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Discover Little Known Facts About Green Technology

written by: Bruce Tyson•edited by: Ginny Edwards•updated: 5/20/2011

Like everything else, computing needs to be "green," meaning that we are conscious of the ways our lives and our work impact the world. Whether depleting energy resources, polluting the air, or poisoning landfills, here are some green technology facts that can help you be more responsible.

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    The Problem of Electronic Waste

    Little Known Facts About Green Technology Among green technology facts is that the world's electronic waste amounts to as much as 50 million metric tons in a year. This includes an estimated 130,000 computers thrown away in the United States every day and the 100 million cell phones discarded in America during the year.

    When it comes to electronics, businesses and individuals should take steps to make sure earth friendly electronics are purchased. Besides the low power requirements that most of us find attractive (look for computer and other IT gear that is Energy Star certified), certified eco-friendly computers with low levels of toxins should be purchased. When discarding computers and other electronics, they should be sent to a reputable electronics recycler.

    Before completing a purchase find out if the manufacturer has a recycle program for the equipment. If not, make arrangements right away for an environmentally responsible disposal.

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    Computer / IT CO2 is a Problem

    Man made (anthropogenic) CO2 is in the news a lot for its impact on global climate. This is usually associated with things like air travel, automobile traffic, and other activities that involve combustion. Another one of the little known green technology facts is that computers and other IT equipment account for same amount of CO2 as the entire airline industry. This underscores the degree to which electric items that do not directly burn fuel dramatically effect the condition of the planet and how green technology facts can help make a difference.

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    Green Certification Programs

    We already know about computers and peripherals that are GTA certified green. Another one of our little green technology facts is that there are green technology certifications for organizations and for IT workers. By meeting criteria set by CoSN, schools qualify for special recognition for reigning in their carbon footprint. By taking tangible steps to make a school certified, IT workers can help promote green computing and environmental responsibility among their peers.

    Schools are not the only environment where green certifications play a role: CompTIA has a certification called the CompTIA Strata Green IT that educates IT professionals in green technology facts and certifies that they are capable of implementing green computing initiatives in businesses.

    The Chartered Institute of IT issues a Certificate in Green IT that certifies that an IT worker has been educated and trained in government regulations and policies concerning environmentally neutral computing and the creation of green IT strategies for the corporate enterprise.

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    Green Technology Costs Jobs

    One of the most unpleasant of all little known green technology facts is that they cost jobs. Telecommuting employees, remote data center and phone center maintenance, virtual trade shows, WebEx sales meetings, virtualization, cloud computing, and other green technologies reduce the amount of on site IT labor required by a company.

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    The brutal reality is that many corporations have become accustomed to using green technology as a means to trim their expenses rather than as a means to be environmentally responsible. This unintended consequence of the promotion of green technology should make us consider its human toll along with the much touted savings in waste, emissions, and energy.

    A good example of how green technology costs jobs can be found in Hewlett Packard (HP) which announced the elimination of 9,000 jobs from its data centers after implementing a green technology called "virtualization" that consolidates multiple servers on single hardware platforms. This reduces the hardware and energy required to operate a data center, but it also means that fewer administrators, technicians, and specialists are required. HP seems to be anticipating further workforce cuts as it switches more of its employees to cloud computing initiatives.

    This gloomy outlook for IT jobs in light of green technology mimics the experience of green technology in other sectors. For example, the Spanish alternative energy initiative being mirrored for the U.S. energy policy has demonstrable devastation on employment. The Spanish found that for every new "green" energy job created, two others were lost, challenging some American politicians who assert that jobs will be created through expanded green initiatives.

    The destructive impact of green technologies on the national and global economies is in itself reason to contemplate an unnatural transition to green technologies.

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    Sources

    "15 Mind-Boggling Green Facts & Enviro-Stats." Web Ecoist. http://webecoist.com/2008/11/26/amazing-frightening-green-facts-environmental-statistics/ (accessed July 1, 2010).

    Baratti, Gianluca. "Job Losses From Obama Green Stimulus Foreseen in Spanish Study." Bloomberg. March 27, 2009. http://www.bloomberg.com/apps/news?pid=newsarchive&sid=a2PHwqAs7BS0 (accessed July 1, 2010).

    Bonasia, J. "HP To Ax 9,000 Jobs On Efficiency Gains." Investor's Business Daily. June 1, 2010. http://www.investors.com/NewsAndAnalysis/Article/535952/201006011841/HP-To-Ax-9000-Jobs-On-Efficiency-Gains-.aspx (accessed July 1, 2010).

    Chickowski, Ericka. "Green IT and Green computing: Green IT Certifications for Jobs That Make a Difference." Channel Insider. April 21, 2010. http://www.channelinsider.com/c/a/Green-IT-and-Green-Computing/Turn-Green-Tech-into-Greenbacks-IT-Certifications-for-Jobs-That-Make-a-Difference-194602/ (accessed July 1, 2010).

    "Some Facts About Computer Energy Use." Green Computing. http://www.cosn.org/Initiatives/GreenComputing/InterestingFacts/tabid/4639/Default.aspx (accessed July 1, 2010).

    Image Credit: Sprout Light Bulb/TakingITGlobal at Wikimedia Commons