Tuesday, May 13, 2008

IT Industry Emissions Exceed Those of Entire Nations

According to a study by McKinsey & Company with the cooperation of Uptime Institute, the carbon dioxide (CO2) emissions of the U.S. information technology (IT) industry already exceeds the emissions of entire nations, such as Argentina, the Netherlands, and Malaysia. At the current pace, emissions are expected to quadruple and the IT industry will exceed the airline industry in emissions by 2020.

According to the study, the U.S. IT industry is increasing energy usage at a rate of 10-20% annually. "If current data center power consumption continues to grow at the current rate, 10 new coal-fired or nuclear power plants will be needed by 2010 and 20 more (for a total of 30) by 2015."

Thus the IT industry is being challenged to increase energy efficiency of current systems, even at the risk of losing some control over data centers. The study reports that most companies could double energy efficiency of data centers by 2012. They propose automobile CAFE-type industry standards for measuring efficiency in conjunction with the following ten suggestions: creating an energy efficiency dashboard, sealing cable cutoffs, turning off and removing excess hardware, increasing temperatures, virtualizing, and upgrading equipment.

How green is your IT?

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