Green IT and Sustainable computing

Green computing, Green ICT, Green IT or ICT sustainability is the study and practice of environmentally sustainable computing or IT.

Green computing focuses on usage of technology resources in an efficient way due to increasing maintaining and overall system performance. Sustainable IT refers to the requirement of the integration of green computing practice of the IT infrastructure. The studies based on the cast reduction need lead to the different goal, characteristics, factors, which helps to understand and implement described concept.

The Goals:

  • reduce the use of hazardous materials
  • maximize energy efficiency
  • promote recyclability

3 primary characteristics of Green Technologies

  1. must be energy efficiently
  2. right size equipment for the job
  3. includes the cost for the proper disposal of unwanted equipment

There are a wide range of definitions for the term Green IT, several of them are listed below:

Green Technology is the reduced environmental impact from running and Information Technology department. (Webber, Wallance 2009)

Green computing can be defined as a practice of maximizing the efficient use of computing resources to minimize environmental impact. (Harmon, Auseklis, 2009)

Green IT is 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 communication systems - efficiently and effectively with minimal or no impact on the environment. (Murugesan 2008)

Factors Driving the Adoption of Green Computing

  1. The rapid growth of internet
  2. Increasing equipment power density
  3. Increasing cooling requirements
  4. Increasing energy costs
  5. Restrictions on energy supply and access
  6. Low server utilization rates
  7. Growing awareness of IT's impact on the environment

Fields Green Computing Strategies implementation

  • Data center infrastructure
  • Power and workload management
  • Thermal load management
  • Product design
  • Virtualization
  • Clouding computing and cloud services

Articles used:

How to increase sustainability aspects in LUT CS/SWE programs

To have a possibility increase sustainability regarding to the environment related to the different fields of study, it is necessary to provide a better basic theory to the students from universities, colleagues and schools.

From my opinion it is possible to have just common course about sustainability and effects on the environment, which can be modified for any other field of study (e.g. IT, economy, management etc.), if it is needed.

The most obvious and common basics about environmental sustainability is related to the understanding of environmental, social and economic factors. Each of them can be spread and explained quite widely within the help of different education software or even games.

There are three key goals for increasing sustainability: 1) Increase energy and water conservation and efficiency; 2) Reduce or eliminate the use of harmful substances; and 3) Make efficient use of available materials and resources. [1]

According to the Computing Research Association there are several possible solutions, how sustainability can be increased within the help of computer science:

  • engineering smart energy greed
  • managing energy consumption
  • innovation for transportation: open communications, fuel efficiency (software and advanced applications)
  • innovation for the environment: connecting to the sea floor, wind farm optimization [2]

At the moment in LUT we already have several special courses, which are related to sustainability problem, e.g. Energy Resources, Social Sustainability, Cleaner Technologies and Markets, Green IT and Sustainable Computing etc. The aspects of sustainability and effects on the environment are discussed with the help of serious theoretical background and special strategies development. In my opinion, to improve the final outcome of the courses, most likely it would be better to give students a possibility to affect directly on the some sustainability problems, which occur in a daily life. It could be a little bit difficult to the students for more or less theoretical studies departments. However for the CS and SWE programs it is a great field for direct solutions and software applications implementation.


Exam Questions

1) How sustainability can be connected with Information Technology?

This question can open a quite wide answer, where a responder needs to determine sustainability, how he or she understand this term, what are the main factors and determinants of it. Further logical reflection can lead within the answer to the problem of green technologies and the global necessity of change in building high-technologies. Specification of the main challenges within computer science with the respect of environmental impact on it will lead not only to quite interesting and broad discussion, but to the ability understand the level of responder's involvement in the subject as well. Examples or solutions to the problem, which can be presented during the answer are highly recommended and are welcome.

2) What are the main challenges of building sustainable IT infrastructure?

The question is a little bit more specified than the first one. Here the responder is faced to a need give an opinion concerning main challenges, which exist now and prevent actors in the whole IT system (from the manufacturer to the single end-user) from the ability to include sustainability aspects in a whole life-cycle of high-technologies products and processes.

3)What are the reasons for Green IT development?

Here the responder needs to explain the basic causes that lead society to think about the impact of international technological development to the environment. Explanation of the basic outcome from the sociatal development and predictions of the planet condition for the following decades are the ground for the building new and sustainable course for the new cycle of high-tech evolution. If the person is able to understand and determine Green IT, there is a possibility, that he or she are able to take right decision concerning the discussed topic in the future. In other words, there will be a tendency to change direction from the 'environmental problems discussion' to the 'environmental solutions to the problems'.

4)How Green IT can be used in a daily life?

There are many discussions concerning green and sustainable decisions in a different fields, as well as a number of theories and suggestions for the life improvement is huge. However, the man idea of sustainability is related to the green technologies application. The question refers to the need of determination for the basic Green IT aspects and help to understand the level of respondent ability to share or create possible solutions for the problem solving. If the person does not understand, what Green ITs do mean, then it is impossible to understand how they can be applied for the humans daily life. The knowledge that is needed to answer the question is the most crucial piece of information, that can be necessary for everyone: simple user, researcher, engineer or manufacturer.

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