Green computing is the term used to denote efficient use of resources in computing. This term generally relates to the use of computing resources in conjunction with minimizing environmental impact, maximizing economic viability and ensuring social duties. Green computing is very much related to other similar movements like reducing the use of environmentally hazardous materials like CFCs, promoting the use of recyclable materials, minimizing use of non-biodegradable components, and encouraging use of sustainable resources.
One of the spin-offs of green computing is EPEAT or Electronic Products Environmental Assessment Tool. EPEAT products serve to increase the efficiency and life of computing products. Moreover, these products are designed to minimize energy expenditures, minimize maintenance activities throughout the life of the product and allow the re-use or recycling of some materials.
A Brief History of Green Computing
One of the first manifestations of the green computing movement was the launch of the Energy Star program back in 1992. Energy Star served as a kind of voluntary label awarded to computing products that succeeded in minimizing use of energy while maximizing efficiency. Energy Star applied to products like computer monitors, television sets and temperature control devices like refrigerators, air conditioners, and similar items.
One of the first results of green computing was the Sleep mode function of computer monitors which places a consumer's electronic equipment on standby mode when a pre-set period of time passes when user activity is not detected. As the concept developed, green computing began to encompass thin client solutions, energy cost accounting, virtualization practices, eWaste, etc.
Green Computing Groups
Currently, one of the popular green computing groups is tactical incrementalists. This group applies and uses green computing philosophies mainly to save up on costs rather than save the environment. This green computing concept emerged naturally as businesses find themselves under pressure to maximize resources in order to compete effectively in the market. This movement arose mainly from economic sentiments rather than political pressure.
Strategic Leaders take into account the social and environmental impacts of new and emerging technologies. Aside from minimizing costs, this particular movement also takes into account other factors such as marketing and branding. Unlike the position held by tactical incrementalists, strategic leaders recognize the need to overhaul some existing policies or structural makeup of the organization. This can be seen in recent efforts to make IT personnel directly responsible for managing, minimizing and ensuring efficient energy expenditures.
Green Computing Practices
Some common green computing practices include turning off the monitor when it's not in use or using more energy efficient monitors like LCDs instead of the traditional CRT monitors, volunteer computing or file sharing practices, virtualization of servers, using more energy efficient and less noisy cooling systems (like using liquid cooling systems instead of the conventional heat sinks and fans), temperature maintenance and regulation to reduce thermal shock wear and tear to computer parts, and increased online security measures through the use of firewalls, anti spyware and anti virus programs to reduce the increasing amount of eWaste on the Internet and on other networks.