Green IT Strategies: Five Sustainability Practices for Modern Businesses

Embracing Green IT – Why It Matters and Its Impact

Green IT is about practising environmentally sustainable computing, from using business technology efficiently to recycling and using eco-friendly materials.

Introducing a Green IT policy helps you reduce your carbon footprint and it leads to energy cost savings, waste reduction and a better corporate image.

The Environmental Impact of IT Operations

Business technology can harm the environment. For example, data centres consume vast amounts of electricity, contribute to greenhouse gas emissions and, when you improperly dispose of electronic equipment, it releases toxins into the soil and water. But we can reduce our carbon footprint by embracing energy-efficient technologies and being responsible about e-waste management.

Three Business Benefits of Green IT

  • Reduce Operating Costs

Implementing Green IT can lead to big cost savings. Energy-efficient servers, storage systems and cooling solutions reduce the amount of electricity we consume. This lowers our utility bills while also decreasing the overall costs associated with running data centres. Energy-efficient hardware often has a longer lifespan, reducing the frequency and cost of replacements.

We can also take advantage of UK government incentives and tax breaks for using sustainable practices and energy-efficient technologies such as:

  • Enhanced Capital Allowances (ECAs) that mean businesses can claim 100% first-year capital allowances on investments in energy-saving technologies. This allows you to write off the entire cost of qualifying equipment against taxable profits.
  • The Climate Change Levy (CCL) Exemption applies to businesses using energy from renewable sources making them exempt from this tax on energy delivered to non-domestic users.
  • The Renewable Heat Incentive (RHI) provides financial incentives for businesses to use renewable heat technologies. Payments are made quarterly for 20 years based on the amount of heat your business generates.
  • The Green Business Fund is managed by the Carbon Trust. It provides capital contributions and advice to small and medium-sized businesses for energy-saving projects.


  • Build Your Brand and Reputation

Adopting Green IT practices positively impacts how customers perceive your business. Customers, alongside other stakeholders like partners or investors, are increasingly prioritising sustainability and are more likely to want to work with you when you show environmental responsibility. And it’s not only customers who will warm to this; demonstrating corporate social responsibility (CSR) can attract top talent. Today’s job seekers prefer to work for companies that align with their values, particularly when it comes to sustainability.

  • Compliance with Environmental Regulations

In the UK, businesses must adhere to various regulations and compliance requirements related to green technology and sustainability. These regulations and policies include Net Zero by 2050 which means we must align with the government’s goal to reduce greenhouse gas emissions and improve energy efficiency.

Procurement policies are changing too, for example, government contracts worth over £5 million annually will only be awarded to suppliers who commit to net zero targets and publish Carbon Reduction Plans. The government is encouraging sustainable procurement across all sectors to promote the use of green technologies.

Five Strategies to Include in Your Green IT Plan

1.    Energy-efficient hardware and recycling

Replacing old hardware with energy-efficient servers, computers and peripherals will reduce energy consumption. You will also be able to explore power management settings on new devices to save power when not in use. When your tech eventually comes to end of life, you can sustainably recycle it by donating it to certified e-waste recycling programs that also ensure proper disposal.

2.    Virtualisation and Cloud Computing

Moving to a 100 per cent cloud environment with technology like Microsoft Azure is another green move because you can optimise your resources and reduce the need for physical hardware. Virtualisation allows multiple virtual machines to run on a single server, increasing efficiency. Cloud computing centralises resources, optimising energy use and reducing waste. Both these approaches cut down on physical infrastructure which leads to lower energy consumption and reduced carbon footprints.

3.    Remote Working

Promoting remote work massively reduces carbon emissions by cutting down on daily commuting. Fewer employees travelling to and from work means less fuel consumption and lower greenhouse gas emissions. If you are concerned about productivity taking a dive, there are a whole range of collaboration tools available for video conferencing, project management and instant messaging platforms. Check out our comparison of two of the best, Slack or Teams. Businesses that offer remote work and utilise advanced collaboration technologies, can experience potentially higher retention rates and shorter recruitment cycles. It also opens up opportunities to explore new talent pools where commuting distance might previously have been an obstacle.

4.    Paperless Office Initiatives

By transitioning to electronic documents you remove the need to print. It’s also the first step in designing new, automated, digital processes that replace tedious manual tasks with slick workflows. Implementing electronic signature solutions and looking at workflow automations for everyday processes like expenses or authorising invoices is transformational. You can find out more from our short e-book that covers all you need to know on Process Automation for SMEs.

5.    Review Your Data Storage

If you’re already in a Microsoft Azure ,cloud environment you’re probably using (and paying for) too much storage. Different types of business data can be compartmentalised into different storage options in Microsoft Azure. There are pros and cons to using SharePoint Online, Azure Files, Azure Blob Storage and Archives however, making the right choices can save on both energy and your monthly Microsoft bill.  For example, archiving infrequently accessed data in the Archive tier is significantly cheaper and recommended for long-term storage.  Find out more in our Moneysaving Guide to Azure Storage.


The Tools in Microsoft Azure that Support a Green IT Strategy

Microsoft Azure offers several automated tools to help set guides for energy savings. Here are just a few:

  • Azure Advisor provides personalised best practices and recommendations, including those for improving energy efficiency.
  • Azure Automation automates the management of cloud resources, enabling efficient power management and resource utilisation.
  • Azure Policy means you can implement governance at scale, ensuring resources are deployed and managed in an energy-efficient manner.
  • Azure Cost Management and Billing helps you monitor and optimise cloud spend, indirectly promoting energy-saving by identifying and reducing unnecessary resource usage.
  • Azure Monitor tracks the performance and health of Azure resources, helping identify inefficiencies and optimise resource usage.

To find out more about implementing a greener IT strategy, book a free discovery call. We will be happy to help.

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