5 Ways To Make Your Business IT More Sustainable
February 18, 2020
by Ruth Lemon
Sustainable business

Most businesses are starting to think about their impact on the environment. This leads them to make changes to minimise their carbon footprint. From reducing the amount of documents they print, to encouraging staff to take public transport to work, to buying coffee in bulk rather than individual sachets, we’re pleased to see business owners making a conscious effort when it comes to playing their part in the fight against climate change.

But one significant element of most businesses in the 21st century is often forgotten when companies seek to go green. IT. Making changes to the way your business IT is run and utilised can have a big difference in the sustainability of your business. Here are 5 ways to make your business IT more sustainable.

1. Move to sustainable hosting

Websites are often overlooked when it comes to going green. Why? Because not many business owners think about the hardware which keeps the software ticking over. But hosting a website involves a physical server which in turn requires energy. More than you might think, in fact.

By moving to a sustainable website host provider, such as Dynamic Servers, your website’s reliance on energy generated from fossil fuels stops at once. Every website which is hosted with Dynamic Servers is powered 100% by green energy. Plus, we’ll even plant a tree in your honour to say thank you for choosing to go green as a bonus.

2. Minimise your website size

Did you know about 10% of the electricity used around the world is consumed by the internet? And considering the internet is expanding exponentially, with content such as this blog are added to it, the electrical bill of the internet is only going to get higher. The more content is on the internet, the more power it requires.

Many of us think of websites and internet content as simply floating in the ether. But there is a vast web of hardware in the form of servers, stacked within data centres which are running 24/7 and use huge air conditioning units in order to keep the internet live. Today there are approximately 8 million data centres around the world. And the more the internet grows, the more data centres are required.

Now we even have hyperscale data centres which are used by multinational corporates such as Google, Microsoft, Facebook and Amazon. A data centre becomes ‘hyperscale’ once it has over 5,000 servers within 10,000 square feet. Some, however, have millions of servers within them. There are over 500 hyperscale data centres in the world. And every time you add a web page, a server, somewhere in the world, will need to store it. If you’re with Dynamic Servers, at least you know the additional energy comes from a renewable source.

Does your website have old pages in draft mode? Or live pages which are unfinished? Or several different versions of your homepage, relics of when you were deciding which final design to go for? Delete these pages. Ease your digital weight but stripping down your website. Compress images and videos. Remove content which isn’t of value or no longer relates to your business. Settle for system fonts (and consistent fonts) rather than installing font files. Remove JavaScript which makes web pages ‘heavy’ and make sure all of your pages use Accelerated Mobile Pages (AMP), a lighter, mobile friendly version of your site.

All of these changes will have a knock-on effect on your website speed, as well as reducing the demand you’ll be putting on the servers.

3. Reduce your file size

Keeping records is important for any business. But do you need the documents relating to that proposed business deal which never came to fruition three years ago? Or those mock designs you put together for a business which has since rebranded? Or every document you ever created for a company which closed its doors eighteen months ago?

Cleansing your digital filing system is a simple but powerful way to reduce your business carbon footprint. Whether you store content in Dropbox, Google Drive, Microsoft’s Cloud or even on your computer, the more you delete, the less energy your storage facility will require. Again, we’re just trying to ease the load on these hyperscale data centres.

4. Use paper-saving technology

Digitising your business isn’t all bad. It’s about using technology in a way which reduces your carbon footprint and also saves you time. Like signing software. Rather than printing off contracts and agreements, use a program like DocuSign, SignEasy or Adobe Sign. Get receipts emailed to you if the option is available and send them over to your accountant in virtual form rather than as a scrunched up, faded piece of paper. Ditch office calendars and get everyone on board with software such as Google Calendars so everyone can easily coordinate their work weeks. Get your bank statements emailed to you rather than posted, if possible. This is also easier for your accountant too! There are many ways technology can help ease our impact on the environment; you just have to start using them.

5. Use less power

Ok, this is a broad title but let’s look at some specifics. You can use less power on your desktop or laptop by turning down the screen brightness. Turn your computer off overnight rather than leaving it in standby mode. Set your screensaver mode to kick in after 5 minutes of inactivity rather than 1 hour. Close your laptop lid when you go for lunch (this is advisable when it comes to cyber security too). Shut down programs which you aren’t using to prevent them running in the background and consuming energy.

These are all simple, achievable changes which any business can and should aspire to making over the next few months. They are designed not only to reduce your carbon footprint but also make your business cheaper to run and make your processes more efficient.

If you’d like to get started today, speak to Dynamic Servers today about switching your hosting to us.