Green Computing

Growing international concern over the impact on the environment is focusing also on the waste that is generated from the computers we use, and the peripherals we use with them. A recent news clip from Sky News puts the carbon emissions of ICT industry in perspective. They claim that carbon emissions from global ICT community equal that of the worldwide aviation industry, and are growing much faster. One small computer server generates as much carbon dioxide as a SUV with a fuel efficiency of 15 miles per gallon. The ICT industry in the UK consumes the equivalent amount of electricity as produced by 4 nuclear reactors. The aviation industry is already going to great lengths to mitigate its carbon footprint, but to date, very little comparable developments are being undertaken by the ICT industry. And yet the ICT industry is in the best position of any sector in society to reduce its carbon footprint to nearly zero and beyond.

Some implications for educational institutions:

  • Do you have an efficient policy for the disposal of surplus and out-of-date computer equipment?
  • Lease instead of owning computers—making sure the lease company has a “green” disposal policy. Often there is a premium in the lease pricing, but, in the end, it is a lot cheaper and more efficient for schools than trying to do this themselves.
  • Replace old CRT monitors with LCD monitors to decrease carbon emissions and power consumption.
  • Consider co-location of servers in virtual hosting environments to minimize power consumption.