What is the carbon footprint of a large file download? A paper comparing digital and physical delivery of Microsoft Office is light on detail, but provides some useful clues.
The WSP study of Microsoft Office distribution concluded that "digital delivery reduced total tonnes of carbon emissions by 88%." Is this a realistic savings for digital delivery of movies and large software/game packages from most sellers and distributors?
Printing web pages can be a frustrating experience, yielding both poor layouts and wasted paper. @greenit recently called attention to three utilities purporting to reduce print waste, one desktop-based and two online. The Vertatique home page can be challenging to to print since it is a dynamic assembly from an underlying content management system (Drupal CMS), rather than a hard-coded HTML page, so I used it for a quick test of the two online utilities.
@geekygreen, a rich source of information on Twitter about UK Green ICT, quotes a speaker at BSIGreenIT, "I would venture that 'Green IT' is actually 'Energy Efficient IT'." This references a reoccurring misconception well worth challenging.
Remote power management of computers is becoming an increasingly powerful tool to control energy consumption and carbon emissions. Behavioral techniques, like encouraging users to turn off their machines at the end of the day, are not always effective and may interfere with off-hours IT activities like upgrades. The Energy Star program now publishes a list of commercial and open-source power management products, along with success stories. Visit Energy Star's Power Management home page for an overview of resources for both organizations and individuals.
PC power management software company E1 reports that desktop power mismanagement costs costs the US alone $2.8 billion per year. Download E1's reports for the US, Germany, and the UK and read Mid-Market Innovators' analysis.
Businesses, government agencies, and non-profits who advocate green, sustainable, or environmentally responsible behavior are most credible when practicing what they preach. Cultural factors, including perceived entitlements, can be barriers. Here are some examples, courtesy of Computerworld, of organizations which used Green ICT tactics to align their internal behavior with their external message.
Cisco's most recent TechwiseTV episode, Redefining the Remote Office, states that 91% of employees do not work in the corporate office and the number of branch offices is growing at ~11% CAGR. Here are ideas I took away from my preview:
Vertatique has been tracking the Climate Savers initiative over the past year and I'm pleased to see its site continue to grow in value. They now offer a robust set of free software applications to help individuals and enterprises tune the power settings of their equipment. I'll report on these tools as I try them out.
National Geographic's "High Tech Trash" is loaded with everything from an interactive toxic tour of a computer to an e-waste quiz to stats like ". . . in the U.S. [in 2005], between 1.5 and 1.9 million tons of computers, TVs, VCRs, monitors, cell phones, and other equipment were discarded. If all sources of electronic waste are tallied, it could total 50 million tons a year worldwide . . ." The Photo Gallery tells the story most powerfully - check it out!