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Green IT in Practice

Green IT in Practice: How one company is approaching the greening of its IT

Copyright Date: 2010
Edition: 2
Published by: IT Governance Publishing
Pages: 123
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  • Book Info
    Green IT in Practice
    Book Description:

    Green IT in Practice is a practical book to help managers navigate a little more easily through the mass of information surrounding Green IT. Written by Gary Hird, Technical Strategy Manager for the John Lewis Partnership, who has responsibility for progressing Green IT initiatives for John Lewis and Waitrose, and endorsed by Trewin Restorick, Director of the environmental charity Global Action Plan, this key book exudes tried and tested helpful advice, techniques and examples. Chapters cover the link between general Corporate Social Responsibility and Green IT, how to go about constructing appropriate policies and metrics, and thoughts on how to engage with employees and suppliers. Individual case studies on key Green IT initiatives are then discussed in turn, before the book ends with a chapter considering how IT can begin to enable carbon footprint reduction in the organisation as a whole.

    eISBN: 978-1-84928-052-5
    Subjects: Business
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Table of Contents

Export Selected Citations
  1. Front Matter (pp. 1-5)
  2. FOREWORD (pp. 6-7)
    Trewin Restorick

    There is a scientific consensus that we need to act rapidly to cut carbon dioxide emissions if we are to limit the most extreme effects of climate change. The IT sector is in a unique position to act as a catalyst for this change. By implementing simple efficiencies, the sector can reduce its carbon footprint – which currently is virtually the same size as that of the aviation industry. Crucially, the IT sector can play a major role in helping us all move to a low-carbon future by reducing the need for travel and enhancing communications.

    Despite this potential for...

  5. ABOUT THE AUTHOR (pp. 9-9)
  6. ACKNOWLEDGEMENTS (pp. 10-11)
  7. Table of Contents (pp. 12-13)
  8. INTRODUCTION (pp. 14-15)

    There’s a bewildering mass of information to sift through for managers involved with a programme of Green IT work.

    This guide is intended to help you navigate through all that information a little more easily by giving it a structure and by outlining some practical examples of techniques and solutions that IT departments, including ours, have adopted in this area.

    It is not meant to be a detailed technical guide, a long list of statistics, a prescriptive ‘do these 10 things or the earth gets it’ set of laws, or a boast that I know all the answers (I certainly...

  9. CHAPTER 1: WHAT IS GREEN IT? (pp. 16-20)

    ‘Green computing’, like anything with a ‘green’ tag, can be hard to define. The label means different things to different people, and an IT department getting to grips with the subject can find it useful to start by trying to determine exactly what it understands by the term.

    I’ve used the following definition to describe a green programme of IT work:

    Green IT is a collection of strategic and tactical initiatives which either:

    directly reduce the ‘carbon footprint’ of the organisation’s computing operation;

    use the services of IT to help reduce the organisation’s overall carbon footprint;

    incentivise and support greener...

  10. CHAPTER 2: HELP TO GET STARTED (pp. 21-29)

    I can’t recommend highly enough the benefits of engaging early with those in your organisation responsible for Corporate Social Responsibility (CSR). Yet many of the IT staff from other companies I have spoken to over the past few years do not seem to have done this to any significant degree when getting to grips with the topic.

    In the John Lewis Partnership (JLP), I have been very lucky right from the very beginning of the green programme of work. We have an excellent CSR capability and our then Head of Corporate Social Responsibility, Nick Monger-Godfrey, and his successor Gemma Lacey,...


    As companies start to formulate Green IT policies, some of these are being driven from a top-down approach and some are bottom-up. But most involve a combination of the two, and I believe that this is the most practical way to proceed.

    A top-down Green IT policy might be a bold statement, something like:Our organisation’s IT will be carbon-neutral within three years. It might be directly related to a company’s mission statement to reduce its footprint by a certain percentage by 2020 compared to a 2000 baseline figure, say. The difficulty is in translating that high-level objective into the...


    This chapter examines each stage of the design–procure–use–dispose lifecycle in turn and gives for each one a few brief examples of Green IT issues and considerations. I’ve concentrated for this chapter on elements of Green IT not covered elsewhere in the book. For example, virtualisation technologies aren’t covered here under ‘use’ because they merit a whole chapter later in the book.

