How IT Can Adopt Sustainable Technology to Promote a Greener World

By: Becky Lawlor - Leave a comment


If you spend your time daydreaming about an Earth with cleaner air and more green space, you may have opted out of driving your car to the office and adopted public transportation or the bike route. But if you’re really looking for more ways to decrease your carbon footprint, you can also consider deploying sustainable technology at your organization.

Adopting cloud computing can be an effective way to go green in IT. U.S. data centers consume about 70 billion kilowatt-hours of electricity per year, according to Data Center Knowledge.

While energy consumption has improved in data centers, unutilized servers continue to be a huge energy drain. A Stanford research report found that 30 percent of data center servers are comatose — meaning one-third of the energy used to run data centers is wasted. Enterprises that shift away from individual data centers to cloud computing will consume less energy, reduce overall impact on the environment and contribute to a greener world for everyone.

Sustainable Technology: Sharing Is Caring for the Earth

Just as checking out a book from the library is a more sustainable solution for the environment than everyone buying their own copy, so is sharing technology. As more enterprises move to the cloud, there are not only fewer raw materials required to build data centers but also fewer comatose servers running far below capacity.

A recent study by Global e-Sustainability Initiative found that if 80 percent of global enterprises adopted cloud computing and powered down local servers, it would result in a 4.5 megaton reduction in carbon emissions in the IT sector. This translates to a 2 percent decrease in the world’s overall carbon footprint, or the equivalent of removing 1.7 million cars from the road.

The Future Is Greener and Cleaner

Using the public cloud is more sustainable than a traditional data center, but there’s still room for improvement and further energy efficiency. According to Cordis, the typical cloud server only operates at approximately 20 percent of capacity. While this is better than the 3 to 5 percent that many data center servers run on, according to InfoWorld, cloud computing can continue to improve its efficiency and sustainability.

According to Cordis, the EU is currently funding a project called CloudLightning to create a more efficient and sustainable cloud by combining high-performance computational power with hardware and servers to create a heterogeneous rather than homogeneous cloud. While still a work in progress, the project believes it can increase the cloud’s computing capacity from today’s 20 percent to a more sustainable 80 percent.

Ongoing initiatives such as this offer encouragement that cloud computing will continue to promote sustainability in the future. With public cloud spending on the rise, the future looks greener and cleaner.

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About The Author

Becky Lawlor

Freelance Writer

Becky Lawlor is a freelance technology writer. She develops and writes content on topics such as mobility, cloud services, unified communications, managed services and more.