Concerns over the Internet’s carbon footprint are growing exponentially with the ever increasing demands of energy for the soaring online industry. The costs of maintaining and serving the billions of web pages on the Internet are rising and has swollen carbon emissions by 10-percent each year, to a level that’s overtaking the air travel industry.
Apparently a study by Rich Brown— energy analyst at the Lawrence Berkeley National Lab in California, for the US environmental protection agency, revealed that US servers consumed a whopping 61 billion KWh of energy in 2006. That’s quite enough to supply the whole of the UK for two months …
Among the first to take action, the largest Internet giant— Google, have been trying to contain the rising electricity costs and to lower their own carbon footprint by adding their own datacenters. And although Google have spent $2.3 billion to develop sustainable technologies and infrastructure, they’re not sure if the balance is in their favor. “You have exponential growth in demand from users, and many of these services are free so you don’t have exponential growth of revenue to go with it,” says Urs Hölzle, VP of operations.
So, are we in danger of getting things out of control? Because at the staggering rate of growth we’ve seen online in the last few years, unless something is being done to reduce the carbon emissions of these servers, the generated environmental degradation is only going to mount.