What is Green Computing?
The rapid rise of new technologies in this data-dominant world is affecting the environment to a great extent. This has led several industries to adopt the green revolution, especially the ones like information technology and tech-driven sectors.
Adhering to this “go green” practice even giant players such as Amazon and Google are including green computing practices as an important objective in their business plans. But what is green computing all about and why businesses are keen to adopt green computing practices. Let’s find out in this post.
Table of Contents
- What is Green Computing?
- How Green Computing helps our environment from getting damaged?
- How to adopt Green Computing?
- How companies are leveraging Green Computing?
What is Green Computing?
Green computing is the use of computers and related resources in an environmentally responsible way. It is the study of designing, developing, using, and disposing of computers and other electronic devices and resources in such a way that their usage causes minimal to no environmental impact.
Green computing practices are followed religiously today to reduce the carbon footprint. In other words, reversing the alarming levels of carbon emission being released into the atmosphere is leading to the production of greenhouse gases. This has an unfavorable impact on our environment.
With organizations becoming more responsible towards climatic changes, and their keenness towards reducing and reporting their carbon emissions subtly, green computing is taking all the industries, especially the IT world by storm.
How Green Computing helps our environment from getting damaged?
A computer on average uses 200W/hour when it is in use(including printer and CPU). A computer that is on for 8 hours uses a whopping 600 KWH and releases about 175 Kg of Co2 into the environment. This is equivalent to the same amount of carbon emitted from factories and vehicles.
Techno trash, also called e-waste, is another alarming threat to our environment. Usually, unwanted electronic devices and systems are dumped into landfills by companies to dispose of them. These electronic items comprise non-biodegradable items that seep into the ground and contaminate the groundwater and land.
Hence, green computing practices that also involve responsible refurbishing and reusing of e-waste are increasingly becoming a necessity than an option to protect our future generation.
Green computing practices are also aimed at minimizing power and energy consumption by electronic equipment, which, in turn, release huge amounts of carbon into the atmosphere. This carbon emission is harmful to all forms of living species in our environment both directly and indirectly.
How to adopt Green Computing?
- Purchase electronic devices from environment-committed companies.
- Buy energy star-labeled monitors, laptops, and printers. Not only are they energy efficient but also cost-efficient. The best thing about these “energy-efficient" devices is that they can be powered down to a lower state when they are not in use. This helps in saving energy and keeping them cool which helps them last even longer. The energy star specification for computers was last revised on October 15, 2019. And the final specification was created in April 2020. These include all the performance requirements to qualify the energy star rating for computers, tablets, laptops, printers, and whatnot.
- Laptops should be switched to sleep mode when not in use. This reduces the electricity consumption and thereby reduces the carbon emission produced by it. This is typically comparable to the carbon emitted by 5 million cars.
- Recycle used computer devices and equipment. Staples, an office stationery retailer, has initiated a recycling program. They accept any used brands of IT supplies, be it laptops, computers, printers, or even keyboards and mice.
- Use power strips. Power strips keep track of the power consumed by your computer peripherals. Also when it senses that you have turned off your computer/laptop, it automatically shuts down your peripheral too, preventing any idle current drawn even when your equipment is off.
- Deploy virtual technologies. A huge number of servers and data centers contribute relentlessly to greenhouse gases and consume humongous amounts of energy and electricity. Moving to the cloud is a good idea for reducing your hardware on-premises. By pooling your resources in the cloud and reducing the hardware on-premises, you can substantially reduce power consumption and save on your energy bill.
How companies are leveraging Green Computing?
Many companies in the IT sector have become aware of the biohazards caused by greenhouse gases and carbon emissions and are increasingly incorporating eco-friendliness in their IT practices. One such company is Intel.
By using disaggregated servers and environmentally friendly data center facilities and operations, Intel managed e-waste and energy efficiency to a great level.
Think of it this way - When you want to replace the lighting, you just change the bulbs, you do not change the lighting fixture. Just like that, Intel upgrades its tech modules without refurbishing its entire server architecture.
This method of just upgrading the necessary components instead of upgrading its net server architecture had also saved it a lot of capital costs. On top of this, Intel had purchased 3.4 KWh of green power to ensure the judicious use of energy without contributing to carbon emissions.
With the advent of severe climatic changes, green computing has become indispensable in our lives. It is saving our energy resources and paving the way for a better future. Even Google and Microsoft have become carbon neutral since the last decade, emphasizing the use of green computing practices.
Recently, Microsoft announced the use of submarine technology to test an underwater data center with plans to leverage marine renewable energy as its primary energy source. This also eliminates the need to use external equipment to cool their resource.
Also, organizations are emphasizing the need to go paperless. But yes, one company cannot change the world. The responsibility lies in the hands of everybody to ensure that the environment we are living in is green and clean. Your organization can also contribute to this by adopting green computing practices.