Green IT: Modern technology with profitability factor

Interview with Hildegard Gerhardy, Marketing Manager Retail Store Solution, IBM Germany

Is Green IT just a neat addition for retailers if the price is right?

Green IT is not just a technological aspect, but also a profitability factor, particularly when it comes to electricity and cooling. That’s why it also reveals itself as a cost-cutting factor, if all relevant factors are being correctly assessed.

What did IT manufacturers really achieve over the past few years?

On its way from being an initiative and idea towards tried and true concepts and the compatibility between profitability and environmental friendliness, Green IT has made some big strides. The willingness of users to take these aspects into consideration has also continued to grow.

The retail market uses the most energy for cooling and lighting. Where do investments into energy saving IT pay off?

Capital expenditures in energy-efficient IT pay off in particular in those instances where investments can be amortized in manageable amortization cycles. Here above all a look at the server side and the consolidation options is also worthwhile.

According to the Fraunhofer Institute UMSICHT, thin clients save
approximately 40 percent in electricity compared to conventional PCs. Do you also see it the same way? Where do you recommend slimmed-down computers?

Thin clients have their place in highly standardized environments where the advantages of central management and central IT provision can be used. The benefits of thin clients therefore are not just in the decreased energy consumption, but in an interesting overall concept, which also takes security and system management aspects into account.

Which elements can manufacturers replace for an improved CO₂ footprint?

A lot has happened in several areas. Key words are processors, ventilators, power supply and an overall more energy-efficient design of the cooling system. In addition, IBM systems can be placed into a power saving deep sleep mode if they are not being used. What’s more, IBM uses recyclable plastics for the cases and environmentally-friendly paints. The packaging is also designed in a resource conserving manner.

How can the life cycle of IT equipment be extended?

Based on experience, IT equipment is designed for a specific life cycle, which corresponds to the recovery periods. Running it within the designated ambient conditions – temperature, humidity, dust etc. – in combination with preferably consistent capacity utilization of components can have an impact on the life cycle.

How is recycling of discontinued equipment being facilitated?

IBM also offers the take back of equipment within the scope of its solutions; in addition, for financing solutions there is also an exchange program.

How has the mileage driven by service technicians developed over the past years at IBM? How much CO₂ does remote maintenance save?

We don’t have any numbers for this, but overall remote maintenance provides important impulses from a system and security management point of view, not just for reasons of carbon dioxide balance.

What is happening in terms of eco-friendly paper for receipt printers?

We focus on the capability of recyclable paper and paper with recycled content, respectively. Commercial initiatives to only print receipts by request are also appreciated.

Paying with credit card instead of cash and cash recycling is not just safer, but also saves on transportation. Can the energy balance be expressed in numbers?

In principle we agree here, however we don’t have any numbers available for this.

Which green accents did IBM set at this year’s EuroShop?

Our solutions carry important energy efficient aspects, which were also a part of our shown scenarios. The focus in IBM solutions is the combination of innovation, workflow, business analytics and profitability which incorporates power efficiency.

Interview: René Schellbach,


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