May 14, 2024

Green IT for a Sustainable Future

After years of research, in the middle of last year the IPCC -a panel of experts linked to the UN- presented its Report on Mitigation of Climate Change, which considers it necessary to achieve net CO2 emissions (Net Zero) by 2050 in order to stabilize the planet's temperature at 1.5ºC, and for this, global emissions must peak before 2025.

The report highlights new technologies as an accelerator that can decisively contribute to the fight against climate change and to achieve sustainability goals (SDGs, in English), but also reaffirms the importance of managing technology in an appropriate manner:

“Digitalization can imply, for example, an increase in electronic waste, negative impacts on work environments, and the widening of the digital divide”.

From this we can conclude that: technology can be a key ally in achieving sustainability goals (SDGs), but only if it is managed appropriately to preserve the environment.

And this is where Green Information Technology (Green IT) comes into play, a relatively new term for a concept that, however, has been present 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 as well as strategies, in the most environmentally friendly way possible. This includes numerous areas of action: from producing in the most optimal way in terms of resources and energy, to creating products with longer and more efficient life cycles compared to their consumption, as well as promoting responsible waste management, optimizing data centers to the maximum through centralization and/or virtualization... All these good practices share the same objective: to reduce emissions and generate more sustainable ecosystems, minimizing as much as possible the negative impact that IT resources may cause.

The Net Zero commitment: The role of organizations

In order to meet the Net Zero goals, organizations will need to take two key actions: reducing the volume of emissions, and offsetting the footprint of those that are essential. In the case of Spain, last year the first Climate Emergency Law was approved, which marks the first steps in this direction, with the initial goal of reducing emissions by 23% by 2030.

We see how forces around the world are converging 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 favorable impact on corporate responsibility, as meeting these goals is a positive influence that can serve as a driver of social change. And, it also means betting on economic savings, as while it represents an initial investment, in the long run energy consumption will be reduced.

A good example is that of Barcelona, specifically through projects such as the management platform of the Low Emission Zone (ZBE) of the Metropolitan Area of Barcelona, developed to improve air quality and thereby enhance the quality of life of citizens.

Green IT in the company

There are a series of technologies and measures to adopt Green IT and put it into practice in the business world:

  • Data Center Virtualization: Virtualization, a resource already present in the vast majority of data centers, is also an ally for Green IT, as it allows to optimize the use of available resources in server infrastructures to the maximum, even through the automatic turning on and off of servers based on demand.
  • Cloud Computing: If an optimized data center already represents an advancement, the use of cloud services allows to take a step further; dynamic scaling and real-time resource allocation guarantee that each processing cycle will be properly utilized, as well as 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 allows to get a higher performance from the existing infrastructure.
  • Use of 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 most of the workload on a server, as it will avoid underutilized equipment, which also have a much higher electrical consumption than thin clients.
  • Implementation of VPNs and other telecommuting solutions: Implementing telecommuting as a standardized and optimized practice not only results in a substantial reduction in the electricity bill, but also eliminates, for example, emissions generated by commuting.

These are the elements on which there is currently general consensus, but as processes and operations are analyzed, many more improvement options will appear to advance in the adoption of Green IT. If your goal is to contribute to achieving a more sustainable environment, contact us. Our planet of the future starts today.

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