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Green technology: drive incremental changes

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High technology products are something we all take for granted. We switch them on, use them – and generally leave them on, relying on their “standby” and advanced features to save energy and electricity.

Keith Anderson, COO: Axiz, says that this is why it’s not enough to push technology companies alone to develop energy-efficient and “green” hardware. Each of us has to change our mindset – thinking well beyond tomorrow; about the world we will be leaving behind for our children.
“What most people don’t realise is that the electrical and electronic goods you have in your home and office have already impacted on the environment before they’re even taken out their boxes. At every stage of their lifecycle – from design and manufacturing to transporting them to your workplace, they leave their own carbon footprint on our world. This makes responsible use of them imperative,” says Anderson.
“While technology companies are already in the process of rethinking their consumer production policies in terms of design and production, we will only see these changes able to be implemented in years to come. This means our focus now as manufacturers, distributors and end users has to be on what we personally can do – how changing our mindset, and effecting incremental changes in our homes and offices in order to make a collective difference to preserving our environment.”
With UNEP (the United Nations Environment Programme) recently reporting that approximately 50 million tons of waste are produced by the world each year, Anderson says that each of us needs to be leading the drive to green technology and energy-efficient computing.
“While the profile of the environment has been lifted by personalities like Al Gore and Leonardo Di Caprio, each of us as consumers needs to help the process – choosing which brands and companies to support based on their environmental policies,” says Anderson.
Changing mindsets changes behaviour – one of the most critical roles of a CIO in today’s world according to Anderson.
“As final decision–makers in terms of procurement, CIOs need to look at the carbon footprint they personally are creating as a direct result of their network infrastructure decisions. They need to support environmentally-friendly vendors, and ensure their office networks are environmentally-friendly too.”
Above and beyond corporate procurement, CIOs also need to be putting company policies in place to make each and every user more conscious of their impact on the environment – and reducing this impact wherever they can.
“Simple things like getting everyone to use the batteries on their laptops once they’re charged and to switch their equipment off when they go home as opposed to leaving it in standby will make an incremental difference in the office. Not only will your electricity bill be less, but by creating an awareness of the impact of one’s actions, this awareness will be taken home and shared resulting in the TV and satellite PVR no longer being left in standby mode either. This is how ‘incremental’ translates into ‘incredible’.”
Beyond creating this type of office culture, Anderson also suggests that CIOs brainstorm environmental programmes and projects with employees to help spread this awareness. Axiz is to launch its own sustainable schools project this month, for example. The idea behind the project is to make everyone more aware of the carbon footprint they’re leaving on our world on a daily basis.
“By creating a simple carbon credit calculator spreadsheet that children and their teachers can use, we’re hoping to show them the impact something like leaving a classroom light on all day has on the environment. If classes are able to reduce their footprint by the most in the month, they’ll stand a chance to win fantastic prizes – with our environment emerging the ultimate winner,” says Anderson.
When it comes to green technology and energy-efficient computing then, it is clear that there is no longer time for apathy in the workplace. All companies – no matter their industry – need to become pro-active participants in protecting our world and her resources. We cannot afford to wait for others to change how their technology functions to save energy; we have to find innovative ways that each of us can make an incremental difference, and so go on to save the world one workstation at a time.