Environmental concerns and the push for sustainable processes have long been a dominant topic for the individual in today’s world. But now the same concerns have become a prime business focus too, with companies examining how they can grow and succeed with managed environmental impact.
We believe that Cloud-based computing can positively minimise a company’s environmental footprint and have identified a few key areas to show how.
1. Renewable energy sources
It’s difficult for smaller companies to be able to take advantage of renewable energy sources individually, but by using Cloud based computing you can take advantage of your providers’ own efforts. For example, we base our DebtView platform within Microsoft Azure who by 2025 will shift to 100% renewable supply of energy consumed by all their datacentres, buildings, and campuses.
2. Major providers are taking the lead
The bigger names in cloud computing are already pushing ahead of other industries when looking to achieve net zero targets, Google has offset all historical emissions since it founded in 1998 and has pledged to operate on 100% carbon free energy by 2030. Microsoft Azure have committed to the same carbon removal scheme by 2050 and dating their off sets all the way back to 1975 when they were formed.
3. Smarter use of energy & physical resources
By using Cloud based computing, there’s not so much need to own and maintain the same volume of physical hardware. If you don’t need onsite servers you won’t need to keep and power them yourself, as with services in the Cloud, you generally only pay for what you use or need. Less hardware for you running fewer workloads means you will consume less electricity.
4. Dematerialisation (well, we had to use one buzz word…)
This is defined as the replacement of high carbon hardware and physical components with new, virtual equivalents. Essentially cloud computing promotes the immediate sharing of online resources such as digital documents, files and data and moving away from relying on separate hardware and physical technologies. The more dematerialisation becomes the standard then greater the increase in efficiencies and associated environmental impacts.
5. More efficient cooling
Servers and networking equipment generate a lot of heat. To operate efficiently that heat needs to be dissipated. Data centre cooling typically accounts for 40% of total energy consumption, and up to 80% in hotter climates. Consequently, there has been a move in recent years to build large scale data centres in colder environments. For example, the Arctic Circle Data Centre (ACDC) which sits just outside the Arctic Circle in Norway and is powered by hydroelectricity, aims to reduce total energy consumption by 60%.
6. Remote working
In recent years, thanks largely to the Covid-19 pandemic, the world experienced an accelerated shift away from office-based working. The fact that this was even possible at such a pace, was due to cloud computing. The software and infrastructure had been in place for several years. Whatever your views on home working, there is no doubt that there are massive ecological benefits. Less commuting, and therefore lower harmful emissions is the most obvious factor.
These are just a few points that we thought were worth thinking about if you are looking at your business’ environmental footprint and how cloud computing can contribute.