The green transformation in the computing field between standards, best practices, awareness, new processes, IT systems and hardware, and new devices use. The first goal of green computing or even green computing is to minimize the impact on the environment. The IT industry is one of the most polluting. It uses between 5-9% of the total electricity consumption in the world.
Computers, servers, data centers and IT infrastructures contribute over 2% of greenhouse gas emissions. Adopting a radical, economically feasible intervention by focusing on energy efficiency, reuse, disposal, and renovation involves producers, organizations, consumers, and the entire product cycle. How can we improve the way computing devices are used and how sustainable manufacturing practices are developed?
The Meaning Of Green Computing
Green computing is a sustainable approach to information technology. It involves using methodologies and best practices from the design, construction and management of information technology devices from the smallest smartphone to entire data centers.
A Bit Of History
The first green initiative dates back to 1992. The American Environmental Protection Agency or EPA conceived the Energy Star program and a mark to identify hardware products of different types. With lower energy consumption. The Energy brand recognizable by the white star on a blue background, whose specifications have been expanded and implemented over the years, is found on many American products.
Over the years, large groups have had initiatives that were moving towards a green direction, demonstrating ever-increasing attention. In May 2004, Intel Corporation stated that it blocked the development of two computer chips (Tejas and Jayhawk) for desktop/server systems favoring more efficient chip technology. Intel’s method of increasing chip speed was starting to require expensive and too noisy cooling systems for computers.
How To Implement A Holistic Approach
A practical and realistic holistic approach is based on a path that Green declined in the following aspects.
- Design: Low-power, high-energy-efficient design of computers, servers, cooling equipment and data centers.
- Manufacturing: the production of PCs and electronic components through alternative energy sources and the reduction of manufacturing waste.
- Use: the environmentally friendly use of computers to reduce electricity consumption through energy-saving, hibernation or sleep mode.
- Disposal: the disposal of technological devices that can no longer be used through recycling procedures, respecting the environment and safety.
Goals Of Green Computing
Green IT has a dual purpose. On the one hand, servers to improve technological performance to reduce the emission of greenhouse gasses and carbon dioxide. On the other hand, we have an economic saving for the organizations or economic advantage in the production phase. A path that embraces many areas. This translates into increasingly complex and systemic objectives to involve producers, organizations and end-users. In this process, it becomes essential to look at the following factors.
Increased Product Life
To limit electronic waste and avoid the need to produce more than necessary. This aspect includes repair, modularity, and upgrades to extend electronic devices’ life cycle and avoid premature obsolescence.
Recycling And Disposal Of Computer Materials
To prevent many harmful substances such as mercury, lead, and cadmium from reaching landfills. Recycling and disposal can be accompanied by practices such as replacing part of the equipment or reusing through donations to non-profit organizations or associations. An essential aspect of recycling old computers is related to their privacy which must always be safeguarded.
To achieve greater energy efficiency and use fewer fossil fuels, for example, by monitoring when and where electricity is needed, reusing waste energy and increasing renewable energy sources.
Data centers consume a significant amount of total energy around the world. Energy-efficient design is an important goal for the implementation and evolution of green computing. Eco-design of data centers encompasses IT systems, electrical systems, cooling systems, environmental conditions, air management, waste heat recycling, and power generation. At the same time, the design must optimize data center space utilization, effectiveness and performance. Regulatory compliance and monitoring (e.g. through sensors) are vital for green IT goals. To these must be added the assessment of the risks associated with the environment.
The Activities Of Green Computing
Green computing applies higher environmental standards to the production, use and disposal of information technology. Look at renewable resources or eco-sustainable and biodegradable materials such as biomaterials obtained from cellulose and used for devices and the IoT ( green IoT ) and the future of the smart home. Many examples also include computers with advanced power management systems. Computers are made to work with alternative energy sources and computers made without environmentally harmful materials.
IT teams can use algorithms to route traffic away from a data center with a warmer climate, shut down systems and air conditioning while reducing energy consumption. Apply virtualization as a process of abstraction and division of computer resources of processors, storage or memory and thus distribute the work so that the servers do not consume energy when they are not in use. An energy-efficient technology has attracted many service providers with software packages to enable virtual computing.
Examples Of Green Computing: From Teleworking To Edge Computing
From the last two years, remote working or teleworking as a tool used to respond to the Covid-19 emergency is increasingly destined to become a model for reducing mobility and emissions. The National Agency for New Technologies, Energy and Sustainable Economic Development, Enea, has estimated, thanks to remote work, a reduction in daily mobility per person of an hour and a half on average. This translates into a saving of € 4 million in non-purchase of fuel. And in a reduction of 8 thousand tons of CO2 emissions.
The Role Of The Cloud
Cloud and edge computing are critical to reducing energy consumption and carbon emissions. The former reduces the need for data centers, while edge computing allows for smaller data centers with less maintenance.
In addition to the previous ones, parallel computing is added, allowing execution on multiple processors interacting through shared memory instead of being performed on separate hardware and creating efficient algorithms that influence the number of resources required for a computation function. All this to have a better and more efficient code. In the future, connectivity will also be crucial. Implementing 5G technology in four carbon-intensive sectors (energy, transport, manufacturing and construction) could ensure emissions savings of between 55 and 170 million tons of CO2 per year.
There are many examples of green computing also at the consumer level. They are mainly related to power management and energy saving. But an aspect that remains fundamental and is essential must concern information and training on the conscious use of ICT tools at home as in the company.