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Green Computing in Business World

written by: •edited by: Bill Bunter•updated: 5/6/2010

Today a number of business enterprises understand the importance of going green with major green initiatives in their business ventures. Green technologies today have become indispensible.

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    It is rather ironic that the entire world had welcomed the multiplication of more computers across households and workplaces, believing that a computer-centered world would put lesser strain on the environment. As it turns out, computers did provide a paper-free business environment but more forests are now being chopped down just to support the power consumed by electronic computing devices.

    Further, PCs are heating-up the environment to such an extent that more power is being used to keep the workplaces cooler. It is believed that every PC is able to effectively utilize just about 50% of the total electrical power it consumes. Thus, seeking greener computing solutions isn't about making a choice anymore. The situation is getting grim with every passing day and businesses need to understand the mutual benefit, their commercial interests and the environment, will derive from greener and practical computing technologies.

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    Question of Having a Green Mindset

    One major problem that is faced when trying to influence business organizations towards adopting a greener working environment is their perception about the term ‘green computing’. It is generally understood that going green invariably leads to compromised productivity due to the adoption of unfeasible eco-friendly business practices that have been put forth by idealistic environmentalists. However, this perception is largely misplaced. Green computing is nothing more than adopting a mindset that helps businesses in performing at the same level of productivity and profit margins, but in a more environment-friendly manner.

    How? The contemporary business practices are heavily dependent on computing solutions and newer ones are always being researched. So, if businesses insist on adopting only greener computing methods, it would mean influencing global research and development teams in creating better computing solutions, i.e. greener, affordable and user-friendly. Once this sort of an approach is developed, there would be a spurt in computing technologies that would put lesser strain on the environment.

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    Realization of Being Green without Sacrificing Development

    The biggest apprehension that businesses have when eco-friendly computing solutions are proposed, is whether these would be compatible with their business growth. However, this conventional trend has seen some interesting developments in the last few years. It is reported that a growing number of high-end data centers around the globe are feeling the increasing pressure due to rising requirements of space, heat and power, every time they plan to augment their sphere of business or undertake workplace expansions.

    As a result, not due to environmental concern but to meet their own commercial interests, many organizations have come forward to adopt greener, sustainable computing solutions. Rising expenditures incurred due to power consumption in conventional data centers and the inability to meet the rising demand for physical workspace is forcing such business enterprises to seek greener computing platforms.

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    Green Initiatives

    There have been many steps taken towards creating technologies that entice the businesses towards greener computing by offering huge savings in energy costs.

    The advantage — adoption of such technologies indirectly helps to reduce carbon footprints and greenhouse gas emissions.

    Examples of such initiatives:

    Angstrom Microsystems is in the process of launching data centers that would provide eco-compatible cooling technologies. They are on the verge of introducing AMS LiquiCool — an innovative liquid cooling method that is effective enough to reduce air-conditioning needed in busy data centers by nearly 75%.

    The growing awareness about computers adding to global warming has led IT giants like Google, Intel, IBM, Dell, Hewlett-Packard and Microsoft in looking for ways to reduce carbon footprints created in computerized workplaces. A Climate Savers Computing Initiative has been created and its dedication to the cause is being backed by the WWF (World Wildlife Fund). The focus is on creating energy-efficient PCs and PC components that might be a bit expensive than their existing counterparts but would be sensible purchases for businesses as their power consumption would be significantly lesser.

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    Recognition for Green Computing

    • E.U. (the European Union) has created the E.U. Flower Eco Award for green computing. The 2008 award was handed to ASUS for creating innovative greener laptops.
    • Fujitsu Siemens was recognized for its self-realization to create its own eco-friendly labels that were pasted on its products to educate the consumers about such issues.
    • Energy Star rating that is provided by the US EPA (Environmental Protection Agency) will soon get is own dedicated category for green servers. EPA is presently awarding Energy Star Ratings to data centers.
    • Greenpeace Guide to Greener Electronics, the 11th edition, 2009 took note of the non-performing IT majors and companies like HP and Lenovo were penalized as they weren’t able to fulfill their promise of removing toxic constituents from their products. However, Apple was awarded bonus points as it created a PC-building material that was free of any PVC (polyvinyl chloride)