Green computing or green IT, entails environmentally sustainable computing. According to an article that was published by San Murugesan (Harnessing Green IT: Principles and Practices), the author defined the field of green computing as "the study and practices of modeling, producing, using, and discarding of computers, servers, and related subsystems—like monitors, printer, storage devices, and networking and communications systems-efficiently and effectively with minimal or no effect on the environment (Murugesan, 2008, p, 29)

The aims of green computing are the same to green chemistry and which largely entails the reduction of the usage of dangerous products, capitalize on energy efficiency during the life time of the product , and enhance the recyclability/biodegradability of defunct product and factory waste. This paper will focus on how green computing lowers the environmental impact of computers and the risks related to green computing.

How green computing lowers the environmental impact of computers

Energy conservation

According to US department of energy, data center significantly uses energy, between 1% and 2% of the world’s total energy consumption in 2010. The Advanced Configuration and Power Interface (ACPI), an open sector standard, makes it possible for the operating system to regulate the power-saving aspect of its underlying hardware (Ganesh, Unhelkar, B., & Information Resources Management Association, 2011). This enables the system to electronically switch off parts like monitors and hard drives a prolonged periods of inactivity. Moreover, the system might hibernate, where majority of the components (like the CPU and the system RAM) are switched off. ACPI is a successor to an initial Intel-Microsoft standard referred to as Advanced Power Management, which enables the computer’s BIOS to regulate energy management duties. Certain programs enables the users to manually regulate the voltage supplied to the CPU, which lowers both the quantity of heat emitted and electricity used. This procedure is called undervolting. Certain CPUs may automatically undervolt the processor based on the load of work. In summary, green computing makes it possible for better consumption of energy.

Longevity of Product

Several analysts have pointed out that PC manufacturing process makes up 70 % of the natural resources used in the life cycle of a PC. As a result, the greatest contributor to green computing usually is to prolong the lifetime of equipments (Neelam,2015, p, 1958). A report from Gartner pointed out that product prolonging the lifetime of equipments might be done or achieved through upgradability and modularity.” A case in point is production of new PC and which would make a much bigger ecological footprint when compared to the production of a new RAM module to upgrade an already existing one. Product longevity goes a long way in ensuring that components like PC are not disposed of when their lifetime comes to an end.

Terminal servers

Terminal servers have continuously been used in green computing. When using the system, users in a terminal link to a central server; all of the real computing is carried out on the server. However, the end user experiences the operating system on the terminal. These may be joined with thin clients, which consumes1/8 of the total energy of a normal workstation, hence leading to decline in energy costs and consumption (Neelam,2015, p, 1960). Examples of terminal server software are, Terminal Services for Windows and the Linux Terminal Server Project (LTSP) for the Linux operating system.

Algorithmic efficiency

The efficiency of algorithms has an influence on the quantity of computer resources needed for a certain computing function and there are wide efficiency trade-offs with regards to writing programs. As computers have become many and the expenses of hardware have reduced relative to the cost of energy, energy efficiency and environmental effect of computing systems and programs has received increased attention.

Risks related to green computing

Cost issues

Adopting or shifting to green computing may cost huge sums of money hence making it impossible for majority to switch to using it (Donnellan, Sheridan, and Curry, 2011, p, 39). Huge sums of money is required to upgrade or purchase machines which are more advanced or are environmental friendly. Green computing is very expensive since it requires firms and individuals to have the latest technology to tackle the issue of disposal process.

Experimental stage

Green computing is still in its infancy stage hence no one really knows what its future would look like. Researchers are still testing it and best it might be put into use. As a result, people are skeptical about its use and its benefits since it has not been successfully tried and tested for quite some time (Nagata, and Shoji 2012).

Rapid changes in technology

Technology keeps on changing by the day and as a result, it would require green computing to keep on adjusting to ensure that it keeps on with the latest innovation or technology. Such a process would be cumbersome and tiresome for people to keep up with hence in the long run green computing might prove to be less effective and beneficial.


Donnellan, Brian, Charles Sheridan, and Edward Curry.(2011) “A capability maturity framework for sustainable information and communication technology.” IT professional13.1: 33-40.

Ganesh, K., Unhelkar, B., & Information Resources Management Association. (2011). International journal of green computing (IJGC): Volume 2, issue 1, June-May 2011. Hershey, Pa: IGI Pub.

Neelam, M. B. (2015). The Advantages and disadvantages of Green computing. Journal of Basic and Applied Engineering Research, Volume 2, Issue 22 pp. 1957-1960.

Nagata, S. and Shoji O., (2012)“Green Process Aiming at Reduction of Environmental Burden,”
Fujitsu Science and Technology Journal, Vol. 41(2), pp. 251-258.

San Murugesan (2008), “Harnessing Green IT: Principles and Practices,”
IEEE IT Professional, pp 24-33

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