Posted by Marbenz Antonio on May 9, 2022
Learn how green computing minimizes energy usage and carbon emissions from technology product design, use, and disposal.
Green computing (also known as green IT or sustainable IT) is the process of designing, manufacturing, using, and disposing of computers, chips, other technology components, and peripherals in a way that has a low environmental impact, such as lowering carbon emissions and reducing energy consumption by manufacturers, data centers, and end-users. Choosing sustainably produced raw materials, eliminating electronic waste, and encouraging sustainability through the use of renewable resources are all part of green computing.
Green computing has the potential to have a significant beneficial influence on the environment. Between 1.8 and 3.9 percent of worldwide greenhouse gas emissions are attributed to the information and communication technology (ICT) industry. Furthermore, data centers consume 3% of total yearly energy consumption, an increase of 100% in the previous decade.
According to a paper issued by the Association for Computers Machinery, “the energy consumption and carbon output of computing and the overall ICT industry must be drastically controlled if climate change is to be delayed in time to avert catastrophic environmental harm.”
Every part of contemporary information technology has a carbon price tag, from the tiniest chip to the biggest data center, and green computing aims to lower that price tag. Green computing involves both technology producers and the enterprises, organizations, governments, and individuals that utilize it. Green IT is multi-faceted and requires several decisions at every level, from big data centers implementing rules to cut energy use to people deciding not to use screen savers.
Long before items reach customers, decisions about being green are made. Product design and production, for example, are key areas for reducing technology’s environmental effect.
Chips that are more energy-efficient, such as the IBM-Samsung vertically stackable chip or the IBM 2nm chip, are instances of creative design that increase computer sustainability. Although the energy usage of a single computer chip may appear insignificant, when multiplied by millions, considerable savings may be achieved.
IBM has also discovered technologies that help save energy. For example, heterogeneous architectures combine frameworks such as CPUs and graphics processing units (GPUs) to improve power and energy efficiency.
AiMOS (Artificial Intelligence Multiprocessing Optimized System) is an example of a computer built as part of a cooperation between IBM, Empire State Development, and NY CREATEs. AiMOS is one of the world’s most energy-efficient computers, and it’s being used to produce more advanced and efficient computing processors, among other things.
The carbon price tag of computers is reduced when designers take measures to limit the amount of energy each device consumes in operation and the amount of heat those items create. For example, one of the earliest examples of designers using the notion of green computing to save energy in sleep mode.
Material selection is also critical. Hazardous materials are avoided in the design process, which keeps them out of landfills afterward. Producing less waste in the manufacture of gadgets and components also reduces the environmental impact of technology. Green manufacturing is a distinct but related category of green technology that regulates the factory’s operations.
Other green computing measures include boosting consumers’ capacity to reuse items and making equipment recyclable when they do need to be replaced.
Corporations, governments, and other major organizations may make the most progress in making IT more sustainable. Data centers, server rooms, and data storage spaces all have a substantial possibility for improvement.
Setting up hot and cold aisles in such locations is a crucial step toward greener computing since it lowers energy usage and improves heating, ventilation, and cooling. Emissions are further reduced when automated devices meant to manage temperature and comparable conditions are integrated with hot and cold aisles. Cost savings from reduced energy usage may be recognized in the future.
Making ensuring everything is switched off is a basic step toward efficiency. When not in use, central processing units (CPUs) and peripheral devices such as printers should be turned off. When certain tasks, like printing, are scheduled in blocks of time, peripherals are only used when they are required.
Purchasing departments can also help with green computing. IT’s carbon footprint may be reduced by selecting equipment that will endure and utilizes the least amount of energy required for the work at hand. Notebooks consume less energy than laptops, which in turn consume less energy than desktop PCs.
Green computing isn’t just for major corporations; you can help improve IT sustainability as well. When a large number of people choose to utilize hibernate or sleep mode, the impact can be enormous.
Using the power management functions, as well as altering the screen brightness, minimizes energy usage on any device. Turning off computers at the end of the day and keeping accessories like speakers and printers turned off unless they are in use are other methods to save electricity.
Refilling printer cartridges instead of buying new ones creates less trash, and buying remanufactured equipment instead of new equipment has a lower environmental effect. Electronic waste management promotes sustainability and provides security benefits.
You, too, should pick the most efficient equipment for the work at hand, just as buying departments do. Choose the most efficient device if a notebook or laptop can execute critical tasks just as effectively as a desktop computer. Individuals purchasing new equipment might use the Energy Star ratings as a reference.
In the United States, the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) launched the Energy Star Program in 1992 with the goal of promoting and recognizing energy efficiency. That program sparked widespread adoption of the sleep mode capability in the IT sector, as well as a slew of additional initiatives to boost green computing efforts. Energy Star-certified items must fulfill specific performance requirements and have power management features that non-certified devices may not have.
An EPA funding to the Global Electronics Council aided the effort, resulting in the Electronic Product Environmental Assessment Tool (EPEAT). EPEAT is a product register for items that must meet particular performance requirements, such as materials used, transportation-related greenhouse gas emissions, product lifetime, energy usage, and end-of-life cycle management.
Prior to green computing, the IT sector was more concerned with making smaller and quicker devices than with enhancing sustainability or lowering emissions. Traditional computing is connected with on-premises physical servers and technology, whereas cloud computing signifies a shift toward a more environmentally friendly approach with a higher focus on efficiency.
Various projects and certifications exist to increase green computing standards through the production of industry metrics linked to sustainability. The Green500 is a subset of the Top500, which includes supercomputers as well as the applications for which they are utilized. The Green500 rates supercomputers according to their energy efficiency. The Transaction Processing Performance Council (TCP) is a non-profit that creates performance criteria for the transaction processing industry. SPECPower sets benchmarks for single- and multi-node servers’ power and performance characteristics, with the purpose of increasing efficiency.
One of the most significant obstacles to green computing advancement is a lack of care. When it comes to climate change, few people think about the IT business. Along with a widespread lack of care, the IT industry has evolved in such a way that the creation of smaller and quicker components and devices has taken precedence over environmentally friendly ones.
Because technology advances and changes so quickly, extending the lives of products is difficult, and technology creators must guarantee that each iteration continues to fulfill environmentally friendly requirements. Switching from a traditional setup in a factory, data center, or corporate office to a green setup necessitates a significant upfront financial expenditure, which can be a significant obstacle.
Decision-making is tough for IT end-users due to fragmented data and different demands. Speed and performance, for example, have a different value in a large data center than they do for a home user.
Users must consider several issues during the lifespan of a computer device. When it comes to servers, security may be more important to a large corporation than the environmental effect. A smaller gadget that is easy to carry may be more significant to a college student than having one that is totally recyclable.
Green computing offers the potential to reduce the environmental effect of computers. The ICT sector, on the other hand, has a huge chance to help the environment by developing programs and systems that minimize power usage, enhance water management, and embrace virtualization as a strategy to save energy.
Wherever you are on the journey to green IT and sustainability within your business, ensuring that your apps only utilize the resources they require is a realistic first step that may have a significant and immediate impact on energy usage. In data centers and the public cloud, this significantly decreases waste (cost and carbon impact). A solution like IBM Turbonomic Application Resource Management may help you achieve that objective by continually analyzing application resource use and ensuring that apps have what they need to execute while conforming to business requirements. You can automate operations and minimize resource congestion across a hybrid cloud environment with a thorough awareness of the application and infrastructure stack, while also launching larger sustainability investments.