What is sustainable technology?
Sustainable technology encompasses solutions that help reduce the environmental impact of IT infrastructure across its entire lifecycle.
What constitutes sustainable IT?
Sustainable IT refers to the practice of using information technology in a way that minimizes its environmental impact and maximizes its long-term sustainability. It involves a combination of strategies and practices aimed at reducing energy consumption, minimizing waste, and promoting environmentally responsible decision-making within the IT industry. It is also a set of manufacturing, management, use and disposal practices that attempt to lower the environmental impact of the solutions and industry.
- Sustainable IT manufacturing involves a wide array of strategies and initiatives focused on enhancing the development of innovative approaches with reduced environmental impact.
- Sustainable IT management concentrates on optimizing the operational or use phase of the IT lifecycle. This entails efficient asset management by organizations, the adoption of energy-efficient equipment, and the exploration of renewable energy sources.
- Sustainable IT disposal seeks to optimize the end-of-life stages, giving particular attention to the principles of the circular economy. Sustainable IT is an essential component of broader environmental sustainability and responsibility initiatives within organizations. By adopting these practices and principles, businesses and individuals can reduce their carbon footprint, minimize resource consumption, and contribute to a more sustainable IT industry.
This concept is broader and focuses on using information technology as a tool to promote overall sustainability within an organization or society. It includes leveraging IT solutions to reduce carbon footprints, such as through smart energy management systems, supporting remote work to reduce transportation-related emissions, or developing systems for efficient resource management in various industries. IT sustainability is more about the application of IT in pursuit of broader environmental sustainability goals than the environmental impact of the IT sector itself.
While Sustainable IT is about making the IT sector more environmentally sustainable, IT Sustainability is about using IT as a tool to achieve broader environmental sustainability goals. HPE has a rich portfolio of products and services for IT sustainability.
How is environmental impact reduced across the technology lifecycle?
- The upstream phase considers the environmental impact of all activities from concept design through delivery to the customer. Activities that aim to reduce the upstream impact include reducing the amount of waste created as well as energy and water used from manufacturing to distribution logistics that minimize emissions.
- The use phase includes the environmental impact associated with the use of IT products. Considerations include focusing on identifying opportunities for efficiencies at the IT hardware and software levels followed by efficiencies in mechanical and electrical infrastructure around the IT hardware. Key focus areas include energy efficiency, equipment efficiency, resource efficiency, software efficiency, and data efficiency.
- The end-of-use phase includes the environmental impact of IT assets once the useful life of the product ends. Considerations in this phase include a product's repairability and recyclability as well as services to advance the circularity of the assets.
HPE and sustainable technology
Some key components and principes that constitute sustainable IT that HPE leverages include:
- Using energy-efficient hardware and components, such as low-power processors and LED displays.
- Implementing power management policies to ensure that IT equipment enters low-power modes when not in use.
- Leveraging virtualization and cloud computing to optimize resource utilization and reduce energy consumption.
- Transitioning to renewable energy sources, such as solar or wind power, to power data centers and IT infrastructure.
- Purchasing Renewable Energy Certificates (RECs) or engaging in power purchase agreements (PPAs) to support clean energy generation.
More efficient Data Centers
- Designing and operating data centers with energy-efficient cooling systems and server consolidation.
- Employing advanced data center infrastructure automation management (DCIM) tools to optimize energy usage.
- Exploring innovative cooling techniques like liquid cooling and free cooling.
E-waste Management and Asset Upcycling
- Recycling and more responsibly disposing of electronic waste, including old computers, monitors, and other IT equipment.
- Reusing or refurbishing IT hardware to extend its lifespan and reduce the need for new resources. For example, HPE Technology Refresh Centers.
- Selecting IT equipment and products with environmental certifications, such as ENERGY STAR, EPEAT, or TCO Certified.
- Considering the entire lifecycle of products, including their manufacturing, transportation, and disposal, when making purchasing decisions.
