Future Lies in Using Renewable Energy Essay

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As the climate heats up causing problems and consequences globally (Murugesan, 2010). A new spotlight has shifted to information technology companies for a solution and problem (Murugesan, 2010). Businesses and governments are trying to balance growth with environmental risk, which has encouraged IT companies to make their systems and work practices more eco-friendly to address environmental problems (Murugesan, 2010). Green IT is the practice of using technology more efficiently and environmentally conscious (Murugesan, 2010). The environmental impact of the manufacturing process and the disposal of the products we consume is becoming a growing concern in the current world. This has raised the issue, what are organisations doing to combat our harmful habits? The demand and technological advancements of technology have increased the product lifecycle, since these devices become obsolete in a matter of years, as we replace them with new ones (McCabe, 2009).

Many manufacturers like Apple, Google, and HP are continuously investing in developing energy-efficient devices, reducing the number of dangerous materials with more environmentally friendly materials to encourage recyclability (McCabe, 2009). Apple has agreed to power its data centers with renewable energy to have a sustainable future as so adding “All final assembly sites for their devices are certified Zero Waste to Landfill” in their 13th annual Supplier Responsibility Report (McCabe, 2009). Conserving billions of liters of water and reducing greenhouse gas emissions (Apple, 2019). Google stated they will reach 100% renewable energy for their global operations, purchasing renewable energy, allowing Google to offset the carbon footprint and addressing the issue of climate change making their data center 50% more energy efficient than their competitors (Hölzle, 2017). HP announced its vision for print sustainability, making every page printed with HP support a forest-positive future, transforming the way that products are developed, utilized, and recovered as it shifts its business model to a sustainable operation (MacKenzie, 2019).

The demand for smartphones has increased the supply of electricity, forcing companies to have pledges and sustainability reports to lower the impact on our environment (Greig, 2019). Many tech companies have changed their operations to promote awareness of the environmental impact of their business and how they are trying to offset their environmental footprint (Greig, 2019). The environment is the most concerning issue the world faces today, rising the question has been raised, what can IT companies do to limit the amount of pollution they are causing in their operations (Creel, 2010)? This is where Apple, one of the leading computer and electronic companies can make a difference (Creel, 2010). Apple products are designed to reduce the environmental impact through a design using less raw material and more recycled components without toxic elements (Creel, 2010). Apple has pledged to power its data centres with 100% renewable energy to have a sustainable future (Greig, 2019). Apple's 13th annual Supplier Responsibility Progress Report stated “All final assembly sites for their devices are certified Zero Waste to Landfill, conserving liters of water and reducing greenhouse gas emissions (Apple, 2019). Apple has also worked with its suppliers to conserve resources, and adopted safer chemicals in their production process to reduce pollution (Apple, 2019).

Apple’s entire product line contains no lead, beryllium, or arsenic (Creel, 2010). Lead can enter the water supply and have damaging effects on human health (Lenntech, n.d.). Apple has also addressed the issue of water pollution with their implementation of the clean water program expanding to 116 suppliers, resulting in 7.6 billion gallons of water saved in 2018 (Apple, 2019). This is caused when the water is contaminated and this is the very reason why water treatment systems are required to carry out pH testing in drinking water (Lenntech, n.d.). IT companies like Apple should be mindful of how they produce and dispose of their products as lead can enter the drinking water supply, as a result, Apple has completely phased to lead from its displays (Landy, 2016). Emphasis has been placed on suppliers to reduce the greenhouse emissions emitted by their suppliers this has resulted in more than 466,000 metric tons of emissions moved from our atmosphere (Apple, 2019). Beryllium is a copper alloy that is used for connectors and springs as it is stronger than steel but lighter than aluminum (Landy, 2016). It has its side effects as it can cause problems to the lungs for workers who come into contact with the product (Landy, 2016). Arsenic was an element that was previously implemented in their products, Apple says its displays have been arsenic-free since 2008 (Landy, 2016). Arsenic has been tied to cancer as it can lead to serious health implications if exposed over a long period (Landy, 2016). The prioritization of zero waste to landfill has resulted in 1 million tons of garbage being diverted from landfills by changing the manufacturing process it has significantly reduced waste and pollution (Apple, 2019).

