Opportunities in the Green Computing Field
Industry has also introduced green standards, such as the ANSI/IEEE 1680 Electronic Product Assessment Tool (EPEAT), which provides a green rating system that consumers and corporations can use to select environmentally friendly IT hardware, from desktop and laptop computers to monitors, servers, and mobile devices. Another program, the Energy Star energy-efficiency product-rating system, was introduced by the US Environmental Protection Agency and the US Department of Energy.
Cost controls are biggest driver
While environmental ideals may provide the foundation for green IT, the need for companies to control operating costs may ultimately provide the motivation.
“Even if you’re not looking at the environment as the main driver, definitely the economic imperative is a key factor driving the green IT or server IT agenda,” Murugesan said.
The turning point was reached a few years ago when companies realized they needed to invest in more efficient— but much more expensive—equipment to control their escalating data center energy costs, noted Fred Chong, director of the computer engineering program at the University of California at Santa Barbara. He is also director of the CE program and director of the Greenscale Center for Energy-Efficient Computing.
Previously, Chong said, only computer scientists who specialized in mobile technologies cared about the energy-usage characteristics of their products. “We’re in a time now where the industry is starting to worry about this,” he said.
Green IT can cover any activity, from computer system design to manufacturing, and from developing software systems to creating new computing approaches that can help manage energy and conserve resources, according to Murugesan.
Virtualization, cloud computing, and the consolidation of resources such as servers, storage, and printers among various units across an enterprise also fit within the notion of green IT. So can the use of capabilities like video conferencing and collaboration tools that reduce staff travel needs, which directly benefits the environment.
Cloud computing and virtualization, in particular, will become vital to the sustainability notion because the technologies not only reduce costs and optimize server utilization, they enable companies to build more holistic IT practices, according to Haluk Demirkan, clinical full professor, information systems, at the W.P. Carey School of Business at Arizona State University. Demirkan is the co-author, with Robert R. Harmon, of “The Next Wave of Sustainable IT,” published in the January/February 2011 issue of IT Professional. READ MORE