The environmental impact of the Internet

Sun’s Jonathan Schwartz is talking about the environmental impact of the Internet:

On the negative, remember California’s power crisis? Who was partly to blame? The computing industry. We create computers that draw enormous amounts of power, throw off huge amounts of heat, which requires the world to build power plants and install power hungry air conditioners. Here’s a little known fact for you: Google’s and Yahoo!’s second largest operating expense - after the people they employ is… electricity. That’s why they’re building datacenters next to smelting plants. Seriously. Read this.

Three MILLION people a week are joining the internet. If each gets a Dell PC, consuming 200 watts, that’s 10-20 GIGAwatts of new power draw and a massive impact on the planet. If we’re serious about creating technologies developing companies and economies can afford, something has to change.

And both bet on a simple premise. Over my lifetime, I will consume roughly three times the power my parents consumed - and they, roughly three times their parents. As that trend continues, energy efficiency will become a competitive advantage for Sun (alongside Toyota, Boeing and GE) - and an environmental imperative for governments and voters. You may not care about it in your den, but multiply your den by three million, and I guarantee you, there’s a lot to care about. Whether you’re in rural Minnesota, or rural India.

This is exactly why Nemein is involved in making the web infrastructure for Energy Saving Projects, Motiva and Green Net Finland. These organizations are doing important work in promoting energy efficiency and building a more environment-friendly industry.

I know at the moment our organization has a quite heavy ecological footprint and I wonder if we should pursue a Green Office Certification to become more aware of it.