“The cloud,” an online form of computing that provides digital storage and streaming services, may be intangible, but its environmental footprint is not.
That’s because it’s backed by computer data centers, facilities filled with servers and powered by electricity. And while some of that electricity comes from renewable sources, a portion of it still comes from coal.
Data centers in the U.S. have risen in number, but their energy use is fairly steady, thanks to increased efficiency. The growth of data centers in China have also prompted efforts to make them more cost and energy efficient. And tech giants such as Google, Facebook and Amazon have taken steps reduce their energy consumption, both in terms of their data centers and their supply chain.
But carbon offsets, coal-generated electricity and lack of consistent renewable energy are all issues tech companies will have to deal with in order to make the cloud more “green,” according to Wired’s Klint Finley.
What is the current state of data center energy consumption? What steps can tech companies take to mitigate climate change and make the internet more green in 2017?