In the last few years, the rise of eco-awareness has significantly influenced the IT industry.
To address the needs of the market, numerous global corporations have already created a plethora of revolutionary green products, including electric and hybrid cars, solar panels, cloud computing platforms and numerous power-saving solutions.
Most importantly, this industry is constantly evolving, making most of these options available to ecology enthusiasts.
However, what are the latest innovations in this field and how will they influence ecology in the future?
Biodegradable Materials in Green Computing
As it is one of the fastest-growing industry fields, computing has become a significant aspect of numerous ecological initiatives, most famous of which is probably the Energy Star Program, introduced by the Environmental Protection Agency.
Their main aim to raise environmental awareness, decrease the level of e-waste and create powerful and yet energy-saving devices.
To support such initiatives, numerous tech companies have made massive improvements when it comes to green computing. One such example is Asus notebooks and laptops from the Bamboo series. When this Taiwanese tech giant first released these products, the public was shocked.
What most of us didn’t know back then is that, as one of the most durable materials, bamboo has the strength that can rival steel. Most importantly, its ability to regenerate itself upon harvesting makes it a perfect renewable source and the most logical substitute for plastic.
The company combined a minimalist and yet classy bamboo frame with the high-end hardware configuration, creating an eco-friendly and light-weight device with the downright sexy looks.
Similarly to Asus, Lenovo joined the International Sustainable Development Foundation program and developed with its “greenest” L Series laptops. Even though such eco-friendly innovations in IT are optional for now, they are expected to become an industry standard in the years to come, raising the green computing to a much higher level.
Wood-Based Chips Reduce E-Waste
Have you ever wondered what happens to all those broken cell phones and computers we throw away every day?
According to some recent stats, roughly 41.8 million tons of electronic waste was generated worldwide just in 2014. The same study also points out that only 15-20% of all e-waste is being recycled regularly. To address this rising problem, numerous projects have been undertaken in the last few years.
One such example is a scientific research done by a group of engineers at the University of Wisconsin in 2015. Namely, they created a biodegradable computer chip by processing wood into transparent nanocellulose paper, which can be used as a substitute for plastic and silicon. The inventors point out that the chips made of alternate materials could effectively address the problem of e-waste that is rapidly accumulating. Most importantly, they can perform just as well as gallium arsenide-based chips that are most commonly used in consumer electronics.
Cloud Computing Saves Energy and Trees
Today, we have transferred almost every segment of our lives to the digital landscape. We pay our bills online, make purchases on e-commerce platforms, communicate in real-time via instant-messaging apps and store our sensitive private and work-related data on cloud.
However, in order to understand the potential of cloud computing when it comes to improving our environment, you need to look at the big picture.
- Saving energy. The recent research emphasizes that, if all businesses in the U.S. moved their workflow to cloud, they would save their computing energy by 87%.
- Preventing deforestation. Did you know that an average of 18 trees is cut down for every 10 employees every year? Given these pretty disturbing digits, it’s not surprising at all that 42% of all global wood harvest is used to make paper. By implementing cloud technologies with other ecological solutions, businesses will manage to save tens of trees every year and, most importantly, raise their employees’ awareness of this issue.
- Reducing pollution. The implementation of cloud technologies can also decrease the need for paper and printers and, in this way, significantly reduce pollution. Namely, paper represents the third largest industrial polluter. While toxic chlorine-based bleaches are used in paper production, methane is emitted when it starts rotting. The same goes for toner cartridges, which emit a wide range of cancerous pollutants such as dioxins and polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbons.
People usually believe that environmental awareness is a fairly new concept. To realize that this is not true at all, you just need to remember that the majority of revolutionary green innovations, such as windmills and electric taxis, were designed in the past.
What we can conclude from these examples is that technology and ecology have always gone hand in hand. And, with the rapid rise of green technology solutions, the bridge between these two fields is getting stronger day by day.
Our goal is to keep pace with these changes and adopt them as soon as possible.
About the author
David Webb is a Sydney-based business consultant,online marketing analyst and a writer. With six years of experience and a degree in online business strategies, he is driven to help people to better understand this new digital age. In his free time, David enjoys writing, travelling and an occasional night out with his friends. You can find him on Facebook and Twitter.