Why the need for Green IT?
We’re all familiar with the need to be sustainable in the way we work and operate our businesses. Reducing energy, emissions and waste are concepts that have been around for many years, but one area that is often overlooked is information technology (IT).
With the world becoming ever more reliant on IT, from computers and laptops to smartphones, the issue of how you make it more sustainable, in terms of reducing energy requirements and electronic waste, becomes ever more pressing.
In 2010, it was estimated that 360 million computers were manufactured. A computer is one of the most resource-intensive pieces of equipment, requiring over 10 times its weight in fossil fuels to make. Compare that to a car or fridge, which need roughly an equal amount of fossil fuels to their own weight to produce.
The following statistics highlight the urgent need to do something now:
- The production of a computer requires 22kg of toxic chemicals, 240kg of fossil fuels and 1,500 kg of water. 80% of life-cycle energy use is accounted for before we even switch a PC on for the first time. Computer Aid International
- About 2% of the world’s total energy is consumed by building and running computer equipment. BBC
- Office equipment is the fastest growing energy user in the business world, consuming 15% of the total electricity used in offices. This is expected to rise to 30% by 2020. In the UK, the cost of running this equipment is estimated to be around £300 million annually and rising each year. Carbon Trust
- 200 million computers and 550 million mobile phones reached the end of their life in 2008. Computer Aid International
- 50 million tons of e-waste was generated worldwide, but only 13% was recycled. US Environmental Protection Agency
- Reusing working computers is up to 20 times more energy-efficient than recycling them. Computer Aid International
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