Implementing Green Computing in the Enterprise

What is Green Computing?

Green Computing or eco-friendly computing is the study and practice of designing, manufacturing, using and disposing of ICT with minimal or no impact on the environment.

Why is it relevant?

Most people tend to be unaware about the environmental consequences of the usage of computers and other electronic equipment. A lot of highly toxic substances go into the making of computers. These include Lead, Mercury, Cadmium, Chromium IV, Plastics, PVC, Brominated Flame Retardants and these are known to cause serious health hazards to humans. Moreover, trace amounts of some radioactive elements also exist. Without proper disposal of the huge quantities of e-waste generated by corporations, governments, schools and other organizations, this waste tends to end up in garbage dumps or close to water bodies with a potential to affect the food and water chain. Apart from minimizing environmental damage, Green Computing is also known to give organizations with significant reductions in electricity bills.

Still not convinced €¦?

Take a look at these statistics €“

  • One computer left on for 24 hrs/day costs between $ 115-160 in electricity costs annually while dumping 1500 lbs of CO2 into the atmosphere. A tree absorbs between 3-15 lbs of CO2 annually. That means about 100-500 trees per computer would be needed to offset these yearly emissions
  • A PC consumes between 100-200 Watts depending on configuration. According to the US EPA, 30-40 % of PCs and peripherals are left on at night and during weekends and left to idle 90% of the time during workday
  • Between 12-25 % of a household s electricity costs are due to €œvampire power usage € i.e. standby power usage
  • A chip that weighs almost nothing creates a total of 89 lbs of waste, 7 of which are hazardous and uses 2800 gallons of water
  • 1 ton of virgin paper creates 60 pounds of air pollution, uses 17 trees, 7000 gallons of water and 3.3 cubic yards of landfill space

So how can one implement Green Computing in the enterprise?

The steps involved in implementing Green Computing has been outlined below under the respective headings €“

Good Housekeeping

  • Enabling moderate to aggressive power management settings on PCs and peripherals can save 40-60 % in energy bills.
  • Choosing LCDs over CRTs.
  • Choosing laptops over desktops wherever possible.
  • Avoiding vampire energy use by taking extra care or using master control outlets with surge protection.
  • Disabling screen savers.
  • Choosing dark backgrounds over bright ones for screen display.
  • Using network printers wherever possible.
  • Enabling duplex mode in printers.
  • Buying vegetable or non-petroleum based inks ensure fewer hazardous solvents and often brighter, cleaner colours.
  • Using acid & chlorine free recycled paper for printing.
  • Adopting document printing policy i.e. moving from 12 point font, 1.25 € margins, double spaced, one-sided printing to 10 point font, .75 € margins, single spaced, two-sided printing (100 -15 pages).
  • Choosing CD-RWs over CD-Rs   and recycled disks and packaging ex. Green Disk
  • Ensuring installation of proper chipset/CPU drivers.
  • Upgrading to Windows 7 due to its advanced and centralized power management features.

Lower Power Hardware

  • Choosing Energy Star compliant products.
  • Choosing lower power processors like VIA s C7-D, Intel s Atom (20 W) or Compulab s Fit PC (5 W).
  • Choosing onboard graphic cards, using passive cooling over energy-consuming fans and Solid State Drives over Spinning Hard Drives.
  • Choosing high-end ink-jet printers over laser printers that use 80-90 % less energy.

Proper e-waste disposal

  • If repair, re-use options are not practical, recycle else make sure donation to NGO, schools or libraries. A proper e-waste disposal policy must be in place.

Less Pollutant Manufacture

  • Using hardware that are EPEAT (Electronic Products Environmental Assessment Tool) & RoHS (Restriction of Hazardous substances) compliant.


  • Virtualization is the use of computer software to simulate hardware. Within data centres,  server consolidation  applies virtualization in its replacement of many stand-alone physical servers with virtual servers that run as software on a few larger computers. File virtualization  software is already available that will divide files across physical disks based on their use rates and not on their logical volume location. This enables frequently accessed files to be stored on high-performance, low-capacity drives, whilst files in less common use are placed on more power-efficient, low-speed, larger capacity drives

Cloud Computing

  • Cloud Computing is where software applications, processing power, data and potentially even artificial intelligence are accessed over the Internet.  Whilst most servers in company data centres run at 30 per cent capacity, most cloud vendor servers run at 80 per cent capacity or more.   It also reduces the need for high-end machines. Choosing cloud computing can therefore reduce company s carbon footprint

Inputs courtesy of former CDACian Tushar Abraham Mathew.

About mohan

This is Mohan Jayapalan author of TechPages Blog.I am a part time blogger and Currently working for private Software Concern.

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