    Programmers who have been around since the early days of corporate IT are sometimes heard to lament that we’ve lost the discipline of efficient coding. It was necessary back then to inventively squeeze as much processing...


    We found from the start of our Green IT work that an overwhelming majority of colleagues, both within and outside the IT department, were highly supportive of these initiatives, happy to do what they could to help, and able to translate that support into practical action. It may be that we’re a lot luckier than most, since the John Lewis Partnership is an employee-owned retail business, very conscious of the need to only use what we need. (When I joined the company in 1989, one of the first things I noticed was stickers underneath the light switches withSwitch Off!...


    As discussed earlier, it’s only natural to be cynical of the motives of some IT suppliers when it comes to Green IT. I felt when I wrote the first edition of this book that there had been perhaps a little too much of a backlash against ‘greenwash’, ‘green froth’, call it what you will. Snake-oil salesmen undoubtedly exist in IT and always will, but it’s equally true that some IT suppliers are doing great work and it makes very good sense to engage with them on the topic.

    Once a year at the John Lewis Partnership the Directors responsible for...

  15. CHAPTER 7: VIRTUALISATION (pp. 74-84)

    Of the Green IT projects we took forward within the John Lewis Partnership, server virtualisation was the earliest big success. The right environmental course of action was also shown to be an excellent one commercially. We were shortlisted byComputingmagazine for their ‘Green IT project of the year’ award in 2007 for this work.

    Like most IT departments, we need to devote much of our time on projects and tasks to keeping the lights on. However, we also have a regular forum of technical architects which tracks emerging and maturing technologies and helps steer our IT strategy, and in...

  16. CHAPTER 8: GREEN PRINTING (pp. 85-89)

    Paper is far more expensive than the printing process, consuming 10 times the energy, according to Gartner.11The issue for most companies, therefore, is the volume of printing (Gartner also reckon that a typical office worker prints 1,000 pages a month). The ‘paperless office’ never really happened, and it seems that all we really managed instead is ‘transient paper’, where we still all print a lot but just don’t keep the evidence. There is also the issue of the sheer number of printing devices a company has – usually significantly more than it needs.

    In 2007, we embarked on a...


    This section describes some technologies and techniques for reducing the power used by desktops. Please bear in mind throughout, though, that a PC that has been turned off still consumes some energy: it needs to be unplugged to not use power.

    In 2007, and unrelated to our green work, one of our teams was evaluating products for patch management as an add-on to the Microsoft System Management Server (SMS) software which we use to manage our desktop PC estate.

    Two products, SMSWakeup and NightWatchman, make up the patch management solution from a company called 1E.12The products function independently of...

  18. CHAPTER 10: GREEN DATACENTRES (pp. 93-100)

    Staying on the previous chapter’s subject of power consumption costs, our main datacentre at Bracknell costs us approximately £265,000 per annum, and our secondary computer room facility at the Victoria head office takes that up to a combined annual power cost for both datacentres of approximately £330,000.

    IT is clearly a major user of electricity, but it is still the case that very few IT departments (including us) pay their own electricity bill directly. There is a resultant danger that IT purchasing decisions can be made as though we were ‘buying a car knowing someone else will pay for the...

  19. CHAPTER 11: IT AS A GREEN ENABLER (pp. 101-109)

    This is the section of the book where we allow ourselves to briefly stop self-flagellating, worrying about IT’s own carbon emissions, and turn our attention instead to some ideas for using IT to help reduce the other 98% or so of the organisation’s carbon footprint. This is ‘IT as saint rather than IT as sinner’; a phrase I first heard at a CIES conference15on Green IT in 2008, and have enjoyed repeating ever since. Perhaps the carbon footprint of IT will even actually need to go up a little to make it all happen (‘silicon offsetting’). To get to...

  20. APPENDIX 1: GREEN IT ACTION LIST (pp. 110-119)
  21. APPENDIX 2: FURTHER RESOURCES (pp. 120-121)
  22. ITG RESOURCES (pp. 122-123)