Green computing is a term used to refer to the proper handling and disposal of computer parts. It is a term that has come of late with the need to have a clean environment devoid of unnecessary pollution on the environment. It is known fact that computers are made of non-biodegradable material, which is mainly plastic in nature. Disposal of used computers can cause environmental degradation if not well done. Given that they do not decompose, these substances end up polluting the environment. The other reason green computing practices are pursued is the fact that it helps bring out better utilization of resources through recycling.
Rationale behind green computing
Green computing practices are motivated by a desire to conserve the planet that is now under the threat of global warming. It is also done because of the recent upsurge in the usage of computers in the world. Virtually every department in all the workplaces uses computers. This has resulted in many used computers coming out of the process (Murugesan, & Gangadharan, 2012). Initially, during the onset of the use of computers, disposal was not a problem since there were only few computers in use. Another motivator that has likened to the usage of computers is the fact that computers are mainly made of plastics and metal, all which are no biodegradable. Their presence on the soul is of a negative externality. They cause the environment to experience unnecessary strain as it deals with the many lying non-decomposable material (Harris, 2008).
Scientists explain that the presence of too much non-biodegradable material on the ground contributes to global warming, which is the world’s major problem now. Therefore, such a crisis does not to have measures in place to address this current menace of too much computers parts lying o the ground. Mobile phone industry has also contributed to the upsurge of unnecessary materials lying on the ground. Used phones are now a common phenomenon that is experienced globally. In the wake of this reality and the middle of the current crisis resulting from global warming, there has been a worldwide campaign to reduce the usage of non-biodegradable materials in the world. However, proper disposal is the remedy where reduction of the uses of these non-decomposing substances such as in the case of computers.
Global warming results
Global warming is a term used to describe the general rise in the world temperatures that is currently being witnessed around the globe. It is called this way because it is a phenomenon similar to that of a greenhouse, thus the name greenhouse effect. The chief cause of this problem is the accumulation of gases in the atmosphere that block radiated heat from the earth from escaping into the atmospheres. One of the chief causes is the cutting down of trees, which normally assist in balancing the carbon content in the atmosphere. Carbon dioxide gas resulting from the breathing system of all animals accumulates in the atmosphere. Eventually, the blanket of gases in the atmosphere becomes too much to the point that it blocks the heat emitted by the bodies on the earth surface from escaping to the space, where it ought to end. Emissions normally occur once after the object on the earth surface absorbs heat from the sun (Smith, 2013).
Computer parts left after use form the bulk of the objects that absorb heat then emit it back at night. The more the bodies that absorb heat from the sun, the more the heat capacity emitted to the atmosphere. It increases the surface area for the absorption of heat and consequently adds to the capacity that will eventually be emitted to the atmosphere. As a way of managing global warming, it is necessary to increase global forest cover besides reducing the objects that produce damage the environment. Emissions occur from any object on the earth. Physics principles suggest that the color of an object also determine the quantity of heat emitted to the atmosphere. For instance, a black color is known to emit mire heat tan any another color. It is in this sense that used computers largely contribute to the emissions in the atmosphere. The reason for thus is that most of the computers and computer accessories are made of black substances. Mobile phone accessories also have this feature. It is in the occurrence of this phenomenon that measures have been instituted to address the problem (Murugesan, & Gangadharan, 2012).
The severity of global warming is dependent on a number of factors. One is the volume of gases emitted to the atmosphere. The more the amount of these gases, the higher the amount of heat trapped hence the more serious global warming gets. The reverse is also true. The other factor that determines the severity of global warming is the surface area for absorption and emission of heat ion the earth surface. The correlation between the amount of surface and the heat that will either be absorbed or emitted exists. The number of objects and the nature of their substance on earth determine the size of the absorbing or emitting surface. For instance, black surfaces absorb and emit more heat than any other surfaces. Computers, having been made mainly of black material as well as other mobile phone assortments thus qualifies to be classified as high contributors of global warming. Reasonably, a global campaign on eradication of factors and vector that cause global warming is ongoing. It is on this principle that the clamor for green computing was conceived. It was also built on the premise that a favorable environment is one that has the entire feature that support the restoration, conservation, and the betterment of the environment in which people live in. Environmental soundness is a term that is also affiliated to green computing as well as countering global warming and environmental pollution. It is in this latter term that also the measures and principles of green computing are applied (Harris, 2008).
