Cloud computing could help businesses cut greenhouse gases

Cloud computing could help businesses cut greenhouse gases

Cloud computing can save businesses substantial amounts of money in terms of energy costs, a new study has found.

Researchers from Harvard University found that organisations implementing cloud technology stand to save just over $2.2 billion (£1.43 million) a year.

The study, entitled The Enabling Technologies of a Low-Carbon Economy – A Focus on Cloud Computing, examined the energy savings and greenhouse gas (GHG) abatement potential across 11 countries, including Brazil, Canada, China, France, Indonesia and the UK.

It found that due to cloud computing being 95 per cent more efficient, just one ton of GHG created as a result of such an approach leads to 20 tonnes being reduced.

A total of 11.2TWh in energy will be saved each year if 80 per cent of public and private organisations in each of the 11 countries featured in the study were to convert to a cloud system.

Dr Peter Thomond, who led the study, explained: "The findings show, contrary to the perception of power hungry data centres, that the energy efficiency of cloud infrastructure and its embedded carbon outperform on-site services by an order of magnitude. And that is only with these three applications – there are hundreds more."

Such an amount is around 75 per cent of the energy consumer in the Belgian capital of Brussels, or 25 per cent of the power used in London.

It is also the equivalent of saving up to 4.5 mega tonnes of carbon dioxide emissions each year, or by taking up to 1.7 million cars of the roads.

Despite the positives highlighted by the report, it claims that there are still a number of obstacles preventing cloud technology from being widely adopted.

One such hurdle is the uncertainty from national policy-making, including the Carbon Reduction Commitment, implemented by the UK government.

“Few government policies genuinely embrace the enabling potential of the ICT sector treat it more as part of the problem and less part of the solution, and government intent and targets are often neither clear nor justified,” Dr Thomond added.