Eight resolutions for a greener 2010

Start down the sustainability path with some relatively simple baby steps

So the Copenhagen Climate Change Conference was kind of a bust. Sure, I'm disappointed that the countries of the world can't come together to set targets to stave off the global threat of climate change -- though like InfoWorld Editor in Chief Eric Knorr, I can't say I'm too surprised. There are too many cooks in the kitchen with their own self-serving -- and arguably shortsighted -- interests. If aliens ever invade, humanity will be enslaved long before the world's political leaders even decide whether the entrée at the Alien Threat Containment Summit opening-night banquet should be chicken or beef.

The world leaders' inability to settle on any kind of GHG-reduction targets is shortsighted for a couple of reasons. First, given the consensus in the global scientific community that GHGs pose a threat to the environment and to human health, one would hope nations of the world could forge some kind of plan for the benefit of the planet and humankind.

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Second, setting global sights on reducing the planet's carbon footprint generates a wealth of opportunity in the business world, motivating companies to save through conservation and profit from developing and selling new (as well as existing) products and services. The latter can include clean energy innovations, certainly, and the use of sustainable materials -- but if you've been following my blog, you know it also means information technology innovations, which will play a significant role in helping companies and countries alike conserve resources while combating GHGs.

On that note -- and in the spirit of the season -- I'd like to suggest a list of green IT new year's resolutions for your organization to consider adopting in 2010.

1. Deploy PC power management. I've long advocated PC power management, as I consider it one the simplest, most sensible measures to reduce energy waste; plus, it has an easy-to-calculate ROI, especially if your local utility will help foot the bill.

The PC power management option that's best for you depends largely on the size and needs of your organization. Options run the gamut from free open source software and features built into Windows to enterprise-oriented software packages that do only power management or also a range of other tasks such as patch management.

2. Look for the EPEAT label. Hardware refreshes are pretty much inevitable in the business world, especially if you're contemplating moving to Windows 7. If that's your situation, consider machines that have earned at least a Bronze EPEAT (Electronic Product Environmental Assessment Tool) -- or better yet, Silver or Gold. If you're not familiar with EPEAT, it's a system in which manufacturers declare their products' conformance to various environmental criteria, including energy efficiency, compliance with ROHS, and design for long-term use and safe end-of-life disposal. The energy efficiency and extended life of the machines should offset any upfront "green premiums."

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