Make IT green

Engineers may be wondering how they can green their own firms, not just their clients' buildings.

09/01/2008


Engineers may be wondering how they can green their own firms, not just their clients' buildings. Given that engineers are primarily knowledge workers, the tools of their trade are computers and networks for file-sharing and communications. Information technology (IT) equipment amounts to a lot of toxic materials and energy use, both of which can be actively minimized and managed for a greener facility.

Here are a few simple steps to ensure maximum compliance with today's green initiatives and maintain a proactive stance with environmental protection.

 

First, ensure that office equipment, to the greatest extent possible, is U.S. Environmental Protection Agency Energy Star rated. You might be aware of the EPA's Energy Star Buildings Label, which applies to whole buildings, and may specify Energy Star-rated compact fluorescent lights for your clients. But what about the computer's central processing unit and monitor, laptops, power supplies, and other peripherals that you use in the office?

 

In addition to the Energy Star logo, check that the software-actuated power management functions are actually set and working. The typical states include idle (where the operating system runs without programs), sleep (nothing is running until re-start), and standby (the PC is off, but about 2 W of power remain to resume boot). Also, ensure that Wake Event and Wake On LAN (WOL) features are set and working. Wake Events include mouse movement, keyboard activity, buttons pressed, or other activity that causes the PC to wake up from sleep or standby modes. WOL is the network version.

 

Beyond Energy Star, consider materials. IT products are made from materials that can amount to toxic waste in landfills. Manufacturers are reducing the amount of toxic waste materials and using more recyclable materials. Newly designed recycling programs are managing product lifecycles better—more than just disposal—so seek companies that offer recycling options to their customers to ensure their products are properly recycled or disposed of.

 

Large organizations already include disposal and recycling components in their hardware request for proposals as they attempt to comply with national and international standards mandated by the International Organization of Standards (ISO-9001), and the Waste Electrical and Electronic Equipment (WEEE), Restriction of Hazardous Substances (RoHS), and Electronic Product Environmental Assessment Tool directives (EPEAT).

 

For example, EPEAT, issued by IEEE, helps consumer and organizational purchasing agents identify desktop and laptop computers and monitors that are designed for reduced impact on the environment. EPEAT-registered computers contain lower levels of cadmium, lead, and mercury; are more energy-efficient; and are easier to upgrade and recycle. EPEAT also requires manufacturers to offer safe recycling options for products no longer in use. Look for either the gold, silver, or bronze labels on registered products.

 

RoHS and WEEE enforce hazardous substance reduction in the European Union. The regulations require the replacement of heavy metals and flame retardants in electronic equipment with less toxic materials. Manufacturers also are required to implement programs for gathering and recycling old equipment.

 

Author Information

Joe is president and CEO of D-Link Systems Inc. Over 20 years, Joe has successfully driven revenue growth and channel expansion for the North American business unit of D-Link Corp. of Taiwan, and spearheads worldwide development of consumer and business products.



No comments
The Top Plant program honors outstanding manufacturing facilities in North America. View the 2013 Top Plant.
The Product of the Year program recognizes products newly released in the manufacturing industries.
The Engineering Leaders Under 40 program identifies and gives recognition to young engineers who...
The true cost of lubrication: Three keys to consider when evaluating oils; Plant Engineering Lubrication Guide; 11 ways to protect bearing assets; Is lubrication part of your KPIs?
Contract maintenance: 5 ways to keep things humming while keeping an eye on costs; Pneumatic systems; Energy monitoring; The sixth 'S' is safety
Transport your data: Supply chain information critical to operational excellence; High-voltage faults; Portable cooling; Safety automation isn't automatic
Case Study Database

Case Study Database

Get more exposure for your case study by uploading it to the Plant Engineering case study database, where end-users can identify relevant solutions and explore what the experts are doing to effectively implement a variety of technology and productivity related projects.

These case studies provide examples of how knowledgeable solution providers have used technology, processes and people to create effective and successful implementations in real-world situations. Case studies can be completed by filling out a simple online form where you can outline the project title, abstract, and full story in 1500 words or less; upload photos, videos and a logo.

Click here to visit the Case Study Database and upload your case study.

Maintaining low data center PUE; Using eco mode in UPS systems; Commissioning electrical and power systems; Exploring dc power distribution alternatives
Synchronizing industrial Ethernet networks; Selecting protocol conversion gateways; Integrating HMIs with PLCs and PACs
Why manufacturers need to see energy in a different light: Current approaches to energy management yield quick savings, but leave plant managers searching for ways of improving on those early gains.

Annual Salary Survey

Participate in the 2013 Salary Survey

In a year when manufacturing continued to lead the economic rebound, it makes sense that plant manager bonuses rebounded. Plant Engineering’s annual Salary Survey shows both wages and bonuses rose in 2012 after a retreat the year before.

Average salary across all job titles for plant floor management rose 3.5% to $95,446, and bonus compensation jumped to $15,162, a 4.2% increase from the 2010 level and double the 2011 total, which showed a sharp drop in bonus.

2012 Salary Survey Analysis

2012 Salary Survey Results

Maintenance and reliability tips and best practices from the maintenance and reliability coaches at Allied Reliability Group.
The One Voice for Manufacturing blog reports on federal public policy issues impacting the manufacturing sector. One Voice is a joint effort by the National Tooling and Machining...
The Society for Maintenance and Reliability Professionals an organization devoted...
Join this ongoing discussion of machine guarding topics, including solutions assessments, regulatory compliance, gap analysis...
IMS Research, recently acquired by IHS Inc., is a leading independent supplier of market research and consultancy to the global electronics industry.
Maintenance is not optional in manufacturing. It’s a profit center, driving productivity and uptime while reducing overall repair costs.
The Lachance on CMMS blog is about current maintenance topics. Blogger Paul Lachance is president and chief technology officer for Smartware Group.