Why is Green Information Technology emerging as the New Buzzword?

Green IT stands for Green Information Technology, which is designed to protect the environment, while simultaneously maximizing benefits of IT.  It comprises of two major activities:

  1. Minimize the negative impact of information technology on the environment.
  2. Using available IT tools to help solve environmental issues.

Information technology has permeated into every part of our lives and helps us achieve multiple tasks within shorter time periods. However, such technology operates using electrical power and plays a significant role in enhancing global warming.  The hardware required for implement these technologies are manufactured using various chemicals, heavy metals and synthetic materials. When these items are destroyed, further pollution is created, which adversely affects our overall environment. Green IT provides ways to find and reduce the adverse effects of IT on our environment. An overage desktop contains one kilogram of lead and a veritable cocktails of chemicals including antimony, arsenic, boron, phosphor, nitric acid, hydrofluoric acid, and hydrogen fluoride to name a few, all of which can cause severe environmental damage.

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On an average, a desktop computer uses 868 kW of electricity per year. And practically every home has at least one system in the western world, sometimes more, while developing countries are beginning to catch up with the trend. Many organizations have thousands of computers running simultaneously just imagine the number of desktops all over the world. Do you know what happens to your PC after you junk it? Firstly it is sold as junk apart from any usable parts that can still be scavenged afterwards they are transported to small poor villages in Africa or China, where every circuit board and component is burnt to extract miniscule amounts of metals. Needless to say, the process introduces a significant quantity of pollutants into the soil, water and air. Here are a few numbers for your consideration:

A major bank in Australia has 20,000 computers.

If we calculate the carbon emissions from 20,000 computers using 868kW of electricity each

Year, it equals 12,467 metric tons of CO2. So theoretically, the bank in Australia produces the same amount of carbon dioxide annually as:

– Annual greenhouse gas emissions from 2,384 passenger vehicles.

– CO2 emissions from the consumption of 28,994 barrels of oil.

– CO2 emissions from the electricity use of 1,619 homes for one year.

– Carbon sequestered by 2,658 acres of pine or fir forests in one year.

Considering these figures, won’t you agree that each of us is playing our role in increasing global warming?  However, implementation of Green IT can significantly decrease the introduction of new pollutants and each one of us can play a role in this transformation.

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Energy Efficiency

Energy efficiency is definitely not easy to visualize. For starters, energy efficiency Is all about making computer systems and related IT equipment reduce the amount of electricity consumed. Decreasing energy consumption will ensure that less energy is required to operate available systems, which will reduce the introduction of green house gases from coal-fired power plants all over the world.

Using Technology to Help Solve Environmental Issues

The need of the hour is to develop tools that allow us to utilize existing technology to advantage and tackle a wider range of problems that prevent inclusive growth within our society. Such tools can help save energy and also reduce the amount of pollution and definitely we can ensure desirable changes in the environment.

These are just some possible starting points, an entire range of possibilities lie ahead and everyone can play their part in ensuring success of the Green IT initiative.

Some facts for you to ponder:

If you turn off your computer at night or when not in use you can save energy as it takes

  • for running your clock radio 1,392 weeks
  • to microwave 9,280 bags of popcorn
  • for washing 464 loads of clothing
  • to run your blow dryer 5,568 hours
  • for vacuuming 464 hours
  • to manufacture 3,480 plastic bags
  • to operate your microwave all day for a 7 days
  • to use a electric kettle continuously for 268 days

Companies and individuals can take the following actions to reduce their energy consumption and help ensure a better tomorrow for future generations:

  • Turning off computers, games console and TV when not in use.
  • Automatically putting your computer on hibernation after 15 minute of inactivity.
  • Buy and use a laptop instead of a desktop computer. Laptops only use 190kW (average) of electricity per year. Even better get a new age smart phone or tablet.

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