Principles of green computing
Data center and overall energy efficiency
Energy conservation is one of the basic components under review in the quest to have a green computing regime. For instance, the kind of energy used determines the kind of effect that the environment will face. There are different sources of energy in use in the world. These include solar energy, wind energy, hydroelectric energy, as well as nuclear energy. The sources of these forms of energy vary and consequently their effects on the environment equally vary. The reason the considerations for the kind of energy are factors to consider is that different forms of energy have different effects of the environment.
For instance, the use of hydroelectric power source leads to a reduction in the level of water reservoirs if used for long periods. Secondly, the use of this kind of energy leads to other negative efforts since it incorporates the use of petroleum fuels in some way. Petroleum products are known to bring about emissions of carbon to the atmosphere, which against similar to the carbon emissions from animals. The end effect will be arising in the chances of global warming occurring. In the latter event, the effects to the environment are as dire as shown in this study. Nuclear energy sources also contribute to the environmental degradation. The emissions that land into the atmosphere are known to bring adverse effects to the environment. With the rise in the use of computers, energy requirements equally rise. It has become an issue to be considered prior thinking and planning to have good energy uses in place (Murugesan, & Gangadharan, 2012).
Data management is equally a factor that has a role in the green computing agenda. It involves the management of the basic units of communication within the computing network. Data refers to the units or packets of information through which communication is done. In order to have ineffective data efficiency, several hardware installations have to be made like the installation of network boosters and satellites have to be done to ensure that there are efficient exchanges of communication. Such installation will as well involve the use of fuel and other support factors that will in way lead to environmental degradation. Therefore, the implementing team needs to ensure that they have sufficient measures that will prevent the occurrence of any form of environmental degradation because of trying to install the data boosters. IBM is one example of a company that has successfully managed to incorporate green computing measures in their data managing procedures. There is no much use of unnecessary pollutants at this company (Harris, 2008).
Disposal of electronic wastes and recycling
Green computing is achieved through proper disposal of electronic wastes. Computers and mobile phone devices become obsolete after use. Where they end is what matters about the global computing agenda. If left in the open unused, it will lead to the hazards discussed above as well as the creation of an environment that does not look good about sound environmental management policies. It is important to appreciate the existences of many electronic gadgets like mobile phones that often remain unused or are poorly disposed. Proper disposal or utilization of these resources thus becomes important. Disposal means that the left over’s of these devices are defaced, destroyed, or eliminated within the sense that there will be little use after. One way of disposal is the destruction by fire. However, this must be done carefully (Smith, 2013).
The hazard of burning computer-related materials leads to emission of carbon gases as well as the generation of the increase in the overall temperatures on the earth surface. These similar effects of global warming are currently being fought out. Therefore, burning has to involve the use of safety measures that include the use of modified incinerators that can treat the gases that come out of the burnt computers. The facility is made in such a way that the carbon gases as well as other hazardous gases like sulfur that comes out after the combustion is purified. The purification agenda is aimed at ensuring that the kind of gases that finally gets to the atmosphere do not cause global warming among other hazards (Murugesan, & Gangadharan, 2012).
Recycling is the other disposal measure that can be used. Recycling has the double benefit of solving the immediate problem of phasing out the unwanted devices. Recycling steps are important also in reducing the hazardous effects that unused devices would have caused to the environment (Zomaya, & Lee, 2012). It is a common knowledge that a device that is use has little-polluting effect than one that is not use. In the case of used material as well, they are hardly address. Hence, they end up causing unnecessary harm to the environment.
Telecommuting refers to the phenomenon where employees work from home instead of going to a central location. This arrangement has a great positive role towards the realization of good green computing agenda. One, travelling to the workplace every day has a negative impact of creating overcrowding in the workplace. This has the negative impact of creating an environment that has many emissions of carbon gases resulting in environmental pollution. Another impact of overcrowding will be the use of too much energy in one concentrated place. The resulting emissions of heat and carbon gases that come with this might be too much for the environment to bear (Smith, 2013). Therefore, there is a need to have only a limited number of people working in one place at any particular time. Travelling to the workplace every day also increases fuel use. This will be hazardous to the environment. The same way as overcrowding in the environment, too much frequent commuting leads to the emission of excess carbon gases to the atmosphere. Research shows that even one day of telecommuting can save up to 423,000 tons of greenhouse gas (McEldowney & McEldowney, 2014). The goodness with the current upsurge in the use of computers is that telecommuting becomes possible. Ideally, telecommuting is not just an implementation option in green computing, but also the effect that has come with the advent of computers. It is a self-checking phenomenon. Other benefits of telecommuting include the fact that when people work from home, there will be little demand and subsequent consumption of the content that would have lead to environmental degradation such as fuel and energy. It also saves on the expenditure on fuel (Smith, 2013).
