Data Centers Can Harm The Environment

By: Jill Cordes
By: Jill Cordes
Almost every computer work station is in use inside the Cincinnati/Hamilton County Public Library, Wednesday, Jan. 21, 2009, in Cincinnati. The library has seen a significant increase in visitors as people are using the research material available to search for jobs and employment information. (AP Photo/Al Behrman)

Almost every computer work station is in use inside the Cincinnati/Hamilton County Public Library, Wednesday, Jan. 21, 2009, in Cincinnati. The library has seen a significant increase in visitors as people are using the research material available to search for jobs and employment information. (AP Photo/Al Behrman)

Moving data around the internet takes a lot of energy, and all the servers set up to manage the flow are having an unanticipated consequence: greenhouse gas emissions.

According to the EPA, data centers in the US doubled their energy use between 2001 and 2006, they consume more energy than the nation's tv's

By 2020, the world's data centers could top the airlines as greenhouse gas polluters.

JONATHAN KOOMEY:
In order to improve efficiency in the society, we need to improve our technology and we need to change the way we do business.

Google is one company working to improve energy efficiency. The equipment in a typical data center generates a lot of heat. So an enormous amount of energy is used to keep the building cool. Google uses an innovative process that sharply reduces the amount of energy required to air condition the data centers. And Sun Microsystems just opened a sleek new data center that uses much less electricity to power and cool the machines.


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