quickly emerging as the most effective means of utilizing technology. No matter whether your organization's needs are big or small, green IT can reduce costs, increase productivity, and even do something good for the environment.

~Richard McNeal, 2009
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