Let's Talk Software

Even if you're not looking for custom software development, we're happy to chat about agile processes, tech stacks, architecture, or help with your ideas. Enter your contact information below and a member of our team will contact you.

    Clients who trust us to deliver on their custom software needs.
    Tonal Logo
    Aquabyte Logo
    More Cashback Rewards Logo
    MasterControl Logo
    Little Passports Logo
    Mido Lotto Logo
    home

    Green IT: Sustainable Practices Powering a Greener Tech Industry

    By Christian Schraga
    Share this article:

    In the digital age, the technology sector stands as a double-edged sword in the context of environmental responsibility. While technological advancements have undoubtedly made our lives easier and our economies more dynamic, they come with a significant environmental cost. In response, Green Information Technology (Green IT) is emerging as a priority within the tech industry. Green IT is aimed at minimizing the digital world’s ecological footprint. It encompasses a series of sustainable strategies designed to ensure that IT operations are conducted in an environmentally friendly manner.

    This blog post takes a closer look at these transformative strategies that are paving the way for a greener future.

    A Growing Footprint

    The tech industry’s reliance on technology creates a significant environmental burden.
    According to EY’s report, the information and communications technology (ICT) sector has grown to a total of 7% of global electricity use – a number projected to grow as our dependence on cloud-based services, artificial intelligence, and the Internet of Things (IoT) increases. This translates to massive energy consumption, as the majority of the world’s energy production is still fossil fuel based.

    So how do we, in the IT industry, address this growing problem?

    Sustainable Practices Powering Green IT

    Energy Efficiency: Powering Down Without Powering Off

    Energy-efficient hardware forms the foundation of Green IT. Processors like Intel’s 12th Gen Alder Lake CPUs boast significant performance improvements while maintaining lower power consumption. Solid-state drives (SSDs) use less energy than traditional hard disk drives (HDDs), and LED monitors are estimated to use up to 80% less energy than their incandescent counterparts. Additionally, features like automatic sleep modes and smart power management further reduce consumption. Beyond components, energy-efficient design practices – from optimizing airflow to utilizing efficient cooling systems – contribute to a greener approach.

    Virtualization and Cloud Computing: Doing More with Less

    Virtualization allows multiple virtual machines to run on a single physical server. A U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) report found that server virtualization can lead to energy savings of up to 80%, maximizing resource utilization and reducing the need for additional hardware. Technologies like hypervisors and containers further optimize resource allocation. Cloud computing extends this concept, offering shared infrastructure that scales dynamically based on needs, further reducing the environmental impact. For instance, Dropbox, a company known for its cloud storage solutions, estimates that by shifting to cloud-based infrastructure, it reduced their server footprint by 80%, leading to significant energy savings.

    Renewable Energy: Powering the Future with Clean Sources

    Shifting from fossil fuels to renewable energy sources is critical for a sustainable IT future. Data centers can utilize solar, wind, or hydroelectric power to reduce their carbon footprint. Companies like Apple, which recently announced plans to power all its facilities with clean energy by 2030, and Google, whose data centers utilize a combination of renewable energy sources and on-site carbon capture technologies, are leading the charge, adopting renewable energy sources and inspiring others to follow suit.

    Building Green from the Ground Up: Sustainable Data Center Design

    Sustainable data center design goes beyond energy sources. Efficient cooling systems, like those utilizing outside air whenever possible, can significantly reduce energy consumption. Modular architecture allows for easy expansion without needing entirely new facilities, and heat recovery systems capture waste heat to be used for other purposes. Green building certifications like LEED provide a framework for sustainable design, while innovative approaches like Microsoft’s Project Natick, an underwater data center that leverages the natural cooling properties of water, and Google’s zero-emission data center in Finland push the boundaries of green IT.

    Collective Action: Corporate Sustainability Initiatives

    Industry-wide initiatives are driving change. The Green Electronics Council’s EPEAT certification program empowers consumers to choose environmentally friendly electronics based on a set of rigorous ecological and social criteria. Meanwhile, the Climate Neutral Data Center Pact unites companies in a commitment to carbon-neutral data centers by 2030. These initiatives, along with individual company efforts like Dell’s ambitious goal to achieve net-zero emissions by 2050, are making a tangible difference.

    The Road Ahead: Challenges and Opportunities

    Despite progress, challenges remain. It is crucial to develop even more energy-efficient technologies and encourage broader adoption of sustainable practices across the entire IT lifecycle, from manufacturing and consumption to disposal and recycling. Emerging trends like artificial intelligence offer opportunities to optimize resource usage and reduce environmental impact. For instance, AI-powered data center management systems can automatically adjust cooling and power consumption based on real-time needs. Collaboration and continued innovation are key to building a truly green tech future, as succinctly stated by Pat Gelsinger, CEO of VMware: “Sustainability is not a destination. It’s a journey.”

    Conclusion

    Green IT offers a path to a sustainable future for the tech industry. We can minimize our environmental footprint by embracing energy-efficient hardware, virtualization, renewable energy, and sustainable data center design. As individuals and organizations within the tech industry, we can all play a part. Here’s how:

    Individuals:

    • Look for and purchase energy-efficient electronics with certifications like EPEAT.
    • Power down unused devices and utilize sleep modes whenever possible.
    • Support companies committed to sustainability through your purchasing decisions.

    Organizations:

    • Invest in energy-efficient hardware and data center infrastructure upgrades.
    • Explore renewable energy options and implement sustainable design practices.
    • Partner with industry initiatives and advocate for broader adoption of Green IT practices.
    • Make a game of it. Challenge your organization to reduce their energy consumption by X%, and if they do so, celebrate!

    By working together, we can ensure that technology remains a force for good, not just for progress but also for the planet. Let’s embrace Green IT and build a more sustainable future for generations.

    Share this article:
    SVP of Product

    About the author...

    Christian Schraga has more than 20 years experience working in various functions within the software industry. He has been the SVP of Product of CodeStringers since January of 2020. Prior to that he was a customer of CodeStringers, having founded Ella Learning, which we are now proud to say is a CodeStringers product. Additionally, Christian spent 10 years in the music industry as the VP of Digital for Columbia Records where he oversaw the development of several successful mobile apps, including the Webby Award winning Bob Dylan Bootlegs app and the blockbuster AC/DC Rocks app. Christian also spent 4 years in data science, working on several predictive and AI applications for the auto, music, and retail industries. He also has 4 years of finance experience having worked for the prestigious GE Corporate Finance Staff. Christian has an MBA from the Wharton School of Business and a BA from UCLA. In his spare time, Christian is an avid language learning enthusiast, who has a reasonable amount of fluency in 6 languages. He is also a fitness fanatic-- having run 10 marathons.

    Scroll to Top