Green IT- A Step Towards Saving the Environment

Posted in Operations & IT Articles, Total Reads: 1075 , Published on 24 December 2015
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Now a days there is lot of buzz around us to produce eco-friendly products that do not impact our environment. But not only products degrades our environment, every activity includes carbon emission that jeopardize our environment, whether it is washing, having food, travelling etc. Today, the amount of carbon in the atmosphere increases by more than 3 million tons per annum (0.04%) compared with the existing amount. This increase is the result of human activities by burning fossil fuels, deforestation and forest degradation in tropical and boreal regions. In the publication Climate Change 2001 it is stated that “Since about 1750 human activity has increased the concentration of carbon dioxide and other greenhouse gases. Following chart shows Top-10 cumulative energy-related CO2 emitters between 1850–2008


Country

% of world

total

Metric ton

CO2 per person

United States

28.5

1,132.7

China

9.36

85.4

Russian Federation

7.95

677.2

Germany

6.78

998.9

United Kingdom

5.73

1,127.8

Japan

3.88

367

France

2.73

514.9

India

2.52

26.7

Canada

2.17

789.2

Ukraine

2.13

556.4


This chart shows emissions per person but there are some processes which contributes heavily towards this and INFORMATION TECHNOLOGY is one of them. Now a days Information Technology has become a part and parcel of our, majority of our activities entails IT at some point of time. With the advent of IT our life has become easier, processes has become more efficient but at the cost of jeopardizing our environment. Let’s take a look at various environmental hazards caused by IT.


Image: pixabay


IT’S ENVIRONMENTAL IMPACT:

Each stage of a computer’s life from its manufacturing, its usage and then its disposal entails carbon emission.

• Manufacturing various raw materials like chips, semiconductor are a source of carbon emission.

• Each PC in use generates about a ton of carbon dioxide every year.

• When a PC is disposed then it’s a big challenge where to dump, every year thousands of computer are being dumped in to a land fill which not only harmful radiations but also effects people living nearby. Rather than dumping used computers or electronics gadget are shipped to third world countries which poses a serious threat to their lives. ”PLANNED OBSOLESENCE” is practised by manufacturers: intentionally shortening of life of a product.

• Electricity generation by coal itself releases carbon dioxide, sulphur and other pollutants every year .Total electricity consumed by printer, monitor, server is increasing day by day.


So solution to all these problem is “GREEN IT”


GREEN IT

Green IT refers to environmentally sound IT. As per definition “It’s the study and practice of designing, manufacturing, using and disposing of computers, servers, and associated sub-systems—such as monitors, printers, and storage devices, and networking and communications systems—efficiently and effectively with minimal or no impact on the environment “.


Various areas are covered under this Green IT

• Proper recycling and disposal.

• Less in house server or server virtualization using cloud computing.

• Use of renewable energy resources to run these devices.

• Stringent rules should be implemented to avoid planned obsolescence.

• All the IT products should be eco- labelled just as on electronic gadgets like refrigerator “Star rating is given”.


4 major areas of Green IT.


Now here is brief description of how these objectives can be achieved.


• Green Use of IT systems:

All the computers devices should be shut down when not in use. Now a day’s many companies are using ERP systems to track the usage, if computer is idle for more than a specific time limit computer gets shut down automatically. According to US environmental protection agency providing computers with sleep mode reduces their energy usage by 60-70 %.Moving screensaver on PC consumes a lot of energy so it’s better to use static screensavers.


• Green Disposal:

All the computer related devices should be properly recycled and reused. A computer contains following materials in proportions as shown below:

Material

Proportion

Plastic
Ferrous metals
Non-ferrous metals
Electronic boards
Glass

23% 
32%
18%
12%
15%

All these materials should be separated and reused in manufacturing new products which will save a lot of costs and will reduce excessive landfills.


• Green Design:

Devices should not generate much heat or proper cooling system should be there, especially in case of bulky servers that emits enormous heat. With more and more data storage servers has increased six folds to 30 million. Google is the best example for this because it uses one of most bulky server. It has designed an efficient way of cooling the server , here is a glance of its server room:

All the heat generated through the server is passed onto the Chilled water cooling coils are present at the top which continuously cools the air and exhaust it out. Nearly 30 % of data centre’s energy consumption is engaged in cooling, so liquid cooling ,Nano fluid-cooling systems, and in-server, in rack, and in-row cooling are some of the techniques can be used.


• Green Manufacturing:

Manufacture components and devices with the least environmental impacts. With the technological advancements we have witnessed more efficient devices are being generated which consumes less energy from bulky monitor to led screens. An effective supply chain is very important to curtail resource wastage. There is term known as “BULL-WHIP EFFECT “: it means distortion of anticipated demand from actual demand. It happens because various partners of supply chain (retailer, distributors, manufacturer, and supplier) do not share information among themselves which leads to aberration from the normal demand because everyone in supply chain anticipates demand according to their acumen and produce or order accordingly. As a result excessive production takes place and lot of resources are wasted. With ERP they all can share information by integrating their systems. Now manufacturer will know the quantity he/she has to produce.


Below is a result of McKinsey Global Survey that shows the benefit achieved by organization using GREEN IT.  



“Human race cannot progress at the cost of degrading environment. It’s not only organization’s or government’s duty to preserve resources, rather it’s the responsibility of every individual to save our Mother Earth for coming generations.”


This article has been authored by ABHINAV GOEL from GREAT LAKES INSTITUTE OF MANAGEMENT CHENNAI


REFRENCES:

1. http://www.mckinsey.com/insights/energy_resources_materials/the_business_of_sustainability_mckinsey_global_survey_results.



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