GREEN COMPUTING DEFINITION: •Green computing or green IT, refers to environmentally sustainable computing or IT. •It is also defined as “the study and practice of designing, manufacturing, using, and disposing of computers, servers, and associated subsystems—such as monitors, printers, storage devices, and networking and communications systems—efficiently and effectively with minimal or no impact on the environment” •Green computing is the environmentally responsible use of computers and related resources.
Such practices include the implementation of energy-efficient central processing units (CPUs), servers and peripherals as well as reduced resource consumption and proper disposal of electronic waste (e-waste). One of the earliest initiatives toward green computing in the United States was the voluntary labeling program known as Energy Star. It was conceived by the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) in 1992 to promote energy efficiency inhardware of all kinds. The Energy Star label became a common sight, especially in notebook computers and displays.
Similar programs have been adopted in Europe and Asia. Government regulation, however well-intentioned, is only part of an overall green computing philosophy. The work habits of computer users and businesses can be modified to minimize adverse impact on the global environment. Here are some steps that can be taken: •Power-down the CPU and all peripherals during extended periods of inactivity. •Try to do computer-related tasks during contiguous, intensive blocks of time, leaving hardware off at other times. •Power-up and power-down energy-intensive peripherals such as laser printers according to need. Use liquid-crystal-display (LCD) monitors rather than cathode-ray-tube (CRT) monitors. •Use notebook computers rather than desktop computers whenever possible. •Use the power-management features to turn off hard drives and displays after several minutes of inactivity. •Minimize the use of paper and properly recycle waste paper. •Dispose of e-waste according to federal, state and local regulations. •Employ alternative energy sources for computing workstations, servers,networks and data centers. The GOALS of green computing are similar to green chemistry : 1. Reduce the use of hazardous materials. 2.
Maximize energy efficiency during the product’s lifetime 3. Promote the recyclability or biodegradability of defunct products and factory waste. 4. Research continues into key areas such as making the use of computers as energy-efficient as possible, and designing algorithms and systems for efficiency-related computer technologies. Getting started with green computing •To explore how green computing is used in the enterprise, here are some additional resources: •Green IT guide for the midmarket: In this guide, get information about green computing tools and products available to improve energy efficiency in your data center. Green computing ezine: Today green is everywhere, in the mouths of marketers and the minds of CEOs. Learn how to tame the environmental beast with the resources in this ezine. Regulations and industry initiatives The Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD) has published a survey of over 90 government and industry initiatives on “Green ICTs”, i. e. information and communication technologies, the environment and climate change. The report concludes that initiatives tend to concentrate on the greening ICTs themselves rather than on their actual implementation to tackle global warming and environmental degradation.
In general, only 20% of initiatives have measurable targets, with government programs tending to include targets more frequently than business associations. Government Many governmental agencies have continued to implement standards and regulations that encourage green computing. The Energy Star program was revised in October 2006 to include stricter efficiency requirements for computer equipment, along with a tiered ranking system for approved products. Some efforts place responsibility on the manufacturer to dispose of the equipment themselves after it is no longer needed; this is called the extended producer responsibility model.
The European Union’s directives 2002/95/EC (Restriction of Hazardous Substances Directive), on the reduction of hazardous substances, and 2002/96/EC (Waste Electrical and Electronic Equipment Directive) on waste electrical and electronic equipment required the substitution of heavy metals and flame retardants likePolybrominated biphenyl and Polybrominated diphenyl ethers in all electronic equipment put on the market starting on July 1, 2006. The directives placed responsibility on manufacturers for the gathering and recycling of old equipment.
There are currently 26 US States that have established state-wide recycling programs for obsolete computers and consumer electronics equipment. The statutes either impose an “advance recovery fee” for each unit sold at retail, or require the manufacturers to reclaim the equipment at disposal. Approaches to green computing •Product longevity •Algorithmic efficiency •Resource allocation •Virtualization •Terminal servers •Power management •Operating system support •Power supply •Storage •Video card •Display •Materials recycling •Telecommuting Product longevity :
Gartner maintains that the PC manufacturing process accounts for 70 % of the natural resources used in the life cycle of a PC. Therefore, the biggest contribution to green computing usually is to prolong the equipment’s lifetime. Another report from Gartner recommends to “Look for product longevity, including upgradability and modularity. ” For instance, manufacturing a new PC makes a far bigger ecological footprint than manufacturing a new RAM module to upgrade an existing one, a common upgrade that saves the user having to purchase a new computer. Algorithmic efficiency :
The efficiency of algorithms has an impact on the amount of computer resources required for any given computing function and there are many efficiency trade-offs in writing programs. As computers have become more numerous and the cost of hardware has declined relative to the cost of energy, the energy efficiency and environmental impact of computing systems and programs has received increased attention. A study by Alex Wissner-Gross, a physicist at Harvard, estimated that the average Google search released 7 grams of carbon dioxide (CO? ). However, Google disputes this figure, arguing instead that a typical search produces only 0. grams of CO. Resource allocation : Algorithms can also be used to route data to data centers where electricity is less expensive. Researchers from MIT, Carnegie Mellon University, and Akamai have tested an energy allocation algorithm that successfully routes traffic to the location with the cheapest energy costs. The researchers project up to a 40 percent savings on energy costs if their proposed algorithm were to be deployed. Strictly speaking, this approach does not actually reduce the amount of energy being used; it only reduces the cost to the company using it.
However, a similar strategy could be used to direct traffic to rely on energy that is produced in a more environmentally friendly or efficient way. A similar approach has also been used to cut energy usage by routing traffic away from data centers experiencing warm weather; this allows computers to be shut down to avoid using air conditioning. Virtualization : Computer virtualization refers to the abstraction of computer resources, such as the process of running two or more logical computer systems on one set of physical hardware.
