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Cloud Computing Helps Reduce Carbon Footprint

Research has found that the rise of cloud computing could have a positive environmental impact and help reduce the IT industry's massive carbon footprint, which is estimated to account for 2 percent of the world's total carbon emissions.

Cloud computing is internet-based computing in which resources, software and information are shared between computers on demand rather than being stored on a separate server.

The shift to cloud based virtualized operations will surely mean a decrease in the commercial real estate needed to house large enterprises.

The adoption of cloud computing could lead to a 38 percent reduction in energy usage in the world's data centers by 2020. Due to the growth of cloud computing energy consumption will decrease from the current rate of 201.8 terawatt hours to 139.8 TWh in 2020, which equates to a 28 percent reduction in greenhouse gas emissions.

IBM has launched a new energy efficient data center that, in turn, lowers the carbon footprint of clients who use it for “cloud computing.”

The data center, in Research Triangle Park, N.C., can continuously read temperature and relative humidity throughout the operation, adjusting cooling in response to changes in demand. This reduces annual energy costs by 15 percent.

The data center, which is of modular design, has some other eco-friendly features, such as:

- A reflective roof that reduces solar heat.

- Rainwater collection system.

- Use of low-sulfur fuels to reduce emissions from backup generators.

- Energy efficient lighting technology on timers.

IBM has applied for LEED Gold certification for the facility, which was constructed using 20 percent new materials from recycled products. During construction, 95 percent of the original building/shell structure was reused and 92 percent of construction waste was recycled.

The data center can provide its own backup power in case of an outage, and it has tanks to hold 150,000 gallons of chiller water to keep equipment cool in such situations.

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