Computer Science
Green Information and Communications Technology Strategies


Computer Science
Green Information and Communications Technology Strategies

Unit 1: Politics, Science, and Business of Sustainability

Seminar: Green ICT Strategies

Green ICT (green IT or green computing) is the study and practice of using computers and telecommunications in a way that maximizes positive environmental benefit and minimizes negative impact. Energy efficiency of equipment is a major concern of green ICT, but the energy embodied in the equipment—the use of materials and how they are recycled—are also important concerns. Green ICT seeks to guide technology implementation in support of business using accepted management practices.

What are the key concepts and terms discussed here? Hint: they will often be introduced in italics and/or as a hyperlink. Take time to enter your definitions, or refine/comment on existing definitions in the Student-created Glossary.

  • Bring examples from your own experience and practice to illustrate these concepts.

Green ICT is an emerging discipline that is philosophically rooted in a concern for sustainable development. It seeks ways to implement sustainable development through ICT systems. ICT equipment has a direct environmental impact, and it can be used to reduce the adverse impact of other systems. Typically, green ICT considers ways to use ICT to reduce the use of materials and energy, for example, by replacing travel with electronic communications.

What are the effects, both negative and positive, of ICT? How much are these are currently considered when choosing computer equipment? How will this change with carbon trading and mandatory reporting of CO2 emissions?

In most organizations, ICT is only a business enabler. As such, how much do ICT professionals need to know about the business aims of the organization to help facilitate green ICT? Does anyone in the organization understand how the many components of the ICT system of the organization (servers, application, network maintenance, email) contribute to the organization′s carbon footprint and waste material contribution? An organization may measure its ICT operation in terms of dollars spent, person hours of effort, lines of code generated, GFLOPS, or gigabytes of storage. What metrics would be useful for measuring an organization′s environmental impact?

Understanding Climate Science

Sustainability includes social, economic, and environmental concerns. Climate change and global warming provide a good case study of this. Specifically, climate scientists expect a long-term significant increase in the average temperature around the world. The Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) has reported that during the 20th century, the temperature had been increasing due to rising greenhouse gas concentrations, an increase most likely attributable to human activity (anthropogenic).

The major anthropogenic greenhouse gas is carbon dioxide (CO2). Concentrations of carbon dioxide have been increasing due to the burning of fossil fuels and deforestation.  Most relevant to ICT is the burning of fossil fuels such as coal, oil, and natural gas in electricity-generating power stations—electricity which is used to power computers and telecommunications.


Critical Thinking

Do some online research to answer these questions:

How is anthropogenic global warming related to the Industrial Revolution?

What is the difference between cradle-to-grave and cradle-to-cradle thinking about sustainability?

Where would you stand on a continuum between the two approaches?

Add a glossary entry for these concepts and/or post your observations to the General Discussion Forum.

An increase in average global temperatures is expected to cause the retreat of glaciers, a reduction in Arctic ice, and a rise in sea level, resulting in flooding. It is also expected to change regional weather patterns, increasing rain (precipitation) in some areas, reducing it in others, and increasing the number of storms (extreme weather events). Such changes are likely to result in changes in agriculture and water supply and lead to the extinction of certain species.


The two major responses to global warming are to reduce greenhouse gas emissions and to adjust human activities to accommodate this reduction. The primary international agreement on combating global warming is the Kyoto Protocol, which aims to stabilize greenhouse gas concentrations. The primary method envisaged for implementation of the treaty is emissions trading, with companies purchasing emission credits to use in a market, within a limit set by government.

Last modified: Thursday, 29 May 2014, 10:46 AM MDT
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