The Green Cloud
Data centres consume roughly 3% of all globally generated power, accounting for more greenhouse gas emissions than the airline industry.
Edge technology is greener by design. First, it reuses hardware we’ve already spent the Earth’s resources to create – laptops, desktop PCs, mobile phones and set-top boxes can all be leveraged for spare capacity. That means dedicated servers for hosting infrastructure can be a thing of the past, as can the buildings and energy supply they relentlessly demand.
Second, the Edge Network is all around us. This reduces the distance between data storage and data consumption, diminishing the energy required to send it. It's the network under our noses – rather than the one that makes us choke on its emissions.
Data use and storage is growing exponentially, and with current statistics showing that only half of the world's population is connected to the Internet, it is estimated that by 2040, storing digital data is set to create 14 percent of the world's emissions. This amount is equivalent to the same proportion emitted by the USA today – 5,130 million metric tons of carbon – and has significant consequential impacts for climate change (Climate Home News, 2017; Springer Link, 2020).
By enabling sharing capacity across existing devices, Edge significantly reduces the requirement for centralised data centres and servers, removing the stored energy cost of the production of these devices. It reduces power consumption for processing and for data transmission by connecting topologically close users and providers. Edge predicts a kWh/GB saving at 58.5% versus the cloud, factoring in device and data transmission.
Edge is working to undertake a full academic study in to the carbon savings implicit in the Edge Network. This is being done in conjunction with a leading university in the United Kingdom.