Despite the claims that technology is to blame for many of the world’s ecological problems, technology has also served to improve the shape of our planet. Since the rise of technology in the workplace, numerous ICT companies have been designing “greener technology” to combat the detrimental effect that computers and their accompanying technology have on the environment. One of the best known organizations is the Green Grid. (Courtney 49) The Green Grid is an organization that consists of IT companies and professionals from around the world. (Courtney, p. 49) The Green Grid is devising ways to improve the way energy is consumed by IT oriented businesses and their offices. (Courtney 49) One of the biggest achievements of the Green Grid is the Power Usage Effectiveness or, PUE, metric system. This system records data center energy consumption.
How it works is by recording the energy consumption of a data center or mainframe server every 15 minutes. By recording in these 15 minute increments it helps those monitoring the data to notice if there are any energy fluctuations and if the data center systems are using an adequate amount of energy. (Courtney 49) The long term goal of the Green Grid is to introduce a standard system that allows business managers and IT operatives to compare the amount of the energy they are consuming and if necessary resolve ways to reduce it. (Courtney 49) Another technology that is having positive impacts on the environment is low carbon technology. (Xie 1593) Low carbon technology is a form of technology that has been developed in China. Largely developed because of China’s low carbon footprint in comparison to other developing countries, the low carbon technology aims to offset the amount of emissions polluting the air by using renewable fossil fuels. (Xie 1594) China is a low carbon economy for two main reasons. First, the number of people that own a car is far lower than the national average of a country like the United States.
Currently the majority of China’s inhabitants use public transport or bicycles to get around. Second is the high amount of renewable fossil fuels that the country utilizes in its factory productions. (Xie 1594) Fossil fuels are used because of their high energy efficiency and their extremely low emissions. Carbon is not emitted when fossil fuels are used and therefore, many of the Chinese factories run on renewable energy that is created from fossil fuels. (Xie 1594) For other countries to develop effective low carbon technologies, they will need to have a different approach to their resources than China. This is because many of the other countries will have different environments and different natural resources to hand. (Xie 1595) China’s main resource is its extensive supply of coal which it readily burns as a source of renewable fossil fuel.
China has a rich resource of renewable energy and is able to not only exploit its coal resources for the time being, but also its large amount of renewable hydroelectricity. (Xie 1595) These renewable resources, if managed properly will go a long way into creating a low carbon future for China. (Xie 1596) Other countries can also diversify into new low carbon options, thanks to the advances in technology. Bio-fuels, solar power and wind power are no longer science fiction but science fact. They are more than capable of replacing some of the energy resources currently used that produce harmful gases. (Xie 1596) These new developments towards a low carbon future are only possible through our advancements in modern technology and are one way that technology is having a positive and beneficial effect on the environment. One obvious way that technology is helping the ecology of the planet is by reducing the need for paper. With the ever increasing use of email and electronic communication, paperless offices are now a common occurrence in companies.
(Jorgenson and Jorgenson 364) Reducing the need for paper in turn reduces the demand for logging and deforestation, allowing richer lands to create a smaller footprint. (Kilian 366) The development of green technologies such as PC power management systems and multi-function devices allows a business that relies heavily on technology to reduce the amount of energy it consumes. (Courtney 51) An office can become more environmentally sound if it employs many of the new energy reducing technologies that are readily available and incorporates them with or eco-friendly practices such as turning off excess lights and using less paper. Jorgenson and Jorgenson 365) According to current statistics, putting energy management systems into practice can save a company a huge amount in energy consumption. (Courtney 50) For example, a company consolidates its 100 physical computer servers into less than 20 servers that operated virtual server software.
It not only saves potentially hundreds of thousands of dollars in server replacements and repairs, it also saves over 600,000 kilowatts of energy. (Courtney 51) Another example is the replacement of laser printers with multi-function devices. Multi-function devices usually incorporate a printer, fax machine and photocopier all in one system. This not only saves space but saves the amount of electronic hardware that is permanently on standby in an office. (Courtney 51) Using five multi-function devices in an office instead of five printers, a photocopier and a fax machine are going to enable the office to be more productive and save the company even more in energy consumption. (Courtney 51) This is because instead of a minimum of 7 different machines being on permanent standby, the office will have a maximum of 5 on standby. This is enough to make a significant difference in the office power consumption and also enables more than one person at a time to fax or photocopy. (Courtney 51) Also the amount of repair costs will be reduced as only one product would necessarily need replacing or fixing instead of a potential of 3 different products.
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