The global pandemic has led to a temporary reduction in CO2 emissions as many industries were shut down, people stayed at home, and energy consumption patterns shifted.1 However, as countries begin to ease their lockdowns, the issue of CO2 emissions and their potentially catastrophic effect on climate change will once again be under the spotlight.
“As companies adapt their businesses to tackle the aftermath of the pandemic, they must also examine their carbon footprint and how they can reduce it”
The IT industry, which includes mobile devices and cellular networks, accounts for more than 2% of global emissions.2 This puts it on a par with the aviation industry, which produced 915 million tonnes of CO2 in 2019.3 But while many people and companies have tried to reduce their air travel in order to minimise their carbon footprint, we haven't yet seen such a widespread trend affecting the activities that expand the IT industry's footprint.
Acknowledging the Elephant in the Room
Not only is the rising carbon footprint of the IT industry driven by developing technologies such as IoT, it's also being accelerated by changes in consumer behaviour. As more and more online content is consumed in video form, this uses up significantly more server performance and storage space.
While the simple act of watching a YouTube video is a relatively small source of carbon emissions compared to other activities, reducing the carbon footprint caused by increased media streaming is something that the IT industry needs to proactively address.
There are already a number of global corporations that have pledged to achieve carbon neutrality over the next few years. This goal cannot be achieved without taking IT into account, which inevitably will change the demands placed on IT infrastructure. The carbon emissions from IT equipment arise mostly from energy consumption during operation, but also from hardware manufacture. The way that the electricity is generated is absolutely key, though this is something that is largely beyond the control of the IT industry. However, businesses within the IT sector can and must address these emissions. And while the Cloud is considered by some to be a solution, it is merely a displacement of the problem.
Addressing the IT Industry’s Carbon Footprint
One of the businesses aiming to tackle the problem of carbon emissions in IT head-on is Prime Computer*. The Swiss hardware manufacturer aims to be sustainable and is lowering its carbon footprint with the development of fanless mini PCs and servers. Traditionally, the processor and graphic card have the greatest energy requirements in a PC or server. Prime Computer only uses Intel® NUC Pro Boards for its mini PCs, gaining a number of energy-saving benefits.
These ultra-low power CPUs, powered by Intel® Core® U-series processors with onboard graphics offer outstanding energy efficiency. As well as offering optimal performance, they can be cooled completely passively, reducing energy consumption even further. The NUC Pro Boards are also extremely reliable and are able to withstand higher temperatures than conventional motherboards. Fewer failures mean fewer devices need to be replaced. This saves natural resources and produces less unnecessary waste and CO2.
In these cloud-centric times, the efficiency of servers is becoming an increasingly important factor for more sustainable IT. Using Intel® Xeon® D-2100 Series processors enables Prime Computer to deliver a completely passively cooled server. As a result, its PrimeServer Pro uses significantly less power without having to compromise on connectivity or performance.
As companies adapt their businesses to tackle the aftermath of the pandemic, they must also examine their carbon footprint and how they can reduce it. And Prime Computer is one of a range of companies that is using Intel-powered technology to tackle the problem.
*Other names and brands may be claimed as the property of others