Everyone knows that heavy industry, transport and agriculture are all big producers of greenhouse gas emissions (GHG). What about the 16 million people in the UK service sector that spend their working life toiling in front of a computer screen?
How green is your IT? The service sector consumes 32% of all UK electricity, with 11% attributed to the use of IT solutions. As a result, IT is the sector’s third-largest consumer of electricity behind lighting (14.5%) and cooling and ventilation (13.4%), creating an estimated 7.8m tCO2e of annual GHG emissions.
Recent research by Justin Sutton-Parker of Citrix indicates the way we work creates so much greenhouse gas (GHG) pollution that a forest the size of Canada and Greenland would be required to clear it. Isn’t it time IT changed?
There are four simple behavioural changes that can drive significant savings in IT related emissions:
- Reducing personal computing energy consumption.
- Remote working.
- Transitioning to green cloud computing.
- More sustainable hardware lifecycle management.
Reducing personal computing energy consumption
End-user devices contribute to 35% of ITs total global greenhouse emissions, of which 80% are created during the end-use phase. This is due to the electricity consumed during the device’s lifetime. Moving your computers to the cloud, enables users to work on smaller, low energy devices. Power-hungry desktops can be converted to light-weight ‘thin clients’ that need relatively small amounts of energy to run.
Statistics indicate that almost 11 million UK service sector workers commute by car, and 67% use computers to conduct their work. This equates to almost 31bn car miles per year being travelled to access IT systems, generating 12.6m tCO2e annual emissions. Launching a desktop solution in the cloud gives users the same look and feel of a locally installed desktop, yet it can be accessed from any machine, anywhere.
Transitioning to green cloud computing
Reducing data centre emissions and moving to cloud services is one way an organisation can reduce its carbon footprint. 3% of global electricity is consumed by the world’s 8 million data centres, which produce over 290m tCO2e emissions annually. Adopting data centre solutions with zero carbon impact is an essential element of achieving sustainability. A 2018 study found that using the Microsoft Azure cloud platform can be up to 93 per cent more energy-efficient and up to 98 per cent more carbon efficient than on-premises solutions.
More sustainable hardware lifecycle management
There is a race to stay productive as old computers struggle with new, more powerful applications designed for faster processors. Typically, computers can be used for three years before their performance starts to decline and they need to be replaced. Last year over 54 million tonnes of waste from electrical and electronic equipment were generated globally as old hardware models made way for new. But what if there was a way to end this cycle? What if, when a personal computer approached the end of its useful lifecycle, it could be repurposed and used for several more years?
Extending the lifespan of a device tackles the issue of e-waste by spreading the environmental impact across a longer time-horizon.
If your users already have legacy personal computing devices such as supposedly outdated laptops, why not convert them to thin clients as you move to a Desktop as a Service (DaaS) like Cognition Cloud? By repurposing the hardware, the embodied emissions created during the manufacture and distribution of every device can be spread across many more years, reducing the long-term environmental impact. Simply put, refreshing your personal computing estate less regularly means that fewer resources will be mined from the Earth.
Cognition Cloud makes it easy and cost-effective to transition to greener and more sustainable IT. Contact us today to learn more.
Cognition Cloud. Sustainable. Smart. Secure.