Sunday, August 31, 2008

Thinking A Greener World? Think Again!

So you thought only the "world could get green!!
Lo and Behold...Green Computing is here to stay.

By now, it is very likely you have your ears full with slogans like "Save Power", "Save Water", "Save Rain Forests"; oh the list goes on and on...

Why the outcry? The resources in this world are limited. Human race just seem to be inventing reasons to consume these limited resources and before long we could wake up to find everything gone!

Green computing is the study and practice of how to use computing resources efficiently. What are computer resources? Hardware, networks, people make up the computing systems that you and I are so much involved with. Due to the fact that there is an immense growth in the usage of computers the world over, the energy consumption levels have also risen to dramatic heights. Not only the number of computers, but also how they are used also accounts for the rise of energy consumption. Just how much energy does a computer consume? An interesting question indeed, which also carry an equally interesting answer.

A typical desktop PC system is comprised of the computer itself (the CPU or the “box”), a monitor, and printer. Your CPU may require approximately 100 watts of electrical power. Add 50-150 watts for a 15-17 inch monitor, proportionately more for larger monitors. The power requirements of conventional laser printers can be as much as 100 watts or more when printing though much less if idling in a “sleep mode.” Ink jet printers use as little as 12 watts while printing and 5 watts while idling. And lets do some math!

Total Cost per device per day of 8 hours

= watts consumed x number of hours x unit cost of electricity
(100 + 150 + 100) x (8) x (local rates)

Although the amount is dependent on local electricity rates, this would have to be multiplied by the number of devices and also by 365 days to calculate the annual cost. This would most likely to be a staggering amount. Green computing advocates methods in which you can lighten the load on your wallet. Approaches to green computing involve:
  • Virtualization
Virtualization is enabling the running of two or more logical computer systems on one set of physical hardware thereby unplugging the original hardware and reducing power and cooling consumption
  • Power management
This aspect focuses on proper control of computer hardware so that power wastage is minimized. For instance turning off CPU, monitor after a certain period of inactivity, adjusting voltages to computing devices so that they will not overheat. There exists manual means of doing such activities as well as automated programs. SpeedStep in Intel processors "PowerNow!"/"Cool'n'Quiet" on AMD chips can be listed as examples
  • Power supply
Desktop power supplies are said to be 70-75% energy efficient. The balance is disseminated as heat. Hence the lesser your computer heats up, the better in power efficiency it is. As of 2007 all devices having the brand "Energy Star 4.0" certification must be at least 80% efficient.
  • Storage
Smaller hard disk drives consume less power than physically larger hard drives
  • Display
The internal physical architecture of the monitor is the deciding factor of the power consumption ratio. E.g Flat panel vs. CRT monitors
  • Material Recycling
Of course the computer system comes with equipment & supplementary tools that can be reused and recycled. E.g. paper, ink cartridges, printers, batteries. So don't throw them away at the first sight of malfunctioning or failure. Try to get it fixed and reuse for as long as possible. It also helps toxic waste such as mercury & Chromium from landfills. ;-)
  • Telecommuting
Teleconferencing & telepresense technologies are often implemented in green computing initiatives. The advantages are many; increased worker satisfaction, reduction of greenhouse gas emissions related to travel, and increased profit margins as a result of lower overhead costs for office space, heat, lighting, etc.

The article titled Green Computing Guide, from the University of Colorado talks about why it is important to focus on green computing, the advantages of making your IT infrastructure more greener as well as methods in which you can do so.

Like in everything else, being aware of the matter and being conscious of your surrounding helps a lot in putting wrong to right. Needless to say, little things always make a big difference :-D

Go Global Go Green!!


1 comment:

Ayanthi Anandagoda said...

"The advantages are many; increased worker satisfaction, reduction of greenhouse gas emissions related to travel, and increased profit margins as a result of lower overhead costs for office space, heat, lighting, etc."
See.., I'm doing my share by working 3 days from home :) Amongst all that's mentioned here, it also results in increased productivity and shortened (typically toilet roll like) credit card bills at the end of the month!