It goes without saying that the Internet has helped the environment a lot. Much less paper is used, there is (almost) no cost when you need to send some files to anywhere in the world, etc. However, it doesn’t mean that it does not require any energy. On the contrary, this system needs electricity, which typically comes from non-renewable sources. That is why the concept of “Green Internet” has become rather important to everyone who wants to save our planet.
Since we can’t stop using the Internet, because every alternative is much less efficient and eco-friendly, our goal should be to use as little energy, especially from non-renewable sources, as possible. If we manage to establish this concept successfully, we’ll be able to use all its benefits and consume even less energy that can’t be renewed. So, what is it that we can do?
Why do we need Green Internet?
To begin with, let’s establish why our effort is necessary. The Internet used data centers, which are responsible for almost one third of the Internet energy requirements. All those computers and servers used to store and transmit data consume a lot of energy, mainly due to their number. Statistical data show that much more energy is used now to keep the Internet running than just a few years ago. Logically, more energy consumed means there is bigger carbon emission, which puts our planet in a difficult situation. We are all aware that our carbon footprint needs to be reduced and that’s why we need Green Internet.
What is Green Internet?
As we’ve already established, there will never be a world without the Internet, but we mustn’t allow great increases in energy consumption. Instead, we should improve the current set-up to minimize greenhouse gas emission and turn even more to renewable sources of energy. This means we need hardware that uses less energy, heats less and is able to save energy. Such new, green devices should also be smaller and come with in-built cooling systems, thus leading to lower energy consumption. We should also work on harvesting even more energy from the sun, wind and water, since exploiting fossil fuels is detrimental to the environment.
How can we build it?
The task is a challenging one. We need to create Green Internet by reducing energy consumption, while at the same time facilitating the growth of the World Wide Web. Next, we really need to focus on utilizing renewable energy as much as possible. So, wind turbines and solar panels, for example, are expected to play a very important role in the future. Next, we need to decentralize power generation units by using hydrogen power plants, though many would disagree with this claim due to the dangers associated with them. Finally, it would be great to introduce battery system solutions or virtual power plants which would further help the cause.
What technologies are required to build Green Internet?
We should say that most current networks, devices and data centers don’t have power management capabilities. That means that even when there is a low level of internet traffic, consumption still remains rather high, which leads to energy being wasted. Luckily, experts from all over the world are working on solutions, such as “smart standby”, which allows unused parts of a network to be put into very low power states and, thus, save energy. A stable fiber internet connection can also benefit from “dynamic frequency scaling”, which makes sure that the system is under partial load and that parts of it can be cut off without hitting overall performance. It’s encouraging that there are efforts in this field, but we certainly need to speed up the process, since it’s estimated that we could half energy consumption provided we use these technologies.
Whose responsibility should it be?
Well, everyone’s. To begin with, telecom industries and producers of electronic devices, such as computers, tablets and mobile phones, should work in collaboration for the common goal and come up with devices with outstanding energy saving features. Such devices should be capable of synchronizing their energy-saving capabilities, while analytical models should allow designers to precisely estimate the temperature statistics of devices and work to reduce it. This is important since it would enable a reduction of the size of hardware and cooling systems, which would in turn lead to more reduction in energy consumption.
Next, there are consumers. Both companies and individuals should opt for devices that are more energy-efficient, thus putting pressure on manufacturers to continue working towards producing more eco-friendly products. Once they realize that energy-saving features matter to most clients, they’ll surely strive to meet the new demand on the market, and we’ll all benefit from it.
Finally, we have the decision-makers. Governments should help the process by offering incentives to companies producing such devices and customers buying them. This is especially true when it comes to replacing outdated hardware with new, eco-friendly alternatives. It’s a quite expensive project which would surely benefit from any financial aid, which would undoubtedly pay off in the near future.
There is nothing more important than saving our planet. We’ve already caused a lot of damage, some irreparable, that we can’t afford to continue behaving like we did in the past. Luckily, scientific and technological breakthroughs have made it possible for us to continue developing without jeopardizing the planet too much. However, we’re still not doing enough.
Raising awareness about the importance of environment protection should be everyone’s priority. When enough people realize that we don’t have a spare planet to live on, we might expect things to improve. Until then, those who understand the importance of preserving the environment need to continue working hard to improve the quality of everyone’s life, while those who still believe that people concerned about the state of our planet are exaggerating should be given clear and undisputable evidence of our wrongdoings. Green Internet is something that we can all benefit from, which makes it extremely important to our future.