Redefining Sustainability in Technology Through Green Computing

The Dark Clouds

Congratulations! You have just dissipated heat from the environment. The latest research has proved that even a single click of a mouse on the web page consumes energy and dissipates heat from the environment. Power consumption by IT resources is alarming, the users are growing exponentially and the stakeholders must come up with innovative techniques to reduce energy consumption – according to EPA (Environmental Protection Agency) it takes 240 kg of fossil fuel, 22 kg of chemicals including hazardous and 1.5 tons of water to make a single desktop. Burning of fossil fuels to make a single desktop is around 600 kg, that’s the ‘environmental cost’ of a computer. A google report blew my mind – the report stated that a google search requires 0.2 grams of carbon dioxide, it’s impossible to avoid that, google search engines have become an integral part of our lives, without that we would be helpless. So almost every second we are adding carbon into our environment.

The Green Clouds

The IT and the software industry know that they are negatively impacting the environment, today the total energy consumed by ICT (Information and Communication Technology) is between 5-9 percent only to increase annually 6-9 percent. The industry’s contribution to the global greenhouse gas emission is 2.8 percent. This industry knows these figures and numbers might be good for the business but not good for the environment, hence they have resorted to green computing.

Green computing is an approach that focuses on manufacturing eco- friendly hardware devices and components, and develop energy-saving software. Hardware manufacturing, software development, enforcement of the policy, and awareness among the people are the four holistic approaches that directly impact green computing. Adopting green computing helps in cost reduction, it is beneficial to the enterprise and helps in conserving energy that can be used for some future. Here are some efforts that the IT and software industry are taking to save the environment.

  1. Computer scientists have developed algorithms based on techniques that help reduce the number of steps to come up with an answer to your query turning these algorithms energy efficient.
  2. The multithreading capabilities of software reduce overall energy consumption (as each thread processes the activity independently and parallel).
  3. Google designed a new search engine that is based on the concept of the color of the screen if the screen is white it consumes 74 W energy and if the screen is black it consumes just 59 W, this search engine is called Blackle, if we switch to the same it can save up to 750 MW every year.
  4. Manufacturing IT components requires the packing that adds to carbon footprint, nowadays packaging materials are often designed to reuse. Some practices such as not providing manuals instead of downloading it from the website reduce weight and energy use.
  5. Computing techniques like – Green cloud computing, Green servers, and Big data centers, Optimized information system, Green data storage, Biocomputing, and Nano computing are assisting for the development of Green Computing.

Green Over Dark

As of June 2020, Blackle claims to save over 8 MWh of energy. So let’s take a moment to appreciate the efforts of the Software and IT industry for taking out the time and spending resources on research that helps in fighting the environmental adversities. Appreciation is as important as criticism, something that we tend to overlook. It encourages you to do more. The ‘tomorrow’ is immensely amazing and exciting with the development of biocomputing, nano-computing, virtual reality or augmented reality, I’ll even say that in the next couple of decades we might have internet or a computer fixed at the back of the eye, that we would be able to control by our motions. But to enjoy these technological advancements there should be an Earth that needs saving today. As Barney Stinson of the popular show ‘How I Met Your Mother’ would say, the future is ‘gonna be legen-waitforit-dary’, all we need to do is wait and keep doing our bit. Dawn Computer is one of the most powerful computers that exist today. The computer sinks 1 million watts of power and generates so much heat that it requires 6,675 tons of air-conditioning equipment that blows 2.7 million cubic feet of chilled air every minute. So to model a human brain, just scale up these numbers by a factor of 1000 – on the contrary, the human brain uses just 20 watts and the heat generated is negligible yet it easily performs better than the greatest supercomputer – the point being we have what it takes to provide mutually benefiting solutions to both the environment and the business. We are the most intelligent species that nature has created, to find some other form as complex and intelligent life as ours, we will have to go out to at least 24 trillion miles, the distance to the nearest star and even beyond. It just happens to be at the disposal of humans and in abundance, so let’s use it to help the Nature heal.

Remember people together we can and we will save the Earth!

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