What is Green Computing?


Nowadays, when we hear the word green, eco-friendly related things come to mind, and if you thought about that, well you are correct.

In fact green computing is also known as green technology, and it is simply the use of energy-efficient computers and other computing devices.

How is Green Computing applied?

Organisations which opt to implement green computing in their methods often install energy-efficient central processing units (CPUs), servers, peripherals and power systems.

They also focus on how to dispose physical and electronic waste (e-waste) properly.

Early use of Green Computing

In the United States, one of the first green computing initiatives was the Energy Star labelling program.

It was a voluntary program which was developed by the Environmental Protection Agency in 1992, and applied by manufacturers to encourage the use of energy efficiency in computing hardware and other types of appliances. This Energy Star label is usually found on laptops and computer monitors.

European and Asian countries have since implemented similar programs.

Green Computing Strategy

Fortunately, if I may add, several governments are promoting and driving green efforts, with climate change in mind, along with internal and external pressures to be environmentally responsible, which is a third factor behind the green movement.

When this green responsibility is cascaded down to organisations, their IT managers need to embrace the challenge, and they typically apply energy efficient rules on data centres, equipment rooms, storage areas and other components that utilise energy or are affected by energy usage. While at it, saving money will surely be another driving factor.

Companies which apply green computing strategy may involve some of the following procedures:

  • Remote working – The Covid-19 pandemic surely changed the workplace environment as we knew it. Remote or home working was introduced, and some companies are still using it or hybrid (switching between office and home) till present. Obviously this has decreased the number of commuters, and cut down heavily on employees being physically present at the office, thus lessening the utilisation of power, water and other resources.
  • Smart technology – Organisations who opt to utilise the Internet of Things (IoT) sensors and/or Artificial Intelligence (AI) monitoring tools, can gather and examine evidence about the data centre and create a power practice model. AI-powered tools can also independently manage heating, cooling and power in the data centre.
  • Upgrade and rearrange the data centre – Stands to reason that old equipment often uses more energy and emanates more heat than newer devices. Setups can be utilised to group assets based on energy consumption and temperature, while optimizing heat, ventilation and air conditioning (HVAC) efficiency.
  • Power down – During extended periods of inactivity, CPUs and peripherals can be powered down and turned off. Also, power up energy-intensive devices such as laser printers, only when needed.
  • Strategic scheduling – Dedicate slots of time for computer-related duties, while leaving hardware off at other times.
  • Display selection – Cathode-ray tube monitors are ideally replaced by liquid crystal display monitors which use less energy and give off less heat.
  • Computer selection – Desktop computers can be swapped with laptops, which again use less energy.
  • Power management – Settings can be arranged so that displays and hard drives are powered down after several minutes of inactivity.
  • Temperature check – The data centre may not need to be cool as in the past, since newer IT devices can safely run at higher temperatures than older ones.
  • E-Waste – Disposing of e-waste according to local regulations.
  • Alternative energy – The utilisation of geothermal cooling, wind and hydroelectric (water) power are forms of alternative energy on which governments and companies need to invest, while continuing to investigate other types.

Green Computing is the way forward

Consequently, with the aforementioned strategies, both governments and organisations will comprehensively contribute to reduce not only their costs in energy consumption, but also lessen carbon footprint, particularly of IT assets.

Computers and other computing resources are now high-energy assets thanks to the studies made about the environmental impact of IT components, resulting in advancements in energy management and energy conservation.

Even new construction and building upgrades are being more environmentally sustainable by implementing a green design for data centres, office buildings and other high-energy assets.

Green IT will help us reduce the usage of energy derived from fossil fuels, thus less pollution released in the atmosphere and in water systems. These reduced emissions have been proven to have positive effects on weather and air quality.

Therefore, green computing can be reached by planning ahead and implementing energy considerations when using energy-efficient equipment, HVAC systems, power systems, lighting and a variety of ancillary systems, like a sleep mode to shut down systems when in low or no use.

Most IT manufacturers support green engineering which is encouraging, like the Energy Star logo aforementioned shows, which is an important metric when selecting IT gear and data centre components.

Closing thoughts

Installing energy efficient equipment then is a must, as by using low energy lighting, including timers or motion detectors to control light switches, but also fans in between computer racks to reduce heat and refillable printer cartridges, all contribute immensely and are fundamental not only for the organisations which opt for green and their finances, but also resulting in less carbon footprint, leaving a positive effect on the reduction of pollution, people`s health and better conservation of our one and only home, planet Earth.

From reducing costs, to improved air and water quality, green computing affects everyone and is surely the way forward in IT and technology. It is paramount that talks are held with stakeholders, and government grants launched as incentives, so that organisations and companies switch to green for the benefit of everyone. It`s really a win-win situation which must be recommended in the market and adopted promptly.