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Cutting on ‘green’ costs is false economy

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Organisations that are tempted to cut back on green PC initiatives as part of wider IT cost-cutting efforts may find themselves out of pocket in the near- to mid-term. 

According to Gartner, being green actually saves money and alleviates some of the pressure on IT budgets.
“Faced with an economic downturn, many organisations tend to cut back on soft programmes – such as green efforts – as a cost saving measure,” saus Steve Kleynhans, research vice-president at Gartner. “However, companies need to pursue these low-risk initiatives as they often provide quick returns that are especially attractive in a cost-cutting environment.
“Green PC initiatives typically do not add significantly to ongoing operational costs, and the small upfront costs associated with them are usually easily recovered 12 to 18 months after the programme begins,” Kleynhans adds.
Companies should continue to move forward with green PC initiatives that began in 2007 and accelerate certain programs, particularly those that deliver power savings, so that organisational efficiencies can have an impact on the budget as soon as possible.
Gartner’s has identified four key areas where green PC initiatives can lead to cost savings:
* Look for eco-friendly labels on new PCs: Switching to a more eco-friendly model can reduce power consumption by 20% or more and usually carries only a very small premium (typically less than $20 per desktop). If an organisation cuts back on new PC procurement, then switching the remaining new purchases to systems carrying these new eco-credentials will usually have no negative impact on operations but will lower energy costs.
* Green really can save money: Putting machines into a low power state when not in use is a low risk, but a highly effective change to a PC fleet because it costs little or nothing (typically less than $10 a year) to implement and reduces energy costs from more than $75 a year to approximately $18 a year. Concerns about patch installation are easily addressed by modern power-state management tools.
* There’s gold in old machines: Good PC disposal programmes become even more critical in the event of a business downturn. When properly disposed of, older equipment has value that can help pay for newer, more-efficient systems. System recycling is the preferable solution but even machines beyond refurbishment will have value based on parts and embedded recyclable materials.
* Efficient users tend to be green users: The most efficient way of fulfilling a business process can often be the "greenest." Programmes that encourage the reduction of travel and commuting may require a minor uplift in technology spending, but are also likely to improve workers’ productivity and attitudes. Reducing the printing and distribution of paper will not only reduce environmental waste but typically will speed up business processes.