How IT professionals can promote sustainability in the workplace

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As green technology advances, companies are achieving carbon-neutrality goals while lowering their utility costs. High energy-consuming industries can adopt sustainable devices and practices to shrink their carbon footprints. The information technology (IT) sector has long-standing challenges with electricity use, limiting its eco-friendliness.

Professionals in the industry can promote sustainability in the workplace, increasing their customer appeal and reducing ecological degradation. Improving the eco-consciousness of IT practices can significantly benefit workers and the planet.

The importance of sustainability in the IT sector

Sustainability has exceeded its function as a buzzword and become a way of life. Decreasing IT-related greenhouse gas emissions is essential to the success of a company and the conservation of natural resources. IT’s a high reliance on electricity fuels sustainability challenges.

The internet uses nearly 70 billion kilowatt-hours of energy annually. About 45% of the IT sector’s electricity use derives from manufacturers and the remaining 55% from users. While many individuals take the initiative and lower their energy-related emissions, they expect companies to do the same.

This year, nearly 60.3% of America’s energy supply came from fossil fuels. During combustion, these fuels release greenhouse gases into the atmosphere. As its composition changes, the efficiency of Earth’s temperature control process decreases.

The atmosphere naturally absorbs sunlight, creates heat, warms Earth’s surface, gathers unnecessary energy, and sends it to space. When greenhouse gases invade it, they increase the sunlight-to-heat exchange rate. They also keep additional energy in the atmosphere instead of sending it away from the planet.

Over time, greenhouse gas effects raise the global temperature. The increase causes climate change, degrading the ecosystem and essential resources. Human-induced alterations are depleting fossil fuel supplies, and, at this rate, the oil and gas supply will diminish by 2060.

IT relies heavily on fossil fuels to power data centres, manufacture computers, store information, and more. Without these features, the IT industry would collapse. Finding sustainable alternatives to fossil fuel uses is crucial for the industry’s longevity.

Program Computers for Sleep Mode

Professionals can promote sustainability in the workplace by enhancing their energy efficiency. They can program their computers for sleep mode, reducing electricity use after they finish their shift. When electronic devices remain plugged into outlets around the clock, they constantly consume energy.

Over time, this energy demand increases a company’s portion of greenhouse gas emissions. Individuals can increase their sustainability by efficiently programming their devices and connecting them to power-limiting systems.

Install Smart Power Strips

Workers can connect their electronics to smart power strips, decreasing unnecessary energy pulling. They connect to conventional outlets and read the charge on each connected appliance. Additionally, the strips identify when an electronic device is in use, turning the power supply on to improve efficiency.

Use Greener Materials

IT professionals can also shrink their carbon footprints by using electronics made from bio-based polyurethane. Conventional, hard plastics produce high greenhouse gas emissions in the manufacturing process. They also limit the recyclability of various electronics.

Companies are replacing hard plastic computer parts with bio-based polyurethane, increasing their sustainability. They also create rollers and gel pads for printing and computer mouse support out of the green material. Enhancing the eco-friendliness of computer components can reduce the IT industry’s surface-level and atmospheric pollution production.

Install Smart Thermostats

Cooling systems use nearly 40% of a data centre’s energy supply. Eliminating overheating is essential to the efficiency of mining. When computers become too warm, they may slow down or crash, losing valuable information.

IT professionals can install smart thermostats in their workplaces to reduce greenhouse gas emissions from air conditioning. The devices access real-time weather readings, adjusting indoor temperatures for optimal energy efficiency. They also use motion detection sensors, collecting information on a building’s occupancy.

With more workers in a building, the temperature will increase. Smart thermostats can evaluate the shift in occupancy and adjust indoor temperatures. Professionals can further improve the sustainability of their workplaces by connecting energy-efficient devices to renewable power sources.

Using Solar Energy

Installing solar panels on an IT building’s roof can significantly reduce energy-related greenhouse gas emissions. Apple is leading the renewable electricity tech movement. It reached 100% clean energy consumption in 2018, gathering power from on- and off-site sources.

Similarly, Facebook and Google set carbon-neutrality goals powered by renewable energy sources. When IT professionals transfer their electricity reliance away from fossil fuels towards solar, they also decrease their utility costs. In 2020, solar became the most cost-effective energy form, improving companies’ savings and environmental conservation.

Work Remotely

Professionals may also decrease an IT building’s emissions by working from home. When individuals work from home, they reduce energy to pull in the workplace.

Remote workers also promote sustainability by decreasing transportation emissions. In the U.S., nearly 29% of emissions come from the transportation sector. Individuals can reduce their environmental impact by working from home.

Where to start?

IT professionals can begin instilling sustainable change by educating their work colleagues. Many individuals are unaware of the steps they can take to limit greenhouse gas emissions in their careers. They can also talk to their employers about installing large-scale, energy-efficient devices to shrink the company’s carbon footprint.

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