Hardware

Two easy ways to green your client's office

Susan Harkins shares a couple of inexpensive and easy changes that will help your IT consulting clients join the green movement.

Going green is more than a trend now — it seems to be a true movement. Your IT consulting clients might not be thinking in green terms yet, but you can point them in the right direction.

There are a couple of easy going-green projects that clients might embrace. Ensure them that costs will be minimal, their employees will respect their efforts, and they'll enjoy a warm fuzzy feeling. The easiest place to start is with office space.

Teach users the benefits of hibernation

Show users how to configure their systems to take advantage of energy-saving settings. They can set their monitors to turn off after a specific period of inactivity — 15 to 20 minutes is a reasonable. They can do the same thing with their hard drives by enabling hibernation mode. In this case, 20 to 30 minutes of inactivity is reasonable.

Hibernation mode stores everything that's going on when the system switches to hibernation mode in a file named hiberfil.sys. However, hibernation isn't a good choice for everyone. The hiberfil.sys file can be large; the problem with this is that Windows doesn't delete the file when the system wakes up, so that large file is always present. Hibernation will reduce energy consumption, but sometimes there is a hit to performance. So, only enable hibernation mode if your system has plenty of memory to accommodate the large sys file.

Best of all, the cost required to make these changes is $0.00.

Use smart plug power strips

Purchase smart plug power strips for printers, monitors, calculators, and other electronic devices that require electricity only when they're in use. These power strips reduce carbon output and are an easy change, even with their minimal cost (on average, you'll about $15.00 per strip).

On the other hand, hibernation mode isn't a good choice for everybody.

What do you get out of it?

For better or worse, you won't get much out of your initiatives to green your client's office space since most users can install strips and make enable hibernation mode themselves. A few clients might be willing to let you handle the process, but enriching client relationships might be its sole benefit for you.

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About

Susan Sales Harkins is an IT consultant, specializing in desktop solutions. Previously, she was editor in chief for The Cobb Group, the world's largest publisher of technical journals.

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