Friday, September 26, 2008

Choose energy efficient hardware for a greener IT department

Start with the star...

The Energy Star logo is a good place to start when it's time to add new hardware to your IT department, or when you're trying to decide which laptops, desktops or servers need to go.

The Energy Star program allows businesses and consumers to find the lowest energy use electronics and appliances in a wide variety of categories. IT departments can check out existing or planned computer equipment on the Energy Star website. It even allows you to check specific upgrades for their impact on the Energy Star.

Another place to check out is the EPEAT website (Electronic Product Environmental Assessment Tool) for desktops, laptops or computer monitors. This program was developed in response to consumer demand for more information about the environmental impact of electronic equipment choices. According to their website,

EPEAT meets the needs of both the purchasing and manufacturing communities. It provides purchasers with a common standard, a way to evaluate continuing environmental improvements, and an easy way to determine which products meet the standard. It also clearly defines the environmental parameters for manufacturers to incorporate into their product design process.

Whenever possible, choose computer equipment with duel or multicore processors. These powerful processors will significantly increase computational and processing power with only a small increase in power use per machine. That could mean less machines are needed, and you'll save on both energy and equipment.

Finally, make sure your power supplies are efficient (some are rated as high as 80% efficiency) and that your systems cooling fans are working well. Choose variable speed fans for more precise energy control.