The problem of energy-oriented Internet

Human’s activities have severe impacts on the environment such as GHG emissions, climate changes, global warning and dimming, pollution… The energy-consumption and the resource exploitation increase day by day. Nowadays we are consuming the resources faster than the earth regenerate and because of that several measure must be taken in order to reduce the energy consumption, GHG emissions and cost.

ICT energy consumes 7% worldwide produced electrical energy. This energy is needed to provide power consumption of equipment and for manufacturing (routers, switches…). The exponential increasing of the Internet traffic and the number of Internet users make the energy consumtion bigger. Moreover,  the powering  for ICT devices  and their cooling indirectly emits 3% world’s GHG.

Life Cycle Assessment and direct and undirect impacts must be taken into account to assure that the solution does not fall into the rebound effect (increase energy efficiency reduce the cost and as a consequence the demand increase, so the GHG emissions increase too). The solution is the usage of renewable energy: green energy sources (solar, wind, tide and geothermal) have to replace dirties (fossil-based fuels and nuclear plants).

As you can see in the next figures, the surface area required to power the world with solar panels or wind mills is much smaller than the surface area required to compensate CO2 emissions with reforestation areas.

What can we do?

Lots of things we can do in order to reduce the energy consumption and GHG emissions: sensibilize people, governments and industries,  avoid wastes decreasing the demand,  develop energy-efficient architectures, energy-aware algorithms and protocols….

  • Energy-Efficiency. Technology designed to reduce the equipment energy consumption without affecting the performance: do more for less.
  • Energy-Awareness. Intelligent technology which adapts its behavior or performance based on the current working load. For example screensavers or automatic turn off.
  • Energy-Oriented infrastructures. Energy-Efficiency and Energy-Awareness in a holistic, sustainable and systemic approach with smart grid power distribution network and entire life cycle assessment. As you can see in the next figure, follow-the-weather paradigm (follow-the-sun, chase-the-wind, follow-the-moon) minimize energy consumption, GHG emission and cost.

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