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Taking the lessons I learned through the ongoing pandemic situation, as well as a lot of additional past experience, wbITConsulting implemented measures to start up and remain sustainable while minimizing our environmental impact. The following are a list of some of the measures we have already put in place or are still planned:
- In place/completed
- Utilizing existing space (conversion of unused and inefficiently used space)
- Building materials for the new office space from sustainable resources - all construction work with minimum waste. (This led to higher labor costs, since all materials purchased for construction and finishing were completely used.)
- Continued use of aged IT equipment. For the most part, only minimal expansions were required (eg: more RAM and SSDs for booting) and use of open source operating systems (eg: Linux). Reducing carbon and ecological footprint by continued use of existing components.
- Work from home business model. Only weekly and/or bi-weekly personal team meetings at our main office location. Reducing overall carbon footprint by keeping travel/commute costs at a minimum.
- Combined, hybrid (cloud + on-site) IT infrastructure
- Extensive power management policies and procedures. Further reducing overall power consumption and carbon footprint.
- Digital doucmentation and processing, reducing paper usage by over 90%.
- Planned (next 1-2 years)
- Implementing solar power (PV) and energy storage system to cover and exceed wbITC's energy requirements.
- Implementing a rainwater harvesting system. Each litre of rainwater used reduces the dependence on mains water; cutting water bills and cutting back on waste of fresh water.
- Smart technology, controlling and monitoring energy usage like heating and cooling of office space as well as lighting.
Since my own personal discovery of the "Open Source" (Software) idea in 1996, I have been an advocate for the Open Source "movement". Personally, I stopped working with proprietary software products in 1997 and have been running my company's operations solely on Open Source products ever since. However, as a professional IT company, we do realize that other operating systems also have their place - especially in the business world - and we have been keeping up to date on those as well. Open Source is a matter of choice and goes a long way towards achieving corporate independence and sustainability.
- Using open source operating systems on outdated hardware can considerably extend the lifespan of your hardware, without sacrificing usability, stability or security.
- With open source projects, you can make your company staff learn new concepts, ideas, or unique techniques to meet work needs or expectations.
- Using open-source software in place of expensive proprietary alternatives can be a good option in saving a lot of money which can further be used in meeting a company's other important requirements.
Open Source products and tools are created by a multidude of individuals and teams from many countries around the world. Many contributors never see a dime for their contribution, while others contribute through projects they are being paid for through their employers or customers. However, in no other industry do we see so many projects being abandoned, simply due to lack of recognition (aka: funding). If everyone using such great tools as Thunderbird (email client), Firefox (Web browser), LibreOffice, Wikipedia or whatever, please consider making a donation to the respective owners or at least to open source causes in general. Your donations would greatly improve the sustainability of open source products.
If you are interested in finding out more about open source, and how how to further improve it's sustainability, here is a nice article to get you started from: StackOverflow