Virtualization of server resources
Virtualization involves the use modification of servers by subdividing a server point into several smaller servers, which all work in tandem to each other. It also involves the use of modifications to minimize the physical existence of servers. This is achieved by ensuring that many of the servers used are virtual and coordinated (Dulworth, 2013). There are advantages associated with this kind of modification. One advantage with this is that it leads to the reduction of floor space as well as reducing the number of employees that are needed in the company. IBM is one leading company that utilizes virtualization in all its technologies. This has led to cost cutting as well as efficiency in the sense that management can coordinate many more activities than would have been possible in the ordinary world (Zomaya, & Lee, 2012).
Cloud computing is one way in which virtualization is done. In this case, documents and other important information are saved in the virtual space. It is both safe and efficient in terms of costs and employee attention. Fewer administrators will be needed to manage a virtual server than would have been needed in the actual case where several real administrators will be needed. Because of the reduced personnel as well as reduced administration offices, there will be a corresponding cutting down of energy. Virtual servers need little energy uses hence contribute to the overall goal of green computing. Concerning the nature of the activities dealt with in a virtual arrangement, little or no emissions of gases to the environment is evident because virtual servers do not use of hardware devices. The lack of hardware devices translates to cutting down in the use of energy that is good for the conservation of the environment. The absence of hardware devices also leads to the no emissions of heat to the atmosphere, which is still part of the overall agenda of cutting down on emissions (Murugesan, & Gangadharan, 2012).
Thin client solution
This term refers to the reduced use of energy in an organization. It involves the employment of all measures such as cloud computing, virtualization as well as the use of open source software among other measures that are meant to reduce the amount of energy use in a company. Cloud computing is among the best forms used to cut down on energy use. The advantage of using this kind of approach in management goes a long way in reducing the negative effect that is normally experienced with the use of computers (Smith, 2013). In the industry, IBM Company is still the leading company that practices thin client solution.
Use of open source software
This involves the use of an approach that is not linked to any link or vendor. In open source, users can access service without necessarily having to incorporate the presence of a known vendor or known link. The advantage of this is that just like virtualization, it cuts down on the need to have to use energy, or have employees to provide support service. The overall benefit of this is that it leads to cutting down of energy consumption. The end effect here also includes the fact that it leads to reduced heat emissions as well as zero carbon emissions. The net effect will thus contribute to the overall goal of attaining green computing (Zomaya, & Lee, 2012).
The cost-benefits analysis of green computing
In terms of benefits and costs assessments, green computing is a viable venture. For instance, the costs that are involved in green computing are minimal compared to the benefited that accrue. For instance, in virtual server network systems or cloud computing, or better still in open source, the costs border the development of the systems such as the subdivisions of the official server into various network systems. This involves the use of little amounts of funds that are used to purchase equipment and the fees charged by the experts who will do the customization exercise of the software. Purchase of software cannot also be said to be too high compare to the benefits that will respond from the installation of the system (Murugesan, & Gangadharan, 2012). Once these measures have been installed, there will be no need to have employees operating the system, especially in open source systems. It will also be easy to have services reaching out the many clients that ought to be served. Open source systems, in particular, are termed commendable for ensuring that quality service to the target clients are is achieved. This is often beneficial to a business that embraces green computing as in the case of IBM.
Green computing and the environment
Primarily, companies in the IT sector perform green computing measure with the aim of reaping profits and saving on unnecessary costs that normally come with the use of ordinary measures. In other instances, green computing is practiced simply because of compliance to industry practices as well as attempting to emulate the market leaders such as IBM. However, the chief beneficiary of cloud computing is the environment. The environment benefits from the concept of green computing in two ways. One is the issue of the physical environment. If used computers are dumped in the environment without due consideration for their dangers, there shall be an unnecessary inconvenience to the environment. The physical objects will act as barriers to the smoothness of the environment. Physical environment will also be affected by the fact that there shall be cases of interference with the soil structure as well as the life of creatures living on the ground. Water pollution is also likely to take place in the physical world. Other negative effects to the physical world include the occurrence of minor accidents where people can end up being cut by the physical objects that are present in the environment (Harris, 2008).
