In 2016, businesses all over the world are emphasizing sustainability and reduced waste. One specific way they’re doing this is through the use of “Green IT processes.”
Here are a few things you need to know in order to get started:
1. Green IT is Loosely Defined
It may seem strange to have such a specific term without a concrete definition, but Green IT is actually loosely defined at this point in time. The reason is that every business views it through a unique lens. Here are a couple good definitions, though, to help you get a better grasp of the concept:
– Margaret Rouse of TechTarget puts it like this: “Green IT aims to minimize the negative impact of IT operations on the environment by designing, manufacturing, operating and disposing of computers and computer-related products in an environmentally-friendly manner.”
– Consultant Dan McCarthy explains it this way: “Green IT is a set of practical measures designed to ensure that Information Technology is developed, delivered and used in a way that is environmentally friendly, sustainable and energy efficient.”
Whichever semantics you prefer, Green IT is essentially designed to make IT processes more eco-friendly and sustainable for businesses of all sizes. But don’t get hung up on the definition. Instead, focus on what’s happening beneath he surface.
2. The Role of Cloud Computing
While many argue that Green IT has been around since the early 1990s, when the EPA launched Energy Star, the real transformation occurred more recently when cloud computing entered the picture.
According to Christopher Mines, a Senior VP and Research Director for Forrester Research, cloud technology has addressed two important elements of Green IT: resource efficiency and energy efficiency.
For starters, the pay-per-use nature of cloud computing results in more effective adoption behaviors and drives efficiencies in other areas of business. This leads to better life cycle management down the road.
Another wonderful thing about cloud technology is that it’s so flexible. Different businesses can use software solutions in unique areas to address very specific issues. Just check out some of these success stories to get an idea of how effective and versatile the cloud can be. From increasing packaging and installation process efficiency to decreasing maintenance and time to market for new product development, cloud computing plays a vital role in Green IT.
3. How Data Centers Fit Into the Picture
With cloud computing and virtualization in the picture, businesses are able to reduce their dependence on physical servers. This leads to numerous green benefits. Because less equipment is required to run various workloads, data centers demand less electricity and human interaction. Overall, data centers become exponentially more efficient and no longer drain a company’s resources.
4. Focus on Cleaner Power Sources
The majority of electricity and power in the average office, warehouse, or production facility comes from power stations that run on fuels such as coal and oil. The issue – as you’re well aware – is that this process produces a ton of greenhouse gas. With Green IT, these dirty sources of power are replaced with clean sources like solar, water, and wind. Not only do clean power sources produce just a fraction of the volume of harmful greenhouse gases, but they’re also renewable.
How Will You Go Green?
There’s no manual or step-by-step guide to pursuing Green IT. It looks different for every organization and you must decide what your business is going to do in order to place a bigger emphasis on both short-term and long-term sustainability.
Should you choose to pursue Green IT, the benefits will far outweigh the initial costs.
Is Wood Burning Sustainable For Your Home?
Wood is a classic heat source, whether we think about people gathered around a campfire or wood stoves in old cabins, but is it a sustainable source of heat in modern society? The answer is an ambivalent one. In certain settings, wood heat is an ideal solution, but for the majority of homes, it isn’t especially suitable. So what’s the tipping point?
Wood heat is ideal for small homes on large properties, for individuals who can gather their own wood, and who have modern wood burning ovens. A green approach to wood heat is one of biofuel on the smallest of scales.
Is Biofuel Green?
One of the reasons that wood heat is a source of so much divide in the eco-friendly community is that it’s a renewable resource and renewable has become synonymous with green. What wood heat isn’t, though, is clean or healthy. It lets off a significant amount of carbon and particulates, and trees certainly don’t grow as quickly as it’s consumed for heat.
Of course, wood is a much less harmful source of heat than coal, but for scientists interested in developing green energy sources, it makes more sense to focus on solar and wind power. Why, then, would they invest in improved wood burning technology?
Solar and wind technology are good large-scale energy solutions, but when it comes to small-space heating, wood has its own advantages. First, wood heat is in keeping with the DIY spirit of homesteaders and tiny house enthusiasts. These individuals are more likely to be driven to gather their own wood and live in small spaces that can be effectively heated as such.
Wood heat is also very effective on an individual scale because it requires very little infrastructure. Modern wood stoves made of steel rather than cast iron are built to EPA specifications, and the only additional necessary tools include a quality axe, somewhere to store the wood, and an appropriate covering to keep it dry. And all the wood can come from your own land.
