ICT A Good Policy Guide

Businesses are evermore being encouraged to adopt environmentally friendly practices and make energy savings.

This is a simple good practice guide to saving energy and reducing the environmental impact of your computer technology while embracing the positive impact technology can have on the your business.

Purchase energy efficient equipment

•Include energy efficiency as a consideration when purchasing equipment – power usage and energy saving features.
•Manage the lifecycle of ICT equipment – consider life span when purchasing; can it be upgraded, utilised elsewhere or recycled.
•Check you can return equipment for recycling to the supplier/manufacturer when it reaches its ‘end of life’.
•Consider laptops, which use less power and enable flexible working.

Creation of a desktop PC usually requires ten times the PC’s weight in fossil fuels and chemicals, most of them
toxic. In comparison, a car or refrigerator uses only between one and two times their weight in fossil fuels
(BBC News).

Paper – don’t print unless necessary

•Purchase recycled paper and adopt office recycling.
•Reuse the back of printed paper for draft/internal printing and notepaper.
•Print double-sided documents, decrease margins, fonts and images to fit more information per page.
•Print in draft to reduce ink use and recycle ink cartridges.
•Use email/digital storage to reduce the need to print.

Recycled paper uses 50% less energy and water to produce compared with using trees. A good practise
office uses 7 reams per employee per year.

Use equipment efficiently

•Make use of computer and monitor power management.
•Allow your computer to hibernate, allow the monitor to dim when not in use, reduce your screen brightness.
•Set up the computer when first purchased to ensure power management is in use.
•Consider the location of your equipment or server in the office – servers and equipment can generate heat requiring air conditioning systems – locating equipment in a cold area of your building can reduce the energy needed to maintain temperatures.

An average computer in sleep mode uses as little as 20 watts of power compared with up to 150 watts when
in use.

Turn off electrical equipment

•When not in use turn off monitors, printers, scanners and speakers.
•Turn off equipment at the plug to ensure complete power cut off.
•Turn off equipment outside office hours: computers, printers and copiers. Add it to the end of day routine.

If your printer wasting more than just paper? The energy consumed by the UK’s 18.5 million printers could supply
250,000 households with their yearly electricity requirements. (Energy Savings Trust)

Recycle and reuse

Don’t throw equipment away; consider donating or selling if functional. If no longer functional, contact the manufacturer about recycling.

•Use projects such as: http://www.computers4charity.org.uk/ based in Bude, Cornwall, or http://www.computeraid.org

•Contact local community projects and schools to offer donations. Advertise unwanted equipment at http://www.freecycle.org
•Manufacturer/supplier recycling, for example, Dell offers a free computer recycling service to customers.

NB. If donating computers, make sure any secure data has been fully removed in accordance with the Data Protection Act.

All businesses that use electrical and electronic equipment (EEE) must comply with the Waste Electrical and Electronic Equipment (WEEE) Regulations. See: http://www.netregs.gov.uk

Electrical and electronic waste is the fastest growing waste stream in the UK. Around 1.8 million tonnes are generated every year. (netregs.gov.uk)

Digital documents

•Maintain documentation on your computer or server; send via email where possible and print only as required.
•Reduces waste paper from out-of-date printed information, allows information to be kept up-to-date.
•Documents can be digitally stored without the need to print a hard copy for the filing cabinet.
•Ensure this data is adequately protected, backed-up and archived.
•Include an environmental note on digital documents – ‘please consider the environment before printing this document’.


•Use email to communicate information to customers or suppliers.
•Email marketing is a cost-effective method of direct marketing.
•Orders, invoices, news, marketing and general documentation can all be sent via email rather than ‘print and post’.
•Most businesses already pay a set broadband fee for their business, so the resource is already available.
•Sending email saves paper, ink, postage, time, cost and power.
•Email this document to your colleagues!

Online services

•Utilise broadband speeds and replace physical products and services with online alternatives.
•Send email: email letters, documents, brochures, orders and invoices rather than post or fax.
•Make your customer information readily available online through your website.
•Adopt online facilities for your own business such as online banking or e:government services – http://www.hmrc.gov.uk/online/
•Use internet resources available for downloading information rather than purchasing printed copies.


•Enable customers to download information from your website, place orders online and communicate with you.
•A website makes information more accessible, reduces labour costs and saves resources.
•Create digital versions of brochures, catalogues, etc. to save printing and enable their download through your website.
•Trade online, enable your customers to place their orders online through ecommerce, utilise your own suppliers’ online services.


Software will enable you to store data efficiently, retrieve information quickly and generate management information.
•Use software packages to record information rather than paper-based systems.
•Record and manage financial data, customer information, sales and marketing data and general business documentation.
•Improve the ability to analyse and report data more efficiently, improve the accessibility of data to your staff.
•Fax – use a computerised fax system so that faxes can be selectively printed if necessary and encourage email use in its place.

Flexible working

Computing and internet technology have made it possible to work remotely and continue to have full access to data
held at the office.
•Consider purchasing laptops – they use less energy and can be used to work from home or remotely.
•Reduce travelling by working from home or holding meetings online through video conferencing (requires broadband).
•Reduce office costs through enabling your staff to work from home or remotely.
•http://www.flexible-working.org provides useful information on all aspects of flexible working.

Please note: this document has been formatted for viewing on a computer rather than printing.
Please consider the environment before printing this document, thank you.

Author Belinda Waldock July 2009


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