It’s quite common for a new product or solution to boast how it helps companies “go green” by reducing the energy it consumes or cutting down on the need for travel. That’s all well and good, but is it enough? In order to be environmentally friendly, the IT industry also needs to step up and start cutting down its electricity consumption.
According to a study funded by Alcatel-Lucent (News - Alert) and conducted by BIO Intelligence Services, the IT’s demand for electricity has not gone down, and will in fact become greater if something is not done.
By 2020, it predicts, that industry alone will be responsible for 4 percent of the entire world’s greenhouse gas output in a best-case scenario.
If there are no efficiency measures implemented, the assessment predicts, the IT and communication sectors would generate hundreds of gigatonnes of CO2 emissions. However, should efficiency measures be put into place, the output would only reach 1.43 gigatonnes by that same point in time.
That’s a huge difference, but one that can be easily made.
If the tech sector doesn’t cut down on its consumption, it’ll be lucky to just provide 4 percent of the world’s carbon emissions. Based on the high-end network traffic growth scenario from Bell Labs (News - Alert), global telecommunications traffic seems to be growing at an exponential rate, but energy consumption is growing even faster with it.
There are ways to help, though. Should it stay within the 4 percent of greenhouse emissions, the industry will save more than it emits. There are ways to save energy without getting any new technology or tools; it just means implementing some power-saving policies.
Of course, there are plenty of solutions that boast low energy consumption, so those should be considered as well when looking into new ones. The cloud is also a great way to help reduce emissions for small deployments, as it puts everything on a hosted location for access when needed.
There’s no reason to be pessimistic, merely cautious. No good business wants to destroy the planet its customers live on, so energy conservation must be taken into consideration. With some proper planning and smart policies, though, the IT sector can continue with business as usual at a lower cost to the world.
Edited by Braden Becker