Changing colours….think green!

In the news we are hearing nowadays a lot about climate change, environmental protection and CO2 emissions. We all know that we should separate our garbage, use the bike or the bus instead of the car, take a shower instead of a bath or use the new LED energy-saving lamps instead of the old light bulb.

How about computing technology? How can we act here to save a lot of energy and protect our environment?

We all work daily with our PCs or laptops, at work, university and even in schools. Do we know how we can act environmentally friendly here? To be honest I didn’t know! So my first blog is about green computing and I am sure after writing this blog you and I will know a lot more about green computing and also about energy-saving!

We blame a lot aviation for warming up our planet which can certainly not be denied. However, what about our laptop or PC which is probably used every day?

Do our PCs and laptops also emit a lot of CO2 emissions?

Actually information and communication technology accounts around 2 % of CO2 emissions which is more or less the same amount we have in aviation.

Besides the production of computers is very bad for the environment. It takes about
1.8 tonnes of chemicals, sulphides and water to build a typical desktop computer. Many materials currently used in building PCs have a lot of difficulties to recycle. It is therefore not surprising that in Greenpeace recent guide to greener electronics no computer manufacturer got a satisfactory green ranking.

How can we as PC or laptop user reduce energy?

Here are some advices how electricity used by computers can be reduced:

During my research about green computing I revealed that in the UK over 40 % of the adult population uses regularly PCs at work, however 18 % are never switched off at night or weekends. That results in an energy waste of 1.5 billion kWh of electricity per year and 700,000 tones of needless CO2 emissions.

With virtualization, consolidation, energy efficiency, collaboration IBM is in the forefront of green computing with its project Green Business Solution. IBM has already leaded the way with virtualization in their project the Big Green in 2008 to consolidating 2900 servers onto 30 mainframes to achieve an 80 % energy-saving. Smaller companies can achieve virtualization benefits through hardware as a service. It is where they purchase their computer processing requirements from an online facility such as Amazons Elastic Compute Cloud.

When it comes to being green, computing may be both part of the problem and part of the solution. PCs waste often a lot of energy and building them is anything but environmentally friendly.

However using computers also have an environmentally friendly site. Computers can be also used to increase business efficiency. Through better logistic coordination empty lorries can be reduced, fumes lowered and energy saved.

Furthermore computing developments helps our environment due to dematerialization.

That happens where physical products were replaced with digital downloads and web-based information services. I think all of us know “iTunes store” where you get everything you need to be entertained.

Computer technology also can assist with travel reduction. By enabling people to telework and so avoid a daily commute. Video conferences and other online communication tools can also help to avoid long-distance travels and save the environment.

Once Intel argued “Computing has already saved resources that it has consumed”
(Intel Sustainability White Paper 2007)

But what do you think? Look forward to get your feedback!

See you

Kathrin

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2 Comments

  1. Hey Kathrin,
    well, first of all, I’m completely impressed by your first post. I think it’s a great start. And though I am in your team and decided to write on the same overall topic, I have to admit you gave a lot new and interesting insights in facts. I didn’t know these impressing (in a negative way) numbers of energy which is used only for computers and when you say how difficult it is to recycle the material, it let me think about the waste disposal sites we have in germany. they must be treasure island as it appears, being a place of collection of important, rare and expensive materials. I don’t agree with the quote you gve from Intel. To be honest, this is just the easiest way to respond to criticism or the bad conscience we get when thinking about our energy consumption…Just giving something back we cannot proof. So thank you for introducing our blog and well done 🙂

    Reply
  2. HannahJulianeVeronika

     /  November 25, 2011

    Hi Kathrin,

    it was really interesting to read your blog post – especially because our group is writing about energy technology. You showed both, the bad and good side of technology and gave useful simple tips for everyday to readers.

    Your post could really change behavior or at least make people think about the environment the next time they turn their laptop to standbye.

    Reply

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