Paint Your Data Center Green

If you are headed towards a rewarding career in IT management (information technology management), then you may be interested in recent advances in data center management that can create more environmentally friendly data centers.

Whether you plan to first endure the grueling experience of CFA prep, graduate and obtain your Chartered Financial Analyst certification and then enter the field, or you have a more immediate plan to enter the workforce in the IT field, it may pay to study and research sustainability options to impress prospective employers.

The more you know about each company you interview with, including their priorities, their stance on sustainability and so-named “green” business initiatives, as well as their vendor and partner alliances, the more intelligently you can speak to how their choice to add you to the workforce can better support their goals and objectives. Learn about new understandings on how to “paint a data center green” and work towards touting eco-friendly business practices to customers eager to use their disposable income in an earth-friendly way below.

Use Only Suppliers with “Green” Credentials

This initiative falls under the heading of what many companies and corporations are beginning to name a subsection of “Corporate Social Responsibility.” Traditionally, Corporate Social Responsibility, or CSR, departments handled community volunteerism, the corporate philanthropic giving model and other similar initiatives. Today, behaving in an environmentally friendly way both out on the frontlines and behind the scenes has been added to the CSR agenda.

One easy way to start working your way towards a green data center is to evaluate each of your current suppliers – whether for materials, parts, energy, or other necessaries – to see if they have adopted sustainable business practices. Making strategic supplier shifts where necessary can be an easy way to immediately put your data center on the road towards earning a green-friendly seal of approval.

Re-Evaluate Your Existing Technology

Because the primary cause of high costs of power and cooling for data centers comes from the server hardware itself, re-evaluating the technology you are using to power your data center can go a long way towards reducing the power demands of your system. Choosing computer chips, cables and wiring, servers, and other hardware that is designed to efficiently use energy and reduce energy drain can contribute significantly to the reduction in your datacenter’s carbon footprint.

Look for hardware that is advertised as being energy efficient or as taking less power to run. You can do the same on the cooling side, evaluating how well your cooling technology is using power to perform its duties. Many companies are now also adopting corporate initiatives to transform their data centers and business operations into “coal free” work places, vowing to adopt alternative energy sources to provide the power they need.

Adopt Recyclable Materials

As your hardware and materials wear out and require replacement, look for parts that are recyclable as well as able to do more with less energy input. Establish relationships with recycling centers and seek out non-traditional types of recycling that can salvage some use out of materials that might otherwise contribute to global waste. Food for thought: one innovative recycling idea transforms used tires from a variety of major manufacturers into designer handbags which are both functional and beautiful.

Seek Green Certification

Organizations such as Greenpeace parcel out a limited number of environmental certification program seals of approval to organizations that can meet their stringent criteria. Greenpeace’s EPEAT (Electronic Product Environmental Assessment Tool) certification controls which products and services the United States government’s many federal agencies can purchase for use in their own work. EPEAT certification also means a lot to customers who may not understand all of the intricacies of becoming a sustainable data center or corporation, but who do recognize the legitimacy of an internationally respected organization such as Greenpeace.

There are other such certifications as well that can assist in both the public and behind the scenes efforts to transform your data center into a green center. Another high profile certification you can apply for is the LEED (Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design) certification that ensures the building in which your data center is housed is environmentally compliant.


In addition to writing, the master’s student Todd Cruz spends him time coaching others students on CFA exam prep.  He hopes to combine his love of finance with the environment someday.