We’ve become accustomed to the most common ways to reduce energy in our homes and at work, including using more public transportation, turning off the lights in unused rooms, replacing light bulbs with energy efficient LED bulbs and CF bulbs.
In the last couple of years I’ve been paying more attention to my energy consumption and finding ways of reducing my carbon footprint. One big consumer of energy are data centers, and as our applications and devices push more of the processing to the cloud, I expect that usage to increase year over year dramatically.
A few years ago it was found that data centers were expected to consume 19% more energy in 2012 than 2011. This is likely a trend that will continue, and addressing this is one good way for some data centers to differentiate themselves.
There are other non-intuitive things you can do to reduce your energy footprint in the cloud. This includes hosting your web services with a company that actively reduces energy usage through heat reduction in their data centers and using more efficient server power supplies like here, in 1&1.
Other things you can do that may be intuitive for us geeks, but not for all our friends and family is to adjust the power management settings on their PCs and laptops to aggressively reduce energy. In Windows XP, Vista, 7, 8 there are advanced settings to turn off the screen or reduce screen lighting a little, to turn off the hard drive if not actively loading/saving files. Here’s a video for Windows 7 that walks you through changing these settings.
What additional, non-intuitive things can we do to reduce our energy usage?