The atmosphere is also a part of the environment that benefits from green computing. Green computing strives to minimize or eliminate the volume of carbon emissions to the atmosphere. On a successful termination of these emissions, the atmosphere gets the benefit of being free from pollution. Plants and animals shall be the beneficiaries of this safe atmosphere. For instance, an atmosphere free from too much carbon will be safe for the habitation of all the living things because of the clean air to breath and clean water (Smith, 2013).
Education and certification on green computing
Institutions of higher learning have introduced studies on green computing to their curriculum. The purpose is to instill learning on the field with the aim of sensitizing the communities on the need to adopt environmentally friendly disposal procedures of computer-related products (Hurson, 2013). The targeted aim here is that they want to make it a common practice on as to enable a conducive environment for proper research in the field. The specifics on this learning regiment are discussed below.
Green computing certification
Certification is offered to people after going through a study that deals with green computing. It is also given to companies that have incorporated the use of green computing principles in their practice. It is also given to people hoi have done exemplary service, research or brought any positive contribution to the field of green computing. The benefit of certification to the companies and corporate is that it acts as a mark of service quality on their part. Those companies that have green computing measures in place are viewed as successful and accomplished (Zomaya, & Lee, 2012). Just like ISO certification, certification on green computing serves to paint a good picture of the company. It is in the wake of this reality that companies have embarked on developing and using green computing measures in their businesses. It is also in the sense that ranking of companies in terms of performance can be done (Ronald, 2010). Compliance to green computing requirements is a benchmark upon which ranking of the performance among companies is done. This mode of ranking also acts as a motivation to those companies that have not adopted the use of green computing principles to start doing so.
The economics of green computing
Green computing is a concept that has an economic dimension in some respect. In green computing, the issue of the size of the labor force is a factor to consider in any case. Firms normally strive to arrive at a low-cost regime. Low-cost regimes are part of the profit maximization objectives of companies. This motive normally strives for maximum revenue possible as well as a minimized cost level. In all cases, the profit motive becomes viable as costs are minimized, and revenue maximized. However, minimizing costs has the effect of reducing the revenue level of the company. Therefore, it is important to have a good tradeoff to determine the level of cost reduction level about the objective of maximizing profit earnings. In this regard, it is also important to have a consideration for the level of revenue that is optimal for the company. Green computing helps reduce the number of workers in a company and consequently reduce costs; labor is one of the chief costs in any organization (Kuehr, 2013).
For this reason, to reduce the number of workers shall bring gain to the concerned company. The other thing with green computing the serves as a costs reduction measure is the fact that it reduces the floor surface needed in a company (Khan, 2013). Virtualization ensures that there is no need to have a working space for employees. In this regard, the cost will have been reduced. In another instance, cost reduction emanates from green computing ability to reduce the time of service to clients. For instance, with the use of open source technology, service time is reduced hence there is a saving on the part of the zero queuing arising from the same (Smith, 2013).
The issue of quality of products and services is another economic aspect of green computing. With green computing, the company can have quality products resulting to the company. In this sense, more clients will be acquired through the attractive nature of the products coming from sustainable waste disposal procedures. Other positive aspects of the increased quality of production and quality services are that the company will be able to obtain a competitive advantage over the same. Those that have not incorporated green computing technologies will always trail behind those that use the same. They will always have fewer customers from the poor services that they offer. They will also be grappling with the issue of poor service production that will in essence ground the business operations largely. In order to have a good corporate image, the company should incorporate sound green computing technologies (Murugesan, & Gangadharan, 2012).
Economics if green computing also involves developing strategies that are meant to allocate work optimally to employees. For instance, several softwares have been developed that assist in the matching of employees to the available work. The objective is to prevent cases of understaffing and overstaffing. Commonly, when there is a case of overstaffing, the company goes at a loss since some of the workers will end up being dummy workers; earning income but not contributing to the overall production capacity of the company. This way, it will be an unnecessary cost to the company (Zomaya, & Lee, 2012).
Enforcement and regulation of green computing policies
The application of green computing is not an optional approach as it may appear. Given the fact that emissions from companies affect the general environment that everyone lives in, governments and other created enforcement bodies have been formed to ensure that there is a good compliance to the regulations regarding environmental conservation. Green computing is one way of reducing emissions and ensuring that there is minimal pollution. It is the prerogative of governments to ensure that all the companies under them have the practice fully enforced (Harris, 2008).
