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The Low Carbon Economy Ltd

05 May 2010 10:05:21

What role does the IT industry have to play in a low carbon economy?

What role does the IT industry have to play in a low carbon economy?
Virtually all modern businesses rely on a sophisticated system of IT for support. So much so that some organisations spend over 50 per cent of their IT budget on the energy to power it, a new book claims.

Green IT for Sustainable Business Practice calls on those responsible for the company's IT systems to set carbon reduction targets for themselves and become better acquainted with the regulation surrounding the industry.

However, the issues relating to the carbon emissions of IT systems are extremely complex. While they are huge consumers of energy, they provide thousands of benefits to businesses of all sizes and will have a significant role to play in the transition to a low carbon economy.

Increasingly, businesses are using virtualisation technologies, such as cloud computing, as a way of reducing their outgoings on costly IT equipment. A report by Gartner earlier this year suggested that by the year 2020, 20 per cent of firms will not own any IT assets.

This is perhaps one of the best examples of how energy-efficient technologies can have a positive impact on the bottom line.

Gartner also claimed that personal computers use ten times their weight in fossil fuels over their lifetime and PC manufacture and transportation accounts for 80 per cent of a computer's total energy consumption. It predicts this figure will reduce to 60 per cent in 2012, as more customers look for information on carbon dioxide emissions before purchasing a product.

Beyond this IT solutions like video conferencing can allow firms to reduce their reliance on road transport and aviation. As well as reducing carbon emissions, this helps boost efficiency, and again can lead to a positive effect on the bottom line.

Hi-tech IT systems installed in vehicles can also cut carbon emissions by enabling technology to operate more effectively and informing users of their energy usage.

With the book predicting that in the future the IT could fall under the same level of scrutiny as the aviation industry, is it time that companies begin to consider the role of technology in moving towards a low carbon economy? And, exactly how far should that role extend?ADNFCR-1235-ID-19758697-ADNFCR

Discussion Thread  

pg wrote:

06 May 2010

This is an article from that can be found here:

Computers are no longer something of a luxury but more like an assumed necessity around the world, yet a part of green living is always aiming to find a device or appliance that is going to be the most eco-friendly. Laptops, notebooks, desktops and the like are a common point of phantom energy loss because they are plugged in virtually 24/7; as a society we are plugged in about the same amount too. There are some people for which their cell phone is merely an extension of their being. The verdict on if this is good or bad is up to you, but in terms of finding the greenest computer you can get a little help from the EPEAT rating that is currently established among about 40 different countries.

Much like an Energy Star guide the EPEAT rating is geared towards distinguishing the best laptops and computers in terms of sustainability from those that are eco-flops. There are three levels: bronze, silver, and gold, and in order to earn a medal of approval a particular device has to reach 23 different environmental performance tests. This scale has made those in the market for a new computer a means to get one that is greener, and for a full list of possible models you can go to the main EPEAT site. It may seem like the obvious conclusion that a greener computer would be a smaller one, like a notebook instead of a desktop, but that is not always the case being that notebooks are known to have a shorter life span which would cause you to seek out a replacement more often. That is why there are so many factors taken into consideration for these ratings.

Taken into account for green living computers are not only their energy consumption on and off but even the materials they are made out of. For instance the EPEAT Gold rated HP rp5700 is not only energy efficient but made out of 95% recyclable products. In fact it has established itself as the first on the market to be the greenest and sort of set the bar so to speak. HP has thus followed up with successors as have other brands, but just being the first does give it extra bragging rights.

There is Zonbu that runs off of Linux, and thus has a lower processing power, and opts for flash memory in place of a hard drive so that it runs off of under 10% of the energy consumed by a standard PC with Windows. That in itself is green living but because broken computers will create plenty of waste should you have to continually be replacing them, if your Zonbu comes crashing you can get a replacement but the old one is still returned to the company where they gut it out and then use the parts that still work for another model. This is because they only have one computer schematic to work off of.

If your green living is more up the Apple alley you could go with the iMac that received an EPEAT silver medal. So if you are aiming to get connected via a new computer or laptop you will do well to find one that comes out an EPEAT winner.

Discussion Thread  


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