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Green computing is good for the planet, but that message alone will not convince end customers that they need to buy into green technologies and services. No, the most compelling argument is purely business-driven: Will this virtualization solution cut down on the number of servers I need and reduce my power consumption and utility costs? Will the newer printers on the market today cut down on the amount of paper or ink toner I need to use?

Those will be the primary questions on end customers’ minds. Saving the planet is a nice bonus. As their trusted advisor, however, it’s important that you not only tell customers they’ll save money, but actually show them how much. Be prepared to make the ROI argument, do the cost-saving calculations.

On Aug. 27, Microsoft, Citrix, HP and Intel are calling for the equivalent of a universal moment of silence for green computing, asking users to power down their computer, monitor and printer at the end of the day. The vendors plan to calculate the number of people participating in the Power IT Down and post the results of the costs saved. A portion of the proceeds of the cost-savings will be donated to the Wounded Warrior Project.

Gimmicky? Sure, a bit. It’s good publicity for vendors that all stand to gain in the green computing market. But it’s also an example of the kind of ROI and cost-saving tabulations that solution providers selling green technologies and services can and should offer in their own businesses.

Especially in today’s economy, end customers will find it hard to argue with hard numbers that show them exactly how much money they’ll save on monthly energy bills, especially if the data plugged into the assessment tools is real. Many vendors, including Cisco, provide these assessment tools for their partners to use today.

When it comes to green technologies and services, no argument will make the case better than telling a customer how much money they are going to save. It’s the business case, not the environmental one, that will close deals.