Green IT and IT for Green are two terms that are often used but rarely differentiated! In the world of information technology and technology, they are used to describe practices that aim to minimize environmental impact, but that’s where things get complicated! Although these two concepts are often used interchangeably, the difference between them is very real!
What is Green IT?
Green IT refers to the set of practices that aim to minimize the environmental impact of information technology and technologies. This includes the design of hardware and software that reduces energy consumption and environmental impact. But that’s not all! Indeed, Green IT also encompasses numerous good practices. Green IT aims to make the IT industry more sustainable by reducing its impact on the environment.
To delve deeper, Green IT can be divided into three distinct points:
Green IT 1.0
Mainly aimed to reduce energy consumption and carbon emissions from information and communication technologies (ICT). Some examples of Green IT 1.0 practices include server virtualization, data center consolidation, use of recycled materials in IT equipment, power management of electronic devices, and putting inactive equipment on standby.
Green IT 1.5
This is an evolution of the Green IT 1.0 approach towards a broader consideration of environmental issues related to ICT. Some examples of Green IT 1.5 practices include using renewable energy to power data centers, managing the lifecycle of equipment, optimizing data management to reduce storage-related consumption, and using eco-designed software.
Green IT 2.0
This approach includes a holistic view of environmental, social, and economic issues. It aims to reduce the impact of ICT on the environment while creating value for organizations and society as a whole. Some examples of Green IT 2.0 practices include incorporating circular economy principles by maximizing the lifespan of equipment through reuse, recycling, and repair, eco-designing products by considering environmental impacts throughout their lifecycle, and reducing the carbon footprint of cloud services.
For instance, here a few examples of Green IT solutions :
- Qarnot: Digital heater, where heat generated by servers warms spaces
- Cleaq: IT asset management software and rental of refurbished IT equipment
- Ecosystem: Second life for digital equipment
- Joulemeter: Optimization of energy consumption in devices
- Stratosfair: Local data center with a positive impact
What is IT for Green?
IT for Green, on the other hand, refers to the use of information technology and technology for the benefit of the planet. In practical terms, when we talk about IT for Green, we think of:
- BurnMonitor: Early detection of forest fires
- Sweep: Tool that tracks greenhouse gas emissions of companies
- Sopht: GreenOps platform for decarbonizing organizations’ IT
- Deepki: Assisting companies in the environmental transition of their real estate portfolio
- Lactpis: Commercializing the only bio-based and completely biodegradable plastic polymer
IT for Green means leveraging technology for the environment without falling into techno-solutionism, which we will discuss shortly!
In conclusion, Green IT aims to minimize the environmental impact of information technology and technology, while IT for Green aims to use these technologies to support environmental initiatives. It is important to understand the difference between them in order to better target your efforts if you are looking to make your IT more sustainable. After reading this article, you won’t be confused anymore!
Techno-solutionism: The answer to all issues?
First and foremost, it would be incorrect to claim that technological solutions are always beneficial. It is important to emphasize that technological advancements can lead to significant financial and environmental costs. Moreover, techno-solutionism can result in individual and collective shirking of responsibility in the face of social, economic, and environmental problems. Instead of seeking to understand the underlying causes of these problems and finding collective solutions, it can be tempting to rely on technology in the hope that it will solve everything.
Furthermore, techno-solutionism can overlook the social, cultural, and political aspects of problems. Technological solutions do not always take into account cultural differences, political conflicts, or social inequalities that can impact the implementation of these solutions.
The example of the concrete industry in France
Greenhouse gas emissions per ton of concrete have remained stable in France. However, according to the International Energy Agency, the average carbon intensity of concrete has increased by nearly 10% between 2015 and 2020. Nevertheless, the industry remains convinced that new carbon storage processes will be effective, and it continues to promote upcoming technological innovations as the key to the future.
We believe in the capacity of technology to support the ecological transition… However, this can only be envisioned with an awareness of the social, cultural, and political aspects.
At Sopht, we created a GreenOps solution that is the perfect way to help the environment, update your digital infrastructure and improve your finances all at once. Because going green isn’t just about being environmentally conscious; it’s about saving money, too. We offer multi-cloud monitoring to rationalize your infrastructure and related costs by measuring and comparing your different Cloud Providers environmental efficiency. Our IT asset management services allow you to consolidate, organize and pilot all data related to your IT inventory (laptops, screens, smartphones, routers…) to better amortize your carbon and financial footprint. This helps us understand how your users are interacting with their devices so that you can better manage your IT assets and plan for decarbonization.
Contact us for a demo of our new end-to-end platform.