One way through which enforcing is done is through the introduction of the pollution tax. This tax is levied on the amount of pollution that a company releases to the atmosphere. Pollution levels are measured in terms the gallons of emissions that are released to the atmosphere. The higher the level of emissions to the atmosphere, the higher the amount of tax charged a common policy. This direct proportionality is what motivates companies to strive for an emission reduction strategy in order to reduce costs (Murugesan, & Gangadharan, 2012).
Carbon trading is one way through which green computing is ensured. This involves trading on the amount of pollution that companies emit to the atmosphere. For instance, companies purchase pollution permits from the government and uses it to trade as well. How this works is that companies can save on their permits by polluting less. The trick is to pollute less in order to have more permits left. Once a company saves on the pollution permits, they can fetch more money from the companies that are in the industry by selling the permits to them. By so doing, the government and the regulatory agencies manage to motivate the companies to pollute less. A self-checking mechanism enables the agencies to ensure a sound environmental management policy (Smith, 2013).
Power management and green computing
Power is one crucial element in the computer-related businesses. Power is needed to run virtually every process that involves the use of computers. Power has two negative externalities about the environment. The source of energy is important. It can cause problems to the environment if not managed well. Power use also leads to the emission of heat to the environment. This latter effect leads to global warming, which has been rated as one of the effects of lack of adoption of the green computing program. Among the many sources of energy, only a few are recommended by green computing principles (Bell & McGillivray, 2011). These include the use of such sources of energy as solar energy as well as wind energy. The reason these forms of energy are recommended is that they are sources that are renewable and naturally found. They also do not lead to any form of emissions that will end up polluting the environment like the other sources. Renewable energy sources are also cheaper when compared to the other sources of energy. This cost effectiveness as well as the fact that they lead to a clean environment has made them the most preferred sources of energy in the green computing agenda (Zomaya, & Lee, 2012).
Green computing is the latest phenomenon in the quest by nations to have cleaner and safer environment free from electronic pollutants. Governments and environmental conservation bodies in the world have exploited it. The need for the use of green technology techniques has come with the current threat posed by global warming to the world. Global warming has affected virtually every aspect of human life to the point that n one wants to chance with it. Some of the effects of global warming include the melting of glaciers on top of mountains. Other effects include a rise in the general temperature that has distorted the climatic conditions. Floods are now being witnessed all over the world. It is now equally difficult to predict the weather conditions or to correct and regulate weather conditions. All these are things that could be possibly done before the advent of global warming. Given this sorry state, the need for green technology has gained currency of late.
Green technology has also witnessed modifications and improvement to include the management of the other avenues bordering on technology such as ion the manufacture of mobile phones. Mobile phones industry, just like the computer industry too contributes to environmental issues that have raised concerns and the need to apply green computing. The need to use green computing technology has been mainly made serious by the fact that the frequency of mobile phone is on a large scale. For instance, it is a fact that there are more mobile phones in the U.S. than the population of people.
Bell, S., & Mcgillivray, D. (2011). Environmental Law (7th Ed.). Oxford: Oxford University Press.
Dulworth, M. (2013). The Connect Effect Building Strong Personal, Professional, And Virtual Networks. San Francisco: Berrett-Koehler.
Harris, J. (2008). Green Computing and Green IT Best Practices on Regulations and Industry Initiatives, Virtualization, Power Management, Materials Recycling and Telecommuting. New York: Emereo Pty Limited
Hurson, A. (2013). Green And Sustainable Computing. Amsterdam: Elsevier/AP.
Khan, S. (2013). Evolutionary-Based Solutions For Green Computing. Berlin: Springer.
Kuehr, R. (2013). Computers and The Environment: Understanding And Managing Their Impacts. Dordrecht: Kluwer Academic.
Mceldowney, J., & Mceldowney, S. (2014). Environmental Law And Regulation. London Blackstone Press.
Murugesan, S. & Gangadharan, G.R. (2012). Harnessing Green IT: Principles and Practices. New York: John Wiley & Sons
Ronald, T (2010). Green Computing Practices (6th Ed.). Oxford: Oxford University Press.
Smith, B.E. (2013). Green Computing: Tools and Techniques for Saving Energy, Money, and Resources. New York: CRC Press
Zomaya, A.Y. & Lee, Y.C. (2012). Energy Efficient Distributed Computing Systems. New York: John Wiley & Sons
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