Green Hardware System Notes: USPS Case Study

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The USPS: Delivering Your Mail in a New Way

With all of the proposed changes coming to our American way of life, it seems the US Postal Service is moving to show us an example of how a huge entity (albeit more of a public service than a ’normal’ business model) unrolls greener practices. A blog posting on the Green Business Alliance site refers to a new set of protocols being put into practice in the nation’s post offices that amount to 5 million dollars in savings and 615,000 gallons of gasoline saved annually. That’s a lot of savings, without cutting back services, (as of right now, the rumor of a national drawdown to a five day ppstal week is just that, a rumor), and it proves that in a large system like the USPS, there are a lot of opportunities for green incentives to pay off!

The USPS: Is Green Computing Part of the Picture?

So how does structuring IT networks and hardware operations play into the new strategic plans of the US Postal Service? Well, for starters, replacing or obtaining greener equipment is part of a much bigger multi-prong approach, as demonstrated in a special USPS web site detailing ‘Innovation’ and green initiatives across a variety of aspects, many focused on the smarter use of fuel and vehicles. But it does seem like getting more energy efficient hardware does come into the picture, though it’s not specifically mentioned on the prominent pages of the site. A close reading of a USPS “Strategic Transformation Plan to Enhance Sustainability” shows that… “The Postal Service has incorporated energy efficient requirements into mail processing equipment designs. New standards such as power consumption, voltage, and temperature impact are now being reviewed as part of postal procurement procedures.”

Along with this, the next paragraph talks about a shift to buying ENERGY STAR products for USPS facilities. To those familiar with the variety of devices relevant to ENERGY STAR ratings, (the popular new system for identifying energy efficient appliances), this seems like a pretty clear reference to getting new IT equipment that goes through less power daily.

More From the USPS

These pointers toward the greening of USPS facilities are just the beginning of a massive program to restructure this very entrenched American organization that has been in constant fluctuation since the old “Pony Express” days. Other details in the USPS online plan suggest that the US Postal Service will extend its strategies to cover the habits of its customers, by encouraging greener delivery methods (possibly through economic incentives) and developing more comprehensive package service for an even bigger “carbon footprint” reduction. It’s heartening to see this kind of plan going forward, and the USPS really does pave the way for a wide array of businesses to follow its lead, going forward into 2009 and a more energy efficient future.