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    What is “Green IT”? Oki’s John Ross Defines the topic taking over the industry

    By John Ross

    I tend to find that trying to define the subject under discussion is critical to understanding the movement toward Green that is shifting the tech industry. “Green IT” can mean a lot of different things to different people, companies and regulators. So, what exactly is “Green IT”?

    As this is aimed at an IT literate community, the first place most people go to for a definition is the Internet. If you Google “Green IT” the following Wikipedia entry will appear:

    From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

    Green computing, green IT or ICT Sustainability, refers to environmentally sustainable computing or IT. In the article Harnessing Green IT: Principles and Practices, San Murugesan defines the field of green computing as “the study and practice of designing, manufacturing, using, and disposing of computers, servers, and associated subsystems—such as monitors, printers, storage devices, and networking and communications systems — efficiently and effectively with minimal or no impact on the environment.”[1] The goals of green computing are similar to green chemistry; reduce the use of hazardous materials, maximize energy efficiency during the product’s lifetime, and promote the recyclability or biodegradability of defunct products and factory waste. Research continues into key areas such as making the use of computers as energy-efficient as possible, and designing algorithms and systems for efficiency-related computer technologies.


    Therefore, Green IT is not an add on, nor is it an afterthought or marketing spin. It is a total approach to design, manufacture, use and disposal of IT products efficiently and effectively with as little environmental impact as possible.  There are, of course, a number of legal compliance considerations to be taken into account both locally and globally regarding carbon emissions, disposal of hazardous waste, recycling of plastics, the use of hazardous substances and many more. But how much of what IT companies do is self generated? How much of it is very recent? And, how much of it is ingrained in their company philosophy?

    Let’s take Oki as an example. Within Oki there is, and has been for decades, a vision and policy to drive down the environmental impact of IT products by smart design, continuous improvement, provision of software within the box to allow the end user customers to manage and control their print output as well as an understanding of the legal compliances that are required.

    However, Oki has always strived to go further than that in developing Digital LED printing technology when others were happy using laser technology, the inclusion of automatic duplex printing, and latterly automatic duplex scanning in MFP units, as standard to save on paper while at the same time reducing waste, carbon emissions and increasing manufacturing efficiencies.

    Thus, we must look at Green IT not only as a matter of technology, but as a matter of company ideology. Over the next few weeks, we’ll be posting about relevant issues pertaining to Green IT in a bid to increase general awareness on the topic, so make sure you check back regularly!

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