‘Green computing’: not an oxymoron

I’m conscious about the footprint I leave on the environment and am always interested in ways to reduce it further. This applies to both my everyday life and my work (I use a green web host). As a freelancer who works mostly from home, I don’t have to worry about a carbon-emitting trip to and from an office. However, due to this and the fact I write copy for websites, I rely on having my computer on nearly all day, every day.

So, I was interested to read Leo Hickman’s article, ‘How green is your computer?’. It provides some interesting background to the efforts that computing giants such as Google and Intel are making to reduce the effects of computing on the environment. The article leads in with some research on the carbon generated every time someone runs a Google search. While the results appear to be in dispute currently, they do make you think. I don’t know about you, but I often find it all too easy to just sit at my (small, clean, quiet) laptop without really thinking about what’s powering it.

I joined up to the Clean Energy Project some weeks ago (you may have seen the Tweet if you follow me on Twitter). This project harnesses the power of idle computers around the world to carry out calculations that will help to identify organic molecules for efficient solar cells. By sharing this task and using computers that are already on, emissions are reduced significantly. Something similar in the UK is the government-funded GRID Computing Now! initiative.

Other interesting organisations (both US based) include the Climate Savers Computing Initiative and Greener Computing, which is an environmentally-responsible computing news site. I’ve had a look for some similar organisations closer to home, but with no luck.

However, here are some other resources that might be of interest (although there’s not much out there that’s very recent). If you know of any other useful sites or articles, send ’em over.  Do you have any tips  for other freelancers or people working from home? Send them too!

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