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Industry Insight

Going Green Two Sides Fast Fact #7


By Richard Romano
Published: May 14, 2012

WhatTheyThink's Going Green has joined forces with Two Sides to help address the “perceptions” that paper destroys forests, that electronic media are “greener” than print and paper, and that recycling is the solution to all environmental ills. According to a study by Jonathan Koomey at Stanford University, “Electricity used in global data centers in 2010 likely accounted for between 1.1% and 1.5% of total electricity use.  For the US that number was between 1.7% and 2.2%.” Why should you care? Now, admittedly, that doesn’t sound like an awful lot, but electricity generation inevitably comes from the burning of fossil fuels, which have a whole host of  environmental impacts at nearly every stage of the process, from extraction, to production, to consumption. And it’s a safe bet that more of our lives will be spent online and in social media (or via apps, one “hint” of what could be a post-Google Internet), which means even more demand for data center capacity—and ergo more electricity required, and even more ergo, more electricity consumption. Oh, and then there’s Maude: the cloud, which is promising to play an even greater role in our online lives, which means even more demand more data center capacity. Rinse, lather, and repeat. This is why some of the “sustainable data center” initiatives I occasionally cite in Going Green are going to be important—everyone is looking at the sustainability of print and paper through a microscope; we need to do the same to electronic media. For more Two Sides facts see www.twosides.us/mythsandfacts.

Please offer your feedback to Richard. He can be reached at richard@whattheythink.com.



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