source: 9to5googleYour Data is Using a lot of EnergyElena MoraisBlockedUnblockFollowFollowingFeb 6All the data collected on users and saved in the cloud is having a big impact on the environmentIf you begin to look into the amount of data created each year, you’ll quickly find a statistic that at first look seems over used and outdated: 90% of data ever created was created in the last two years.
Due to the exponential rate of data creation this has been true for decades (if you want a better explaintion check this out).
Every click, search, shared link, and like is a new data point that companies are using to better predict what you want.
In 2017 alone, it was estimated that 2.
5 quintillion bytes of data were created each day (that’s about 2.
5 billion GB a day).
This data includes pictures uploaded and from connected devices in homes.
Domo, a could-based operating system, creates a “Data Never Sleeps” infographic about once a year.
They do a great job at listing popular sites that we interact with on a daily basis.
How does data have a carbon footprint?All of this data has to be stored somewhere and data centers are that place.
In 2014 the US Department of Energy estimated there were 3 million in the states alone — that’s about 1 data center for every 100 people.
Data centers vary in size, but the tech giants like Google, Facebook, Apple, etc.
have opted for large scale, energy intensive facilities.
Facebook has recently announced plans to have a more distributed system to better accommodate users’ needs — which may have a positive impact on their efficiency.
Typically there are a few basic necessities of all data centers: Computer Room Air Conditioner (CRAC), servers, network gear, storage, Uninterruptible power supply (UPS), Air Handlers, chillers, humidifiers, Lighting, office area, and a few other items which vary.
All of these components add to the energy intensity of data centers.
In 2017, the indusrty used 200–300 terawatt hours (TWh) of electricity a year and currently account for about 3% of total carbon dioxide emissions.
This use is only expeced to grow.
What’s being done?There has been a lot of work done to update these systems and improve efficiency.
Data centers are being fitted with new servers and hardware that stay cooler and go on standby when not being actively used.
With these updates cooling becomes a smaller issue — according to Google they only use air conditioning 36 hours a year.
Another option is using the environment outside to cool.
Lights in the spaces can be updated to LEDs, and the use of more widows/natural light is another great alternative.
A big area of focus is on the energy source itself.
Most data centers at this point are getting energy from at least one source of renewable energy — 83% of Data Center Knowledge respondents said they currently use or plan to use solar.
This year google announced that it would be building two of the largest solar farms to power its newest projects in Alabama and Tennessee.
Below is a map of all of their data centers world wide.
The red markers represent these two new facilities.
Google’s data center locations world wide created using follium and Giphy Capture.
What can I do?Depending on what you do for a living your impact can vary.
However, a first big step is getting rid of data junk or data waste.
Those files you have that you haven’t touched since 2012 are a prime example — especially If they’re sitting in cloud storage.
A program is considered to be highly efficient when the software code is written in a short, effective way, thereby avoiding redundant calculations that waste CPU power.
— Stephen SchmidtAs a developer, you can improve efficiency by writing cleaner code.
This has a bigger impact on code used by companies.
According to Stephen Schmidt from the Guardian, “a program is considered to be highly efficient when the software code is written in a short, effective way, thereby avoiding redundant calculations that waste CPU power.
”Professionally another area to consider is the data stored.
The issue with data junk is everywhere.
Although more challenging at the enterprise level we need to be considering if all the data stored is being used or is needed.
Right now it seems that data is being collected for literally everything, but with time we will hopefully be more selective about the data stored.