The concept originated with the IBM mainframe operating systems of the 1960s, but was commercialized for x86-compatible computers only in the 1990s. With virtualization, a system administrator could combine several physical systems into virtual machines on one single, powerful system, thereby unplugging the original hardware and reducing power and cooling consumption. Several commercial companies and open-source projects now offer software packages to enable a transition to virtual computing.
Intel Corporation and AMD have also built proprietary virtualization enhancements to the x86 instruction set into each of their CPU product lines, in order to facilitate virtualized computing. Terminal servers : Terminal servers have also been used in green computing. When using the system, users at a terminal connect to a central server; all of the actual computing is done on the server, but the end user experiences the operating system on the terminal. These can be combined with thin clients, which use up to 1/8 the amount of energy of a normal workstation, resulting in a decrease of energy costs and consumption.
There has been an increase in using terminal services with thin clients to create virtual labs. Examples of terminal server software include Terminal Services for Windows and the Linux Terminal Server Project (LTSP) for the Linux operating system. Power management : The Advanced Configuration and Power Interface (ACPI), an open industry standard, allows an operating system to directly control the power-saving aspects of its underlying hardware. This allows a system to automatically turn off components such as monitors and hard drives after set periods of inactivity.
In addition, a system may hibernate, where most components (including the CPU and the system RAM) are turned off. ACPI is a successor to an earlier Intel-Microsoft standard called Advanced Power Management, which allows a computer’s BIOSto control power management functions. Some programs allow the user to manually adjust the voltages supplied to the CPU, which reduces both the amount of heat produced and electricity consumed. This process is called undervolting. Some CPUs can automatically undervolt the processor depending on the workload; this technology is called “SpeedStep” on Intel processors, “PowerNow! /”Cool’n’Quiet” on AMD chips, LongHaul on VIA CPUs, and LongRun with Transmeta processors. Power supply : Desktop computer power supplies (PSUs) are generally 70–75% efficient, dissipating the remaining energy as heat. An industry initiative called 80 PLUS certifies PSUs that are at least 80% efficient; typically these models are drop-in replacements for older, less efficient PSUs of the same form factor. As of July 20, 2007, all new Energy Star 4. 0-certified desktop PSUs must be at least 80% efficient. Storage: Smaller form factor (e. g. 2. inch) hard disk drives often consume less power per gigabyte than physically larger drives. Unlike hard disk drives, solid-state drives store data in flash memory or DRAM. With no moving parts, power consumption may be reduced somewhat for low capacity flash based devices. In a recent case study, Fusion-io, manufacturers of the world’s fastest Solid State Storage devices, managed to reduce the carbon footprint and operating costs of MySpace data centers by 80% while increasing performance speeds beyond that which had been attainable via multiple hard disk drives in Raid 0.
In response, MySpace was able to permanently retire several of their servers, including all their heavy-load servers, further reducing their carbon footprint. As hard drive prices have fallen, storage farms have tended to increase in capacity to make more data available online. This includes archival and backup data that would formerly have been saved on tape or other offline storage. The increase in online storage has increased power consumption. Reducing the power consumed by large storage arrays, while still providing the benefits of online storage, is a subject of ongoing research. Video card :
A fast GPU may be the largest power consumer in a computer. Energy efficient display options include: •No video card – use a shared terminal, shared thin client, or desktop sharing software if display required. •Use motherboard video output – typically low 3D performance and low power. •Select a GPU based on average wattage or performance per watt. Display : LCD monitors typically use a cold-cathode fluorescent bulb to provide light for the display. Some newer displays use an array of light-emitting diodes (LEDs) in place of the fluorescent bulb, which reduces the amount of electricity used by the display.
Materials recycling : Recycling computing equipment can keep harmful materials such as lead, mercury, and hexavalent chromium out of landfills, and can also replace equipment that otherwise would need to be manufactured, saving further energy and emissions. Computer systems that have outlived their particular function can be re-purposed, or donated to various charities and non-profit organizations. However, many charities have recently imposed minimum system requirements for donated equipment.
Additionally, parts from outdated systems may be salvaged and recycled through certain retail outlets and municipal or private recycling centers. Computing supplies, such as printer cartridges, paper, and batteries may be recycled as well. A drawback to many of these schemes is : that computers gathered through recycling drives are often shipped to developing countries where environmental standards are less strict than in North America and Europe. The Silicon Valley Toxics Coalition estimates that 80% of the post-consumer e-waste collected for recycling is shipped abroad to countries such as China and Pakistan.
The recycling of old computers raises an important privacy issue. The old storage devices still hold private information, such as emails, passwords and credit card numbers, which can be recovered simply by someone using software that is available freely on the Internet. Deletion of a file does not actually remove the file from the hard drive. Before recycling a computer, users should remove the hard drive, or hard drives if there is more than one, and physically destroy it or store it somewhere safe.
There are some authorized hardware recycling companies to whom the computer may be given for recycling, and they typically sign a non-disclosure agreement. Conclusion: Green Computing Is Not An Oxymoron : In the end, computers and the internet are not eco-neutral. Some of their impacts are negative, such as energy-intensive server farms, mining and processing of rare minerals for components, and mountains of e-waste exposing recyclers to carcinogens and leaching heavy metals into ground water.
But much of their impact is positive: enabling us to leave our cars at home, streamlining power demand, faciliating renewable energy supply through smart grids, dematerializing commerce, providing tools for eco-design, and improving the energy-intensity of national economies. The impact of the tools themselves needs to be lightened. But the impact of the tools on the world is already enormously positive, and will only get better.