Wood heat is also ideal for people living off the grid or in cold areas prone to frequent power outages, as it’s constantly reliable. Even if the power goes out, you know that you’ll be able to turn up the heat. That’s important if you live somewhere like Maine where the winters can get exceedingly cold. People have even successfully heated a 40’x34’ home with a single stove.
Benefits Of Biomass
The ultimate question regarding wood heat is whether any energy source that’s dangerous on the large scale is acceptable on a smaller one. For now, the best answer is that with a growing population and limited progress towards “pure” green energy, wood should remain a viable option, specifically because it’s used on a limited scale. Biomass heat is even included in the UK’s Renewable Heat Initiative and minor modifications can make it even more sustainable.
Wood stoves, when embraced in conjunction with pellet stoves, geothermal heating, and masonry heaters, all more efficient forms of sustainable heat, should be part of a modern energy strategy. Ultimately, we’re headed in the direction of diversified energy – all of it cleaner – and wood has a place in the big picture, serving small homes and off-the-grid structures, while solar, wind, and other large-scale initiatives fuel our cities.
7 Benefits You Should Consider Giving Your Energy Employees
As an energy startup, you’re always looking to offer the most competitive packages to entice top-tier talent. This can be tough, especially when trying to put something together that’s both affordable but also has perks that employees are after.
After all, this is an incredibly competitive field and one that’s constantly doing what it can to stay ahead. However, that’s why I’m bringing you a few helpful benefits that could be what bolsters you ahead of your competition. Check them out below:
One benefit commonly overlooked by companies is offering your employees financial advising services, which could help them tremendously in planning for their long-term goals with your firm. This includes anything from budgeting and savings plans to recommendations for credit repair services and investments. Try to take a look at if your energy company could bring on an extra person or two specifically for this role, as it will pay off tremendously regarding retention and employee happiness.
While often included in a lot of health benefits packages, offering your employees life insurance could be an excellent addition to your current perks. Although seldom used, life insurance is a small sign that shows you care about the life of their family beyond just office hours. Additionally, at such a low cost, this is a pretty simple aspect to add to your packages. Try contacting some brokers or insurance agents to see if you can find a policy that’s right for your firm.
Dedicated Time To Enjoy Their Hobbies
Although something seen more often in startups in Silicon Valley, having dedicated office time for employees to enjoy their passions is something that has shown great results. Whether it be learning the piano or taking on building a video game, having your team spend some time on the things they truly enjoy can translate to increased productivity. Why? Because giving them the ability to better themselves, they’ll in turn bring that to their work as well.
The Ability To Work Remotely
It’s no secret that a lot of employers despise the idea of letting their employees work remotely. However, it’s actually proven to hold some amazing benefits. According to Global Workplace Analytics, 95% of employers that allow their employees to telework reported an increased rate of retention, saving on both turnover and sick days. Depending on the needs of each individual role, this can be a strategy to implement either whenever your team wants or on assigned days. Either way, this is one perk almost everyone will love.
Even though it’s mandated for companies with over 50 employees, offering health insurance regardless is arguably a benefit well received across the board. In fact, as noted in research compiled by KFF, 28.6% of employers with less than 50 people still offered health care. Why is that the case? Because it shows you care about their well-being, and know that a healthy employee is one that doesn’t have to worry about astronomical medical bills.
Unlimited Time Off
This is a perk that almost no employer offers but should be regarded as something to consider. According to The Washington Post, only 1-2% of companies offer unlimited vacation, which it’s easy to see why. A true “unlimited vacation” program could be a firm’s worse nightmare, with employees skipping out every other week to enjoy themselves. However, with the right model in place that rewards hard work with days off, your employees will absolutely adore this policy.
A Full Pantry
Finally, having a pantry full of food can be one perk that’s not only relatively inexpensive but also adds to the value of the workplace. As noted by USA Today, when surveying employees who had snacks versus those who didn’t, 67% of those who did reported they were “very happy” with their work life. You’d be surprised at how much of a difference this could make, especially when considering the price point. Consider adding a kitchen to your office if you haven’t already, and always keep the snacks and drinks everyone wants fully stocked. Doing so will increase morale tremendously.
Compiling a great package for your energy company is going to take some time in looking at what you can afford versus what’s the most you can offer. While it might mean cutting back in other areas, having a workforce that feels like you genuinely want to take care of them can take you far. And with so many different benefits to include in your energy company’s package, which one is your favorite? Comment with your answers below!