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.

5 comments
A.Garcia
A.Garcia

Would have been nice if you listed who makes those Smart Plug Power Strips or where they can be found for $15.

1PatD
1PatD

I agree! Another way to go green and saves alot of money and not use emissions on a daily business basis, is by using products like http://try.nefsis.com It is a huge step in 'greening' the office, is a simple and economical way.

alexisgarcia72
alexisgarcia72

I encourage my users and clients to keep a good green initiative. BTW our firm has an strong green knowledge and we are working hard to save the planet and this save lot of $$$. Here some examples: - all our equipment is energy saving compilant. - hibernation is enabled on all pcs. we encourage users to use hibernation when possible - I tight the energy saving features on computers: 10 min monitor off, 1 hour hdd off, 90 minutes standby, 3 hours hibernation. - all our printers and copy machines have extended power features in place. all printers go to sleep after 30 min of inactivity. - we shutdown a lot of servers using vmware esx.... with virtualization we have less phisical boxes - we installed duplex trays in all our printers. the default print settings now for all users is duplex mode - we setup economic print cartridge printing as default for all users. this save lot of $$ too because we figure it out how toners now can be used 50% more time - we attach to our signature a message indicating to avoid printing the emails if not extremely necessary. - i purchased a "killawatt" device where we check power consumption of units 100% turned on and the save device in sleep mode. You will be amazed when you see some turned off devices who still requires 10watts!! - we installed posters in copy rooms, fax rooms, kitchen and general areas indicating we are opened to ideas for a green initiative!

Sterling chip Camden
Sterling chip Camden

Definitely big savings there. Why drive to work if you don't really need to?

ssharkins
ssharkins

Thanks for that great list -- and most offices are implementing those changes.