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Created

January 23, 2009

Efficiency of Green: It’s right under your nose

Looking back on 2008, one of the big issues world-wide was Green IT across both private and public sector.

As we head into 2009 with challenging budgetary times for all, I think this issue will continue to dominate, having traded all it’s Kermit the frog cuteness for the pragmatic mantra of “saving green by being green”.

So what does this translate to for government agencies?


A lot of the focus has been around server energy efficiency, renewable and alternative energy, air and water quality and land use. All important, however there is a simple way agencies can go green while significantly reducing costs and its right under our noses – reducing paper use.

When we think about Green IT, its not just about how we can make IT green, but also how IT can help transform processes critical to government (delivering services, ensuring public safety) so they are more environmentally friendly.

Here are some statistics that really highlights the prevalence of paper waste and the opportunity for the public sector to take a leadership role in reducing this waste with IT/technology: electronic documents, forms and automated processes.

  • The typical office worker uses about 10,000 sheets (20 reams) of paper per year.
  • The average document gets copied 19 times.
  • Chlorine-based paper processing uses up to 50,000 gallons of water per ton of paper.
  • The paper industry emits the fourth-highest level of carbon dioxide among manufacturers.

By applying technology to this problem, government can not only improve the environment through policy creation, but also by example. In my next entry I will highlight practical ways some government agencies have achieved this goal of paper reduction and how it has led to significant return-on-investment.

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