How to implement a Green IT strategy: step by step

If you want to improve your productivity as well as your environmental impact, you need to know how to implement a Green IT strategy. A step-by-step approach improves your odds of success.

Because old-school ways of doing IT mean bigger carbon footprints, waste, and cost inefficiencies too.

But it is possible to make your business IT sustainable. For your technology to help your business protect itself and grow at the same time as it requires increasingly fewer resources.

Pencils and paper at the ready as we dive into “Greening” your IT:

How to implement a Green IT strategy step by step

Phase 1 – Communication and defining responsibility

Communicating with all stakeholders about your goal and your determination to reach it is one of the most important things to get right. That’s why it’s the place to start.

Everyone on your team and at every level of your organisation should know that you are aiming for a green, sustainable IT strategy.

This is critical. Because if individuals take actions that conflict with your business goals, they put your efforts (and public perceptions of them) in serious peril.

It’s also important that your Green IT policy should be a part of (or at least complement) your wider business goals.

Your initial steps should include assigning responsibility for sustainability to an individual or working group (depending on organisation size) to monitor and assess your plans and their impact.

Phase 2 – Initial assessment

It’s impossible to know how effective your efforts towards a more sustainable IT setup are unless you measure your current levels first. Here’s how you can do this:

  1. Investigate the accepted global standards for greenhouse gas emissions for IT
  2. Use this to conduct an assessment of your emissions for the previous year
  3. Set a goal for the level you would like to reach (hopefully Net Zero)

Phase 3 – Make a plan

Once you’ve announced your direction, chosen a team, and measured your starting point, it’s time to make a plan.

Part of this will be choosing the KPIs (Key Performance Indicators) that you’re going to track. Only with the right metrics can you keep everyone accountable and see how well you’re doing.

For example, you might start your digital transformation by switching to collaboration and productivity suites like Microsoft 365 or Google Workspace. This is sometimes called IT centralisation or server virtualisation.

This will be an excellent Green IT move. You’re doing away with a bunch of servers in your office and taking everything to the cloud.

But exactly how many emissions are you saving? The data centres that host those suites aren’t zero-emissions yet.

Phase 4 – Implementation

The implementation phase shouldn’t happen in a vacuum. The effect of everything you’re doing to make your IT use more sustainable needs to be tracked and measured.

That said, some of the most common actions to consider are:

  • Migrating to the cloud to reduce carbon emissions
  • Switching to renewable energy sources and implementing energy use level monitoring
  • Testing equipment to ensure it isn’t “running too hot” (i.e. not powerful enough to run programs efficiently)
  • Monitoring the lifecycle of your IT equipment (upgrading too soon creates huge e-waste, too late and you have the problem above)
  • Finding more efficient cooling systems for computer rooms
  • Hardware provider assessments that include their contribution to your hardware’s carbon footprint
  • Moving to a hardware provider who offers end-of-life programs on their equipment

Phase 5 – Monitor and communicate results

Measure, measure, and measure again should be the motto of any good sustainability strategy.

For instance, how much energy does your business consume compared with when you started? Where does that energy come from now? If progress is good, be proud of what you’ve achieved!

Because just as important is ensuring ongoing engagement with the project up, down, and across your organisation. An essential part of this is updating everyone on how far you’ve come.

Everyone likes to know when the efforts they’re making are achieving results. Friendly, supportive, encouraging (but accurate) messaging on this will help boost and lock in progress.

Equally, it’s important to know when you still have work to do. This is a process that won’t happen overnight. However, it’s never too early to start working out how to implement a Green IT strategy. A little experienced help won’t hurt either.

Want to create a roadmap to truly Green your IT?

Dial A Geek has already helped over 1000 businesses in Bristol and the UK make their tech work for them (not the other way round).

Arrange a cost and commitment-free consultation with Chief Geek Gildas Jones today. We’ll go over where you are – and where you want to be.