Top resources for the energy-efficient office

Go online and do a search for “energy-efficient office” and you’ll get results numbering in the millions … an overwhelming output for the average entrepreneur who’s just looking for simple, straightforward advice on how to make technology at work more sustainable.

So what are the best resources for a green-thinking small-business owner or mid-market company exec to turn to? Following are 10 of the most useful to add to your bookmarks:

  • Energy Star – A joint effort of the US Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) and the US Department of Energy (DOE), Energy Star is probably best known for its rating system for energy-efficient appliances and other products. But it also provides a variety of resources aimed at small-and medium-size business owners, including an interactive tool for building energy management, a guide to improving energy efficiency and real-life success stories from business owners across the US.
  • Energy Savers – Energy Savers, the DOE’s own site for energy efficiency, offers information for SMEs looking to save energy, or interested in state and local energy-efficiency incentives to buy – or generate – clean energy. It also features resources for mid-size businesses considering a move to a cleaner, greener fleet.
  • Climate Savers Computing – Climate Savers Computing was established in 2007 with the goal of reducing the energy consumption and carbon footprint of information and communication technologies (ICT). The global consortium now has some 700 member companies and individuals who have pledged to make their ICT more energy efficient. The organization offers a wide range of resources for businesses looking to improve technology efficiency, including webinars, guides to IT and networking, case studies, white papers, fact sheets and information on certification.
  • Small Business Administration – The US Small Business Administration (SBA) features an entire section on its website dedicated to helping SMEs build stronger “green” credentials. Its Green Business Guide section provides information about green marketing, case studies, green business practices, environmental grants and loans, ecolabeling, regulations and much more.
  • The Green Grid – This consortium of end-users, technology companies, utilities and policy-makers has the goal of improving “the resource efficiency of data centers and business computing ecosystems.” Its online resources for small- and mid-market companies include maps showing regions with the potential for free air cooling for data centers, a PUE (power usage effectiveness) estimator, webcasts, case studies in energy efficiency and a glossary of data center terms.
  • EPEAT – EPEAT calls itself the “definitive global registry for greener electronics.” In addition to a searchable, global database of devices that meet EPEAT’s bronze, silver or gold standards for efficiency and environmental responsibility, the website also features sample purchase contracts, model policy language for the purchase of computers and displays, and subscription services that include a quarterly newsletter.
  • SCORE – A nonprofit supported by the US Small Business Administration, SCORE provides small- and mid-market business owners with access to experienced volunteer mentors, business counseling and free or low-cost workshops. It also has an online “Green Toolkit” with links to state energy-efficiency incentive programs, green procurement information, videos and other resources for green IT.
  • EU Energy Star – Available in 11 EU languages, this European guide to energy-efficient office equipment was launched in 2003 as a joint US-EU initiative. In addition to a database of energy specifications that’s updated almost daily, EU Energy Star also offers information on EU policies, statistics and energy calculators for PC and imaging equipment.

This post was written as part of the IBM for Midsize Business program, which provides midsize businesses with the tools, expertise and solutions they need to become engines of a smarter planet.


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