Introducing “Green” to Projects
There is a growing trend in IT organizations to reduce the environmental footprints that are typically generated from large enterprise IT project initiatives. To achieve this goal, a group of prominent IT organizations (HP, Dell, Microsoft, IBM, and others) has merged under the banner The Green Grid to promote energy efficiency in data centers and business computing ecosystems. The Green Grid’s focus is on three key areas:
1. Reduction in the use of hazardous materials
Computers, by their very nature, contain a mix of electronic components, various metals (such as copper, bronze, lead, mercury, cadmium aluminum), and plastics (for keyboards, monitors, and towers) containing flame retardant resins. Their internal wiring and printed circuit boards may contain polychlorinated biphenyls (PCBs). The glass of monitors may contain trace amounts of lead. All these elements are known to be potential carcinogens and as such, require specific methods to ensure their proper disposal. The Green Grid consortium is working with both government and environmental agencies across the globe to reduce the impact of these hazardous materials.
2. Optimization of energy efficiency
IT organizations have been pioneers in the areas of telecommuting and videoconferencing, as well as in maintaining project and system documentation electronically. These initiatives themselves do not contribute to the optimization of energy efficiency, but the by-product of their use by organizations reduces fossil fuel consumption, a major factor in the depletion of natural resources. Because IT systems and data centers consume large amounts of electric power to keep their systems cool, organizations are looking at their “green initiatives” from a strategic business perspective.In Gartner’s 2007 Symposium/ITxpo (as taken from Techrepublic), Gartner analyst Simon Mingay stated, “Whether you believe in climate change or not, you have to prepare for that reality. There’s a mistaken belief that IT organizations will be able to continue to consume the power they do today… The question is not why should you bother, but what are the risks if you do nothing.”In 2007, the U.S. Department of Energy announced its “ENERGY STAR” program, which stipulates that computers must use an average of 65 to 70 percent less energy than computers built prior to 2007, and that when a PC is inactive, it must consume 15 watts of energy or less. Surprisingly though, even with the ever-increasing global costs of energy, Intel recently reported that only about 29 percent of companies have invested in energy-efficient PCs.
3. Promotion of Recycling
As stated earlier, computers, by the nature of the substances contained therein, require special means of disposal. Many parts of the world, including the US and Canada, have laws in place forbidding the use of computer monitors as land fill. Yet there are parts of the world where environmental standards are lax; some countries ship their discarded computer equipment to places in Asia for disposal. Recently, Canada and parts of the US, including California, have made recycling mandatory, and when purchasing a computer, buyers are charged a fee to cover the costs of recycling programs. Recycling of e-waste processing usually involves dismantling the equipment into various parts—metal frames, power supplies, circuit boards, and plastics—which are then separated, often by hand. Alternatively, material is shredded, and sophisticated, expensive equipment separates the various metal and plastic fractions, which are then sold to smelters or plastics recyclers. As environmental concerns have grown, legislation such as the Basel Convention is being enacted globally to ensure that as much as 70 percent of PC components are recyclable.
How Do Green Practices Relate to IT Project Management?
In most IT projects’ charters, there is no area that deals specifically with environmental concerns. However, this does not mean that the astute and business-savvy project manager shouldn’t consider introducing the following green initiatives:
1. When upgrading infrastructure, identify areas where a recycling program can be implemented.
2. If implementing a project methodology, look into its environmental impacts based on ISO 14000 standards.
3. Negotiate service level agreements (SLAs) with vendors’ environmental considerations in mind.
4. Examine where environmental and business demands converge.
In closing, to incorporate environmental practices into your technology landscape, it is important to consider the environmental impact of any infrastructure change you make, and whether there is a strong business case for not doing so.
In North America, green has most to do with two energy forms a) Fossel Fuel and b) Electricity produced from Fossel Fuel or Coal. IT will concentrate on the latter.
To respond to growing use of the internet, and for more computing power, faster speeds are possible if the space and connections between the circuits in computer chips are shrunk to very small distances, (nanometers). Doing so increases performance as electrons have less distance to travel (even distances in nanometers are significant), and by reducing the distance, more circuits are possible in the same area, indirectly permitting improved software design.
One of these new designs which makes the press and is very significant today is virtualisation. The chips are so fast, that they have reserve capacity to support virtualisation. Virtualisation allows one very fast hardware computer chip with multiple internal cpus to replace multiple physical computers. Energy savings of 60 to 75 percent are achieved.
Interestingly, new chips with 2, 4 or more cpus are now marketed. Multiple computers in one chip, with interconnects allows all but one integrated cpu to be turned off or idled when the computer workload is low.
In less then five years, data centres should require about one quarter of the energy that they consume today.
As the author I always welcome feedback from our readers.In the context of this blog I must ask that you revisit your criteria in light of IT and the discipline of Project Management.Certainly the questions related to “green” are primarilly focussed on environment.Notwithstanding that particular issue when speaking in terms of how environmental issues are viewed in the context of IT and Project Management it is related to the themes concerning Energy Consumption,Recyling and Heat and Cooling Power Supply usage.Intel as recently announced in the latest version of Microprocessors energy saving measures which are in further compliance of the Energy Star program.
[…] was a waste of a good name at an inopportune time, given the public’s infatuation today with anything that is environmentally-friendly, i.e., “green.” In any case, with the Project Green frenzy subsided, the analysts can always resort to picking apart […]