Building a Sustainable Future with Green Cloud Computing

November 23, 2023

Idhaya M V

Building a Sustainable Future with Green Cloud Computing

Cloud computing is rapidly transforming the business world thanks to faster operations, cost savings, and easier collaboration. Yet here’s something not everyone knows – it’s also pretty good for the environment. 

Sustainability and carbon footprint reduction have become priorities for companies worldwide. Businesses are adopting environmentally friendly approaches thanks to cost savings and increasing awareness of climate change and resource depletion. Sustainability efforts improve a company’s brand value and generate cost savings by enhancing energy efficiency, reducing waste, and optimizing supply chain operations. Here’s the proof: 

  • About 3,426 companies across the globe are actively working toward decarbonization, aligning their actions with climate science to reduce carbon emissions. – Science Based Targets initiative 
  • According to a study conducted in 2022, involving 850 global companies, approximately 80% of them indicated their intentions to boost their investments in sustainability. – WeWork 
  • Approximately 66% of organizations are actively striving to enhance their energy efficiency. – Deloitte 

Here’s where it gets interesting: Despite the new focus on sustainability and reducing carbon footprints, many organizations still need to connect the dots between cloud computing and its environmental impact. Needless to say, cloud technology has been a well-kept secret in the sustainability world.

Environmental Impact of Cloud Computing

1.Reducing Carbon Footprint

Traditional computing setups involve several physical servers, each with their own energy demands and inefficiencies. These servers often run at partial capacity or remain idle for long periods.

Interesting Fact: The more clouds you have, the more sunlight they reflect, reducing global warming. Similarly, Cloud computing can reduce carbon emissions by up to 98% compared to traditional data storage methods.

Cloud service providers create virtual servers that share the same physical hardware. Server sharing cuts resource waste. By eliminating multiple individual servers, cloud computing lowers energy consumption, translating into reduced carbon emissions. 

2. Energy Efficiency in Cloud Data Centers

Discarding outdated servers not only leads to a significant volume of e-waste but also contributes to environmental pollution.  

As per the International Energy Agency (IEA), data centers represent approximately 1–1.5% of the total global electricity consumption. In 2021, the global electricity usage by data centers ranged between 220 to 320 Terawatt hours, accounting for roughly 0.9%–1.3% of the worldwide electricity demand. Notably, this signifies a notable increase of 10%–60% in data center energy consumption compared to the levels recorded in 2015.

On the other hand, modern cloud data centers are at the forefront of energy efficiency.  

  • Cloud data centers now use cutting-edge cooling solutions to maintain cooler operating temperatures. These solutions include hot and cold aisle containment, liquid cooling, and free-air cooling. By efficiently managing server temperatures, these centers minimize the energy required for cooling.  
  • Cloud data centers use sophisticated power management systems that optimize energy usage. This includes adjusting power use in real-time to match workload demands. 
  • The energy-saving aspect of the design of cloud data centers lies in their modular and scalable nature. Unlike traditional data centers, cloud data centers do not maintain excess capacity to handle peak loads continuously. Instead, they can dynamically allocate resources, ensuring that computing power is utilized precisely when needed. This eliminates the need for over-provisioning, where data centers maintain excessive capacity that may sit idle for extended periods.

3.Cloud’s Scalability and Elasticity

Scalability allows organizations to change computing resources to match their workloads. Think of a restaurant that adjusts its seating capacity during busy and quiet times. Similarly, cloud services let businesses increase or decrease computing power and storage in response to changing demands.  This way companies don’t waste resources they don’t need, which can’t be avoided with physical hardware.

Future Trends in Green Cloud Computing

Edge Computing and Its Environmental Impact: Edge computing shifts centralized data processing to a distributed model, where data is analyzed closer to its source (IoT devices are a great example). This shift has the potential to drastically reduce data transfer needs, leading to a substantial decrease in energy consumption and greenhouse gas emissions.  

Renewable Energy Integration: Integrating renewable energy sources into data centers is gaining momentum.  Companies like Google have invested in massive solar farms to meet the energy demands of their data centers. Amazon Web Services (AWS) similarly began wind farm projects, while Microsoft is exploring underwater data centers powered by ocean currents. 

Green Cloud Certification Standards: The addition of more industry standards and certifications for green cloud computing reveals a growing commitment to sustainability. Standards such as the Carbon Trust Standard and the Green Electronics Council’s Electronic Product Environmental Assessment Tool (EPEAT), provide organizations with a roadmap for environmentally responsible cloud practices. They often require organizations to meet specific emissions reduction targets. EPEAT specifically evaluates energy efficiency, recyclability, and materials used. To achieve EPEAT certification, products must meet strict environmental requirements and undergo thorough verification. 

Balancing Environmental Benefits and Challenges 

The journey towards a greener and more sustainable future in cloud computing is well underway. Organizations should choose cloud partners dedicated to renewable energy sources and environmentally responsible data center practices to contribute to an eco-friendly world. By making these conscious choices, we can collectively shape a digital landscape that meets our needs and supports our commitment to protecting our planet.

Get in touch with our Digital consultants to Elevate & Scale your business

Free Consultation

Ready to get interesting insights of Eleviant? Subscribe to our Newsletter


Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

Get in touch with our Digital consultants to Elevate & Scale your business

Free Consultation

Ready to get interesting insights of Eleviant? Subscribe to our Newsletter