Energy-efficiency in Digital Technology

Instant communication is now standard for everyone across the globe, using a small, portable handheld device. It’s hard, in this era of smartphones, to imagine a time when communication was limited to letters, telegrams, and phone calls through fixed line telephone systems.

The amount of data we transmit nowadays is staggering. Our always-connected culture, where we want to communicate instantly, and stream music and video over the Internet instead of purchasing physical media at a store, has increased our bandwidth needs exponentially. The net effect of all that data consumption is increased electricity usage, which in turn requires a bigger load on energy grids.

Energy efficiency has been a goal in computing for a while now, and that same efficiency is evermore important in an era of rapid communications growth. Older technologies only scale efficiently up to a point before they run out of capacity, and it is more important than ever to design technology that makes the most efficient use of energy.

Green communications technology is not just a buzzword among armchair eco-warriors — it’s an absolute necessity for sustainable future growth.

Energy Star is perhaps the biggest name in energy efficiency in the realm of consumer electronics. They started as a US government-sponsored symbol in 1992, to provide a voluntary energy efficiency labelling system for electronics manufacturing. Their business is energy efficiency, and they have expanded their reach far beyond electronics. They now apply their ratings to businesses, homes, economy, and the environment. In the face of climate change and dwindling natural resources, their work is more important than ever to ensure the most effective use of energy.

Similar certification programmes can also help to ensure greener communications for the present, and the future, so that we may communicate with the lowest possible cost to the environment in the present.