Software Development: Software-driven technology efficiency
- Creating energy-efficient software applications and optimizing code for performance to reduce energy consumption.
- Embracing more environmentally conscious software development practices that focus on resource efficiency and reduced carbon footprint.
- Providing software solutions to organizations to help optimize workloads, reduce costs, and improve business outcomes.
- Utilizing as-a-service models such as HPE GreenLake to share IT resources and reduce overprovisioning capacity leads to potential energy, equipment, and resource savings.
More Sustainable IT Policies and Training
- Developing and implementing company-wide policies and guidelines for more environmentally sustainable IT practices.
- Providing training and awareness programs for employees to promote environmentally responsible behavior.
Measurement and Reporting
- Measuring and reporting on energy consumption, carbon emissions, and other environmental metrics related to IT operations.
- Setting goals and benchmarks for improvement based on these measurements e.g. HPE Sustainability Insights Center (SIC).
- Planning for the end-of-life of IT equipment, including responsible disposal or recycling.
- Implementing asset management practices to track and manage IT assets throughout their lifecycle. For example, HPE Technology Refresh Centers.
- Over decades, we have focused on the environmental impacts of our solutions and have built one of the most innovative Sustainable IT portfolios with offerings ranging from expertise and advisory services, visibility and measurement tools, low-carbon solutions, and incentives for stronger ESG performance. HPE shares decades of expertise in Sustainable IT with customers free of charge through technical whitepapers and workshops.
HPE and the Customer Challenges
HPE is helping solve many customer challenges related to sustainable IT.
CIOs and IT executives are increasingly being held accountable for carbon reduction emissions, but they often lack the necessary capabilities. At HPE, we possess the capabilities to assist our customers in building a comprehensive, sustainable IT strategy from the edge to the cloud—and we help educate their IT teams to deliver the more sustainable solutions. Our experts take a holistic look across customers’ entire hybrid IT estate to advance IT sustainability goals and reduce footprints, energy consumption, emissions, and costs. From data center to workload, we identify suboptimal workload placement, as well as efficiency and optimization opportunities.
Analytics for improved decision-making
Another significant challenge that companies face is the lack of analytics tools that can assist in decision-making related to critical areas like energy consumption, carbon emissions, and electricity costs. With regulations, investor pressures, and customer expectations on the rise, there is a growing urgency for advanced analytics solutions to drive improved decision-making. Recognizing this need, the HPE Sustainability Insight Center (SIC) steps in to provide valuable support. This capability, delivered through the HPE GreenLake platform, offers comprehensive energy and carbon emissions reporting through a unified console, empowering customers to make impactful changes, reduce costs, and successfully achieve their sustainable IT objectives.
Energy-optimized and low-carbon offerings
Companies are facing growing challenges as they strive to meet regulatory requirements and respond to investor and customer expectations. These demands revolve around obtaining comprehensive insights into the environmental impacts of their IT operations, allowing them to effectively plan, monitor, and implement emissions reduction strategies. To meet these evolving needs, it is essential to combine enhanced visibility with the adoption of energy-efficient and low-carbon solutions. IT leaders are no longer solely focused on conventional efficiency metrics like PUE (Power Usage Effectiveness). Instead, they are actively seeking untapped opportunities throughout their entire IT ecosystem. This encompasses considerations ranging from upstream impacts, such as the sources of electricity used to power devices, to the optimization of cloud services.
HPE Point of View: Documents and White Papers
HPE invests in the publication of Sustainable IT Point of View (POV) documents and White Papers to educate the public.
Examples of HPE Sustainability documents:
- Software-driven Technology Efficiency for Sustainability
This white paper delves into the role of software-driven technologies in enhancing efficiency and environmental sustainability within the IT industry.
- Six Steps for Developing a Sustainable IT Strategy
This guide provides a strategic perspective on achieving efficiency in IT operations while prioritizing IT sustainability as a core component.
By consistently producing such informative resources, HPE not only demonstrates its commitment to sustainable IT but also contributes to the broader understanding of more sustainable practices in the technology sector.