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The Chartered Institute of Housing is the independent voice for housing and the home of professional standards

What has sustainable IT got to do with the housing sector?


Ahead of his session at International Housing Summit, 2 July, Tech does good, Tom Greenwood, managing director, Wholegrain Digital, shares his thoughts on the challenges and opportunities Green IT brings to the housing sector.

On 2 July, I’ll be on the panel for the tech keynote panel discussion - “Tech and climate change - Sustainable IT” together with Ellen Wilson from Microsoft and Jemma Waters from Lloyds Banking Group. I’m delighted to see this topic on the agenda, but to many attending, you might be wondering what sustainable IT has to do with the housing sector.

You might be surprised to learn that IT is one of the fastest growing sources of energy use worldwide and accounts for roughly 2% of global carbon emissions, equivalent to the global aviation industry. As we consume more and more data, we need more energy to store it, transmit it and consume it in our homes and offices.

For the housing sector, it presents some interesting challenges and opportunities. Green IT can be more efficient and save money, and if integrated into the procurement process for cloud software and storage services, it can also be a good signal to show staff and customers that you are serious about sustainability. Furthermore, a focus on sustainability in your own web presence and digital services can help improve accessibility and user experience, helping you to deliver better service and achieve better online engagement.

And then there is housing itself, where locally generated renewable energy and communities designed to encourage outdoor activities and “offline time” could deliver high quality of life while reducing digital emissions.

Data consumption is set to continue rising rapidly for years to come, so a focus on efficiency, renewable energy and using digital technology to nudge people towards more healthy, sustainable lifestyles will be key to reducing emissions. The clock is ticking in decarbonising our economy and IT is not just a sector in its own right, but a central part of all other sectors in the economy. We must therefore all look at how we can green our IT operations and supply chains and help create a future that harnesses the benefits of digital technology, while also hitting essential carbon reduction targets.

Interested to hear more? Book your place at the International Housing Summit, 30 June – 2 July.

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