This article was originally published on Spiceworks: https://www.spiceworks.com/tech/edge-computing/guest-article/advantages-of-green-computing-practices/
Allen Drennan of Cordoniq discusses the significant advantages of green computing for businesses: from lowering energy costs and gaining a competitive edge to attracting and retaining top talent.
By implementing sustainable practices, companies can reduce their carbon footprint and contribute to a greener future while driving innovation and strengthening their brand. Embrace green computing today for a brighter tomorrow!
What Is Green Computing?
Green computing, sometimes called “sustainable IT,” refers to practices aimed at reducing greenhouse gas emissions, thus reducing the carbon footprint of either individuals or businesses.
In today’s modern business climate, green computing is a vital consideration. Achieving “net zero” (or reducing greenhouse gas emissions to as close to zero as possible) has become a priority for most organizations today. Businesses and individuals can reduce their carbon footprint by implementing green computing practices.
IBM defines green computing as “the design, manufacture, use, and disposal of computers, chips, other technology components, and peripherals in a way that limits the harmful impact on the environment, including reducing carbon emissions and the energy consumed by manufacturers, data centers and end-users.”
While the main objective of green IT practices is reducing energy consumption, businesses must be aware of how green computing can also increase their bottom line.
Organizations, including SMBs, can implement changes to increase energy efficiency and lower energy consumption. However, green computing is ideal for enterprise firms as part of an organization’s overall environmental, social, and governance (ESG) strategy and journey. Implementing a sustainable strategy can lessen the environmental impact of a business while contributing to overall growth over time.
See More: The Impact of ESG Regulations
Why Green Computing Is an Essential Part of Sustainability
The information and communications technology (ICT) sector is responsible for 2% or more of global greenhouse emissions. According to a study in Patterns, “peer-reviewed studies estimate ICT’s current share of global greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions at 1.8%–2.8% of global GHG emissions; adjusting for truncation of supply chain pathways, we find that this share could be between 2.1% and 3.9%.”
The ICT sector’s impact on the environment has worsened in recent years. The rise in cloud computing, blockchain, cryptocurrency, and the explosion of smartphones and other mobile devices contribute to the increase. Data centers are responsible for over 3% of all annual energy consumption.
Key Business Benefits From Green Computing Practices
Green computing aims to reduce environmental impact while encouraging the widespread use of more sustainable technologies. Still, there are additional benefits to employing sustainable methods that can lead to steady business growth and profitability. By taking a proactive and achievable approach to sustainable IT, businesses can work toward achieving greater environmental stewardship.
Five top benefits of implementing a green IT strategy include the following:
- Lowering energy costs: Efforts to reduce electricity can lower energy costs for businesses. Changes such as using more energy-efficient devices or alternative energy sources can contribute to lower electricity on a large scale if widely adopted.
- Gaining a competitive advantage: Pursuing sustainability goals can lead to more profitability and interest from potential investors. A recent Gartner survey revealed ESG is now a top priority for CEOs and CIOs. In contrast, 74% of CEOs agree that increasing ESG efforts will attract more investors expecting firms to do more for the environment.
- Strengthening your brand: Building a track record of tangible sustainability practices is key to a stronger brand in today’s marketplace. Customers reward sustainable companies with loyalty and repeat business and often prefer ESG-backed products and services.
- Attracting and retaining talent: Potential employees are interested in working for companies with demonstrated sustainability practices – especially Gen Z job seekers. A recent KPMG survey revealed that one in three Gen Z respondents “said they had turned down a job because the company’s ESG commitments were not in line with their values.” Gen Z employees are also willing to leave a company if they don’t follow through with their ESG commitments.
- Increasing innovation: Green computing practices can drive sustainable innovation, which refers to developing new products, services, processes, and methods that are both sustainable and profitable. Technology organizations can deliver better client experiences that benefit the environment through green computing.
Green Computing Techniques for Various IT Functions
Green computing techniques can mitigate some of the environmental impacts of the computing industry. These techniques encompass different areas of the IT process and involve several participants.
Generally, green IT practices can be applied in the following areas:
- Design and manufacturing of computer chips, hardware, components, and devices. This includes designing energy-efficient computers and systems.
- Green disposal of hardware and devices.
- The implementation of higher efficiency energy practices in the operation of data centers.
- Employing sustainable practices in computing and software engineering.
Some practices are focused on ways to reduce the energy consumption of data centers, such as implementing higher efficiency sustainable cooling technologies. Organizations can also invest in more energy-efficient computer systems with extended life cycles. Other methods for sustainable computing include extending the life cycle of hardware and devices.
Edge computing, a type of distributed storage framework, is one technique that can lower energy use in data centers by lowering network traffic.
Developers and software engineers can explore various ways to incorporate green computing methods. Green coding, a concept that involves writing leaner and less wasteful lines of code, can reduce the energy consumption of processing. Programming methods can also be modified to utilize devices and the hardware available better.
It is important to fully utilize the device’s processing capabilities with clean, native code concepts (embedded NEON, ARM64, and Intel SIMD). This approach can improve the overall collaborative experience while reducing the carbon footprint and delivering more engaging live experiences even on older, less capable devices.
Energy efficiency can improve overall by utilizing the GPU and CPU. Originating with gaming software development, the GPU approach means that computing is offloaded to the graphics processor unit rather than relying solely on the CPU and main memory. This method lowers the number of cycles needed to complete the processes, thus saving energy. This approach effectively lowers the carbon footprint of devices because they achieve better utilization rates.
The potential to reduce the impact of computing on the environment will require a collaborative effort across industries. However, individual businesses can progress by finding ways to use technology sustainably throughout their organization.