Green IT for a sustainable future
After years of research, in the summer of 2022 the IPCC - a panel of specialists linked to the UN - presented its Report on climate change mitigation, which considers it necessary to achieve net CO2 emissions (Net Zero) by 2050 in order to stabilize the planet’s temperature at 1.5°C, and to that end, global emissions must reach their peak before 2025.
The report highlights new technologies as an accelerator that can have a major impact in the fight against climate change and to achieving the sustainability goals (SDGs), but also reaffirms the importance of managing technology in an appropriate way:
“Digitalization can involve, for example, increasing e-waste, negatively impacting work environments, and increasing the digital divide”. With this information we can conclude that: technology can be a key ally to achieving the sustainability development goals (SDGs), but only if it is managed in a way that preserves the environment.
And that is where Green Information Technology (Green IT) comes into play, a relatively new term for a concept that, however, has existed in the ICT sector since the end of the last century.
Green IT (or green technology) consists of using new technologies, both products and services and strategies, in the most environmentally friendly way possible. This includes many areas of action: from producing in the most optimal way in terms of resources and energy, to creating products with longer lifecycles and more efficient consumption, as well as promoting responsible waste management, optimizing data centers as much as possible through centralization and/or virtualization… All these good practices share the same objective: reducing emissions and generating more sustainable ecosystems, minimizing the negative impact that can be caused by IT resources.
To meet the Net Zero targets, organizations must take two key actions: reduce the volume of emissions, and offset the carbon footprint of those emissions that cannot be avoided. In the case of Spain, last year the first Climate Emergency Law was approved, which marks the first steps in this regard, with the initial target of reducing emissions by 23% by 2030.
We see how forces around the world come together to create a Net Zero agenda. Not only governments, but also investors, consumers and, of course, companies. Beyond the positive impact on the environment, it also has a beneficial impact on corporate responsibility, since meeting these objectives is a positive influence that can serve as a driver for social change. And, in addition, it means betting on economic savings, since, although it involves an initial investment, in the long-term, energy consumption will be reduced.
A good example is that of Barcelona, and specifically through projects such as the Barcelona Metropolitan Area Low Emission Zone (LEZ) management platform, developed to improve air quality and thereby improve citizens’ quality of life.
There are a number of technologies and measures to adopt Green IT and put it into practice in the business world:
- Virtualization in the DPC: virtualization, a resource already present in the vast majority of data centers, is also an ally for Green IT, since it enables optimizing the use of resources available in server infrastructures, including through the automatic powering on and off of servers, based on demand.
- Cloud computing: while an optimized data processing center (DPC) is already a breakthrough, the use of cloud services allows you to go a step further; dynamic scaling and real-time resource allocation guarantee that each process cycle will be properly leveraged, as is storage space or even network traffic.
- Grid Computing: To address very complex computing operations it is not always necessary to use HPC systems and supercomputers. Opting for a decentralized network of systems to handle this enables you to get more out of your existing infrastructure.
- Using Thin Clients in client/server structures: Instead of using multiple systems to carry out simple and undemanding tasks, it is much more efficient to concentrate the majority of the workload on one server, since it will avoid wasted equipment, which also has a much higher electricity consumption than thin clients.
- Implementation of VPNs and other remote working solutions: The implementation of remote working as a standardized and optimized practice not only results in a substantial reduction in electricity costs, but also eliminates, for example, emissions caused by travel.
These are the elements on which there is currently a general consensus, but as processes and operations are analyzed, many more options for improvement will emerge in the path to adopting Green IT. If your goal is to contribute to a more sustainable environment, contact us. Tomorrow’s planet starts today.