Sustainability is one of Google's core values and over the years Google has reduced the carbon footprint of their operations. Alphabet, the parent company of Google is leading the way with solutions for the transition to a clean energy future (Greig, 2019). Google has pledged a carbon-neutral operation on all consumer devices by using recycled plastic for its packaging by 2020 (Foster, 2019). Google has committed to ensuring the manufacturing and distribution of its products becomes a sustainable and environmentally friendly enterprise (Foster, 2019). Google has made major progress with three of its nine products utilizing recycled plastics in the hopes of neutralizing carbon emissions by 2020 (Foster, 2019). Google is also offsetting our wasteful habits by making its campuses around the world more sustainable (Bastone, 2019). Over the years Google has strived to make its offices environmentally friendly, with offices in over 160 cities and more than 98,000 employees, google's carbon footprint is astronomical (Bastone, 2019). Google has come up with a plan to cut down on waste like food waste, car emissions, and growing their produce (Bastone, 2019). In 2017 Google announced that they would reach 100% renewable energy for their global operations, this includes data centers and offices (Hölzle, 2017). As technology companies are under scrutiny over the carbon footprint of their operation it has become more incisive to invest in renewable energy (Vaughan, 2016). This would lock in prices for Google lowering the cost option in the long run for renewable energy (Vaughan, 2016). Google is one of the first corporations to implement a large-scale contract to acquire renewable energy directly from the distributor (Hölzle, 2017). This was a voluntary decision to become carbon neutral, they intended to take responsibility for their carbon emission and to raise awareness of the environmental solution within the information technology industry (Hölzle, 2017).

Google implemented three methods for reducing its carbon emissions (Hölzle, 2017). First, they minimized their energy consumption by making their data center 50% more energy efficient (Hölzle, 2017). Secondly, Google is purchasing renewable energy to offset the carbon footprint and address the issue of climate change (Hölzle, 2017). Google has signed its first agreement to acquire all the energy from a 114-megawatt wind farm in Iowa (Hölzle, 2017). Finally google purchases carbon offset for emissions that they cannot directly eliminate, where they pay someone to reduce their greenhouse gas emission to a measurable and specific amount (Hölzle, 2017). Currently, Google is the largest buyer of renewable energy to acquire 2.6 gigawatts of solar and wind energy (Hölzle, 2017). Over the six years, the price of renewable energy has decreased dramatically, the significant price drop has made it more feasible for the corporation to adopt renewable energy as it would be the lowest cost option (Hölzle, 2017).

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Google is committed to renewable energy as they have invested $3.5 billion in 20 new power plant projects, significantly impacting the environment as data centers consumer 3% of the world's energy and it is increasing as we become more dependent on technology (Bressa, 2016). This has forced Google to find more efficient cooling for their servers to allow them to operate at the optimum performance (Gao, 2016). At Google, their data centers generate a lot of heat and this is where most of their emission occurs trying to cool down their servers (Gao, 2016). This heat must be removed to allow the servers to operate at the optimum temperature (Gao, 2016). This is where industrial equipment is used such as pumps, chillers, and cooling towers (Gao, 2016). Due to the fast-changing environment, traditional methods of cooling are starting to be phased out as the traditional methods cannot quickly adapt to internal changes and surges in demand (Gao, 2016). To address this problem Google has implemented machine learning allowing their data centers to be more efficient (Gao, 2016). Google has partnered with DeepMind researchers to significantly improve the system's utility (Gao, 2016). This was accomplished by using historical data that had already been collected by sensors within the data center (Gao, 2016). Google was able to train the system through numerous scenarios for the system to process creating a more efficient and adaptive operating system (Gao, 2016). This allowed the system to monitor and adjust to the fast dynamic and optimize efficiency (Gao, 2016)

HP announced its vision for print sustainability, stating that every page printed with HP will help support a forest-positive future (MacKenzie, 2019). In 2016, HP all their paper is not associated with deforestation, nearly two years ahead of their planned schedule (MacKenzie, 2019). Furthermore, HP is taking an ambitious step to offset its harmful operation by using recycled paper packaging before 2020 that is not sourced from forests affected by deforestation (MacKenzie, 2019).

