Green energy is the future and many companies are looking at ways to reduce their carbon footprint, but we should not forget to focus on reliability in the push towards a more carbon neutral existence.
As the world has become ever more digital, it is easy to fall into the trap that modern businesses have less of an impact on the environment than those of yesteryear, when offices relied more heavily on paper and physical mail services.
However, in reality we are somehow using more paper now than ever before, with the average Brit using 4.48 trees of paper each year, and our reliance on computers, smartphones, and tablets continues to push up energy consumption – Jevons paradox coming true again.
Moreover, as we move to the cloud, we now rely on huge datacenters to store our files, and these use up huge amounts of electricity both to keep the harddisks spinning and to keep the location cool.
Advancements in green technologies have meant that the cost of generating power from carbon-neutral sources such as solar, wind, and wave continues to fall. And Governments are investing in large-scale projects to take advantage of the natural landscape around them, with the UK proposing a series of tidal lagoon power plants and Iceland already able to generate 85% of its energy from hydroelectric and geothermal sources.
A number of datacenters around the world advertise themselves as carbon neutral and aim to only use electricity from green sources. While they are laying a path to the future, the 24/7 nature of datacenters mean that they need to have infrastructure, such as portable backup generators and temperature control systems, ready to save the day (and data) whenever there is a planned or unplanned outage.
Photograph by Christian Reimer