Our growing reliance on excessive use of technology has resulted in some adverse effects on the ecological system. While there is no denying that the evolution of modern technology has greatly contributed in improving the quality of human life, it is equally hard to overlook the fact that the same technological developments have thrown the ecological system off balance.
One of the most imposing threats to the world’s ecology stems from an incessant increase in energy consumption. The threat perception emerging from current state of ecology has led to the genesis and evolution of green technologies.
Green Technology in a Nutshell
Green technology encompasses use of one or several forms of environmental sciences with a view to safeguard natural resources from the fall-outs of human dependence on technology. The concept is based on bringing about changes in daily lifestyles and using innovation to counter effects of technological developments, particularly since the advent of information technology nearly two decades ago.
Green technology is based on a broad framework of:
- Sustainability: It aims at devising means and ways to meet society’s technological requirements without hampering the ecological balance.
- Source Diminution: Bringing about changes in ways of consumption and production with a view to limit waste generation and pollution.
- Innovation: Looking for alternative means to meet technological requirements. For instances, energy generation through wind turbines and photovoltaics.
- Feasibility: The ultimate aim is bring about a paradigm shift so that economic activity in the future is centered on environment-friendly products and technologies.
Green Technology in IT
Today, great stress is being laid on imbibing models of green technology in the IT sector. The process is also known as Green Computing (gC) or Green IT (gIT). The following approaches are being adopted with a view to align IT processes with the core value of sustainability:
- Achieving product longevity.
- Improving data center designs with a view to increase energy efficiency and performance, and improve utilization of data center space.
- Aiming at deployment and software optimization with an aim to achieve algorithmic efficiency and better resource allocation.
- Creating storage devices that consume lesser per gigabyte power.
Basic Steps for Green IT
Green Computing or Green IT is not a mere white-wash expression for climate control agencies, governments and businesses to take refuge in. Instead, it is a tangible initiative to encourage companies to make an assessment of the way they use their IT resources and find new ways to improve energy efficiency.
The ultimate aim of protecting the environment and restoring the ecological balance through responsible use of technology related equipment can be achieved by following a few basic steps:
- Turning off all parts like CPUs when idle for extended amount of time.
- Multitasking in order to reduce use of hardware time and amount of energy used to keep it running.
- Switching on peripherals with high energy consumption such as laser printers only when required
- Replacing cathode-ray-tube monitors with LCD ones.
- Preferring notebooks computers and laptop over desktop computer whenever possible.
- Minimal print jobs and use of paper.
- Investing in recycling paper waste.
- Following government regulation on disposal of e-waste.
- Using alternative sources of energy to keep computers, data centers, and servers operational.
IT Companies and Green Technologies
Realizing the importance of environment conservation and living up to their social responsibility, more and more IT companies across the world are taking to green computing. The trend is not just limited to well-known IT giants. Even smaller IT companies like Australia-based MacquarieTelecom (well known for their green tech aspirations), are doing their bit by incorporating green technologies in everyday operation.
After having studied its energy consumption patterns for over a year, the company decided to go-green and bring down their energy consumption levels considerably.
Besides these lesser-known green initiatives, there are popular green initiatives undertaken by global IT giants:
Google: The leading tech giant has a comprehensive and detailed sustainability plan in place. In addition to its basic green IT plan, Google also resorts to some out-of-the-box eco-friendly initiatives like having the fields near its Mountain View headquarters mowed and fertilized by goats every spring. This innovative technique of replacing harmful chemical fertilizers and noisy lawn mowers with something as natural and eco-friendly as goats has drawn applause from various quarters.
IBM: The data centre expansion by the IT giant in 2007, costing a whopping $86 million, speaks volumes about its commitment to Green IT. The company today resorts to all popular green computing approaches such as high-density computing systems, energy-efficient cooling systems, and storage and server virtualization. The company has also committed to investing a billion dollars every year towards achieving energy efficiency in IT operation for itself as well as its clientele.
Dell: The Company has an ambitious Green IT goal of cutting down emission of green house gases by 40% by the year 2015. In keeping with this commitment, it is also focusing on energy reduction of 25% in its product line.
Intel: One of the biggest feathers in Intel’s hat is its investment in green energy arena. A sizable 51% of company’s energy requirements are met renewable energy sources such as biomass, wind and solar energy generation techniques.
Hewlett-Packard: Computer, software, calculators and networking equipment – you name it, and Hewlett-Packard offers it, making it one of the most diverse IT companies of present times. It also boasts of an equally diverse and effective Green IT policy, where the entire focus is on reduction in energy consumption, presence of toxic chemicals in its line of products and waste generation. HP has also partnered with World Wildlife Fund with a view encourage research on climate change.