This question is the title of a recent story in CIO Insight. The article opens:
"Green IT" lets companies put on their eco-friendly faces and proclaim their love of the environment. It is also a bean counter's dream, in which innovative uses of hardware and software drive down energy and infrastructure costs. But is the former just clever marketing to wrap around the latter, which includes initiatives businesses would be taking anyway?
My immediate reaction: "Does it really matter?" . . .
The Telecommunications industry is intertwined with both computing and e-media, so it is fitting that Vertatique expand its scope to include Telecom sustainability topics.
I'm following the recent announcement by the Telecommunications Journal of Australia of the Eckermann-TJA Prize . . .
Online collaboration substituting for travel can be a key component of a green enterprise strategy. Collaborative service provider WebEx has a new promotion which makes the point, albeit in a somewhat confusing way . . .
A provocatively-titled paper The Carbon Neutral Myth - Offset Indulgences for Your Carbon Sins cast doubt on both the concept of achieving sustainability through offsets, as well as on organizations purporting to provide offsets.
I won't detail the arguments - read the paper for yourself - or summarize the ensuing debate. I will note that carbon offsets are a key element of many "sustainable" media productions highlighted in Vertatique and and we use these ourselves to offset the modest amount of electricity required to operate this site. See the comments below for some of the efforts to certify offseters.
A movie, Sweetland, claims to be "the first independently produced American film that can be called carbon-neutral." The crew describe their on-location practices, which can be applied to all media location work:
". . . using sunlight instead of generators and film lights as often as possible; carpooling to the set; buying fewer airline tickets by not flying people home on the weekends; and being efficient with the schedule by “shooting out” a location before moving . . . to the next location."
Enterprises are increasingly using outside data centers to execute large-scale, critical operations ranging from e-commerce to media delivery. Yet assessments of carbon footprints and other environmental impacts have considered these out-sourced functions to be "tertiary" and therefore often excluded from the calculations.
There is no good reason to continue doing so . . .
"Virtualization" generally refers to any abstraction of computing resources. In the Green ICT context, it refers to consolidating multiple logical resources onto fewer physical resources. For example, hosting multiple web sites on a single server may make the most efficient use of that hardware. The power and HVAC load due to idle computers is reduced, but care has to be taken to ensure quality of service. Vertatique.com is hosted this way to minimize its energy/carbon impact.
The Revolution Will Be Televised in the April edition covers green television programming and green media practices widely reported elsewhere and covered in previous Vertatique posts. But its conclusion is thoughtful . . . .
The BBC recently reported on the UK's effort to combat cyber warming, which it defines as "carbon dioxide emissions from the production, operation and disposal of computers"
A public-private task force know as "Green Shift" has some very specific goals:
The Sierra Club's magazine hit a Vertatique double in the March/April issue, but I could not find any indication the Club, magazine, or web site practices green computing.
1. A profile/interview with Sun Microsystems' Dave Douglas on green computing and related topics.
2. Stats on sustainability issues in movie productions . . .