Green Computing: Separating Myths from the Truth

With the widespread use of computers, energy and environmental repercussions are disastrous. The IT industry contributes to around 2% of the worldwide carbon-dioxide production, which is almost the same as the aviation industry. Needless to say, Green IT practices and policies to reduce the carbon footprint are not only beneficial for the environment but also almost a necessity.

Green Computing Separating Myths from the Truth

There’s a lot of ongoing research for creating ‘green’ computers and IT components that will consume less power without any loss in productivity. However, the models produced as of yet are not cost-effective to be used commercially in a small scale. This is why many industries have begun to use a few standard procedures to reduce overall energy consumption as much as they can.

However, even if their aim is good, many of these procedures and policies are more often than not, worthless. A product of hearsay and assumptions, always have zero impact on reducing environmental degradation but do cause a loss in productivity. Here are some common myths circulating that supposedly help in green computing, but in truth are completely worthless.

Myth: Screensavers save energy

Truth: Screensavers were never meant to save energy. They came out when CRT monitors were in the fashion. But these monitors had a major drawback. If the same image was being displayed for a long period, the phosphor coating behind the screen developed a permanent change in their properties that lead to a dark shadow, popularly called “Ghost” Images to appear on the screen.

Screensavers were designed to overcome this problem. With the new LED monitors prevalent everywhere now, there is no need for them. If you want to save energy just dim the brightness of the screen when not using it or better yet, just turn the screen off. Most operating systems of today come with an option of doing this automatically.

Myth: Turning a computer on/off frequently harms it

Truth: A computer is designed to handle 40,000 on/off cycles in its lifetime. Considering an average of 5 on/off cycle in a day, a computer can easily manage 20 years without a problem. The lifetime of computers are hardly ever more than 7-8 years so feel free to switch it on/off as many times you want.

There will never be any problems. Try to make sure that you only use the computer when it is needed, that will not only be good for the environment but for your electricity budget as well.

Myth: Powering on a computer takes a lot more energy than what it consumes while running

Truth: While computers do have a power surge when switching on from off state, that is still far less than the energy consumed when they remain active for a mere 3 minutes. Keep it switched off when you are not going to use it. As a matter of fact, keeping your computer on at all times will cause its lifetime to be reduced substantially as well as increasing the energy consumption manifold.

Myth: Networks connections are lost when a PC goes into low-power/ sleep mode.

Truth: While this was an issue in the distant past, the computers of today are designed to remain connected, preventing any loss of data or connection. The CPUs are designed with Wake on LAN (WOL) technology so that they can sleep properly and wake up to receive data packets when they are sent to the unit. Just let the computer sleep to ensure optimum power efficiency.

Myth: Computers will not get software updates if they don’t remain on at all the times.

Truth: They will and most computers will do it by default. Most operating systems of today have default settings of automatically scheduling download of updates. Whenever you switch on a computer these updates will be downloaded automatically and get installed.

Even if you switch off your computer in the middle of a download, it will resume when you switch it on again without any problems at all.

While it is important to save as much energy as we can there’s no sense in following practices that have no effect on the environment at the cost of our productivity and convenience. We hope the above facts about the myths of green computing would help in making the world a better, cleaner one to live in.

About Julie Watson

Julie is a dynamic professional with over 16 years of rich experience as a VDI and Application Hosting expert. At Ace Cloud Hosting, she humanizes disruptive and emerging remote working trends to help leaders discover new and better possibilities for digital transformation and innovation by using cloud solutions with an enterprise-class security approach. Beyond work, Julie is a passionate surfer.
On the weekend, you will find her hanging out with her family or surfing around the North Shore of Oahu.

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Comments (1)

  • Rony says:

    Using screensavers is pointless now. All the modern operating systems even Windows Vista automatically turns the screen off. It actually takes more effort to set up a screensaver than it takes to get the auto screen shutdown option running.

  • Ellie says:

    I was under the impression that frequently switching a computer on/off would harm it, as it would any other electrical appliance. I had no clue about the 40,000 on/off life cycles though. A quick Google search confirmed this fact.

  • jack says:

    Green Computing is a very necessary step for this world. With so many computers all around, running literally everything from food delivery to heartbeat monitoring they are literally everywhere. If we don’t take precautions against the carbon footprint they are leaving, we might see global warming taking a much faster pace than anticipated.

  • Belly Ballot says:

    The information and communication technologies (ICTs) energy consumption, in the USA and worldwide, has been estimated respectively at 9.4% and 5.3% of the total electricity produced. It is of the utmost importance that measures be taken to decrease this consumption rate. The need for energy effective hardware is high. Companies should strive to make existing computers less energy consuming instead of using their resources in inventing new devices.

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