By Aleks Szymanski
Outdated office technology is often left as it is, only being replaced when it finally dies or becomes utterly obsolete, as many business owners tend to avoid the cost to upgrade or change their technology.
What these businesses may not realize is that not only is this going to cost them more money in the long run, but there is also the environmental impact of outdated technology to consider.
Many businesses believe they have 'green credentials,' when in fact there is more they can do to reduce their carbon footprint.
Only a handful of countries -- Iceland, Norway, Sweden and Switzerland -- have extremely low CO2-per-kilowatt hour emissions in server rooms, something that we should all be aspiring to (though it is worth bearing in mind that this is partly due to their colder climates, meaning that the server room does not have to work as hard to stay cool).
One of the easiest ways to make your server room more environmentally friendly is to improve cooling. Many server rooms mix hot and cold air which reduces the effectiveness of the cooling system. You can fix this by implementing improved airflow management systems, such as airflow panels, blanking panels and server rack baffles to distribute hot air away from racks, or to prevent hot server exhaust air from circulating back to the front of the rack. Not only does this make the cooling more productive, but it also allows CRAC units to operate more efficiently.
Thin clients also have a longer lifespan and are RoHS compliant. This means that they meet the regulation regarding the restriction of the use of certain hazardous substances in electrical and electronic equipment -- and can therefore be recycled.
Even more outdated are cathode ray tube (CRT) monitors. While there aren’t many businesses still using CRT monitors, replacing them with LCD screens will generate far less heat and consume less energy.
Bear in mind when upgrading that CRT monitors contain materials that are potentially dangerous unless treated, such as lead, barium and mercury. There are a number of facilities that will recycle these monitors free of charge, or you could donate them to charity.
However, despite this, many offices still refuse to let go of printers, copiers and fax machines, meaning that the average office worker is still using 10,000 sheets of paper each year.
Traditional fax machines are the worst offenders. Unlike printers and copy machines, they are rarely turned off -- in fact, a single fax machine powered up 24 hours a day results in 200 kg of CO2 emission.
If your business cannot operate without fax, cloud fax is the best possible option: No paper waste, no ink, no maintenance and much lower electricity usage. Ditching traditional fax in favor of a cloud fax service saves time, money and impacts to the environment.
Millions of printer cartridges needlessly end up in landfill every year. Each cartridge becomes approximately 3 pounds of solid waste sitting in a landfill and can take up to 450 years to decompose. Businesses such as Cartridge World recycle and refill cartridges for a fraction of the cost of buying a new cartridge -- so for me, making this simple change is a no-brainer.
Aleks Szymanski CEO, Scrypt. Inc. has spent 10 years harnessing document exchange solutions to help organizations eliminate paper and improve business processes. Today it provides online fax services for many industries from Financial fax services to Healthcare.