Green computing refers to the idea that the computers, computing and the online world can be more ecological friendly, employing green energy which does not contribute to carbon in the atmosphere, and using non-toxic materials to manufacture the computing devices themselves. Energy sources for computers and computing functions are derived from renewable sources of energy.

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One vision of this is the collection of servers and other workhorses of the computing world being housed in a remote location which is close to a supply of renewable energy (Kurp, 11). There is a belief that much of the world’s energy resources are being wasted by using the national power grid system, rather than dedicated energy sources which are ecological friendly and more affordable to run the online systems that everyone uses (Kurp, 11). This is particularly true of data centers and other intensive computing sites (Kurp, 11). One report states that “The approximately 6,000 data centers in the United States, for instance, consumed roughly 61 billion kilowatt-hours (kWh) of energy” (Kurp, 11).

In addition to green energy, what computers are made of should become more environmentally friendly, with a focus on recycled and recyclable materials. Green computing, and the ideal nature of moving towards that goal has been discussed for at least a decade, however little is being accomplished to achieve this vision on a grand scale. While many would argue that computers, in comparison to the previously paper based world, are already achieving some energy and recycling efficiencies, there is a great opportunity to dramatically lower the energy use and carbon footprint of technology by systematically applying these concepts. The result would be cost savings while saving the environment from the potentially toxic and non-recyclable materials currently used in computer technology, despite the rapidly changing, and constant obsolescence of computers, laptops, tablets, smartphones and other equipment used today.

  • Kurp, Patrick. “Green computing.” Communication of the ACM 51.10 (2008): 11-13.