Is your search killing the planet?

Is Search Killing the Planet?

Everytime you search on Google etc., you are adding to the consumption of 1% of the world’s energy

by Idris Mootee

Apple Data Center

Here is a lesser-known fact. Data centers use up tons of energy just for cooling, and in a typical data center only 40-45% of energy use is for the actual computing – the rest is used mostly for cooling down the servers. Data centers’ emissions of carbon dioxide have been running at around one third of those of airlines, but are growing 10% a year and now approach levels of entire countries such as Argentina or the Netherlands.

Apple is building its own server farm. Apple has secured a $300 million tax cut from North Carolina politicians in exchange for investing $1 billion over nine years for a so-called technology "hub." Wonder why Apple needs such a big server farm? There’s only one reason, Apple is contemplating a large-scale strategic shift to deliver multiple applications as a service on an enhanced Apple device, which I think will be entertainment related.

Back to the energy saving topic, here’s one of the greenest data centers on earth which will be housed in a massive cave beneath an orthodox Christian cathedral in Helsinki. It is a former bomb shelter carved into the rock by the fire brigade in World War Two as a refuge for city officials from Russian air raids. Excess heat from hundreds of computer servers will be captured and fed into the district’s heating network, a system of water-heated pipes used to warm homes in the city. This makes perfect sense and I don’t see why these server farms need to be in California. Should we move all our servers to Scandinavia, Northern Canada and Alaska?


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