HP’s longstanding commitment to sustainability has been showcased in its new vision to make its business portfolio environmentally friendly by using materials designed to reduce the carbon footprint (MacKenzie, 2019). Transforming the business to a more sustainable model allows HP to create a good impression for our community (MacKenzie, 2019). HP is changing the way its products are developed, utilized, and recycled as it shifts its business model to a sustainable operation. Working with their suppliers they are reducing the global impact at every stage of their production process. HP’s vision continues with their objective to deliver carbon-neutral offerings with the release of their new efficient HP LaserJet A4 printer and Eco Smart black toner, which consist of a lower melt temperature, reducing the energy consumption of HP printers (MacKenzie, 2019). The production of this new technology allowed customers to emit less carbon emission, reports have shown a 33% reduction in energy consumption and cost (MacKenzie, 2019).

HP has implemented a circular economy where they keep resources in use for as long as possible and extend the longevity of the products for maximum usage (MacKenzie, 2019). The implementation of closed-loop recycled plastics has dramatically reduced waste as recyclable materials are transformed and repurposed into new products (MacKenzie, 2019). HP lines of printers implement closed-loop recycled plastics comprised of 30% recycled plastic (MacKenzie, 2019). Since 2000, over 199 million pounds of recycled plastics have been utilized in 3.9 billion ink and toner cartages (MacKenzie, 2019). HP has also utilized 550,000 pounds of ocean plastic for use in their products which would have ended up in our oceans and waterways (MacKenzie, 2019). This commitment to sustainability guides other companies on how they should do business in the future MacKenzie, 2019). HP looks to expand its market in its industry without increasing its consumption of raw materials and thrive with the implementation of recycled materials in its manufacturing process, moving to a positive future (MacKenzie, 2019).

As businesses and governments try to balance growth with environmental risk, it has encouraged IT companies to make their systems and work practices more eco-friendly, addressing environmental problems (Murugesan, 2010). In recent years businesses are increasingly becoming dependent on technology, we are constantly using technology and connected to servers 24/7 (McCabe, 2009). The demand and technological advancements of technology have increased our product lifecycle, as we dispose of old devices and replace them with new ones (McCabe, 2009). Manufacturers like Apple, Google, and HP are investing in developing energy-efficient devices, reducing the number of dangerous materials. Apple has pledged to operate its data centers with 100% sustainable energy to have a sustainable future and make all final assembly sites for their devices certified Zero Waste to Landfill (McCabe, 2009). In their 13th annual Supplier Responsibility Progress Report, saving billions of litres of water and reducing greenhouse gas emissions (Apple, 2019). Google will reach 100% renewable energy for its operations, purchasing renewable energy allows Google to offset its carbon footprint and address the issue of climate change making its data center 50% more energy efficient than its competitors (Hölzle, 2017). HP has committed to making every page printed forest-positive and carbon-neutral (MacKenzie, 2019). The aim is to protect the world's forests, reduce carbon emissions, and use more recycled products (MacKenzie, 2019). HP's vision for print sustainability, making every page printed with HP will pursue a forest-positive future, reinventing how products are developed, used, and recycled as they shift their business model to a sustainable operation (MacKenzie, 2019). IT companies have major initiatives to make their products/services more environmentally friendly by providing recycling programs to dispose of old devices (McCabe, 2009)

Bibliography

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