Building a Green Internet and Becoming Renewable Energy Friendly

The internet has not only become a consistent aspect of our daily lives, but is swiftly becoming an integrated part of today’s economy. The role that the internet plays in today’s society is growing by the day and will soon be doing things such as driving our cars, and even may alter the way we experience watching TV.

While the abilities of the internet may seem never-ending, the use of it for more tasks results in the need for growing amounts of data. The introduction of cheaper smartphones on the market means that internet usage and traffic from mobile devices will be greater than that which occurs over wired connections. The ever-growing rate of video streaming to mobile devices has increased by 69% in 2014 and is expected to keep increasing at this rate until 2019 at the earliest. In 2014, the total number of online users reached 3 billion, and the amount of mobile broadband subscriptions are predicted to reach 7.6 billion by 2020.

Although there are major benefits that online activities bring in energy efficiency, the extensive growth of our virtual lives is acting as a counterbalance. Publishing companies collectively use more energy from their data hubs than they would in their printing establishments. It was estimated by Greenpeace that in 2011 the average electricity demand caused by our digital systems in 2011 would have achieved a global ranking of 6th amongst countries. The swift movement to the use of video streaming concepts, together with devices such as tablets and other devices that displace traditional device storage with cloud storage facilities, leads to a widely growing demand for bigger data center capacities – which in turn requires more energy.

The changeover to online distribution models (for example, video streaming) seems to lead to the scaling down of the carbon footprint as opposed to traditional models.

However, some cases may counteract this decrease, as the transition may result in significantly higher levels of consumption – and therefore more electricity consumption, along with the pollution that is a result of electricity generation.

Unless major internet companies can find a different method that deflects the use of tradittional sources of electricity that produce pollution, the benefits of online streaming could lead to a total increase of our carbon footprint.

“If having the audacity to rely on grid power now puts a company at risk for public shaming, then the day is coming when every company’s energy usage will be viewed through a moral filter – similar to how its labor practices and foreign investments are viewed today.”

The Internet has the Potential to, and Should Be Green

The internet has already made drastic improvements in the lives of many and has opened up vast opportunities to the world. It is possible that it will play a significant role in the establishment of sustainable economic growth. It is, however, imperative to implement renewable energy methods as soon as possible in order to prevent detrimental climate change,

Fortunately, major companies such as Facebook, Google and Apple have made formal commitments to being completely powered by renewable energy. The commitments of these companies to renewable energy has promoted the use of renewable power in many significant markets – an increasing number of utilities have started to move their investments to renewable energy in order to keep up with the new demand.

Large data center operators and internet establishments have started to look at opportunities for increasing the supply of renewable energy. Colocation data centers are lagging far behind this initiative, however they are looking into options to best enhance their ability to supply renewable energy, due to customer requests that their clouds be powered by renewable energy.

“An energy efficient facility is good, but a 100% renewable energy facility is better”

Preventing the Concept of Green Internet

The only major energy providers in many important data centers happen to sell electricity that is generated mainly by coal, and makes little use of renewable energy. These utilities tend to compel major new investments in data centers. Significant examples of these utilities include: Taiwan Power Company in Taiwan, Duke Energy (North Carolina, USA) and Dominion Resources (Virginia, USA) and have established electricity tax in order to be able to supply renewable electricity as an option for their major customers. However, this initiative has not been very successful because of inaccurate design and locked-in price premiums – even though this option is on par with, if not ahead of conventional methods of generation.

These companies have defined the most major elements that are preventing the formation of a green internet, and will need co-operation from both data center operators and other consumers of electricity to apply pressure for policy adjustments, and to free the market up to other competitors that will provide relevant renewable energy options.

Key Findings Based on the Greenpeace Global Green Internet Report

Apple has remained the leading company in changing to renewable energy, even as the corporation rapidly develops. The three data expansions that was publicised recently are to be powered by renewable energy. Apple is also majorly influencing colocation suppliers in keeping up with making progress towards its complete renewable energy objective.

Colocation companies have remained in a lagging state and are really behind consumer data center operaters in finding renewable energy opportunities to power their actions. Equinix’s commitment to 100% renewable energy and providing of renewably hosted facilities is an important step in the right direction.

Google has matched Apple in establishing renewable energy with its development in certain markets. However, its moves towards 100% renewable energy sees ongoing obstructions by monopoly utilities for data centers including such in Taiwan, Singapore and North and South Carolina.

Amazon’s implementation of a complete renewable energy target is lacking in standard transparency. It also does not seem to be steering Amazon’s investment choices to renewable energy as opposed to coal, unlike the commitments of Facebook, Google and Apple.

The swift increase of video streaming is causing major enlargement of our online footprint, as well as in data centres that are greedy for power and the online infrastructure that is required to supply the energy.

Microsoft has fallen significantly behind Apple and Google in implementing green internet strategies. Its cloud footprint has consistently grown rapidly while trying to keep up with the likes of Amazon, however has not been able to retain its pace with Apple and Google regarding its provision of renewable energy.

Data center operators have committed to renewable energy objectives, and will need to majorly increase their actions in working together to influence policymakers for adjustments that will allow them to bring in the use of renewable energy, while defeating the opposition of monopoly utilities.

IoT Can Provide a New World of Global Resource Sustainability

The Internet of Things (IoT) is a concept that suggests that everyday appliances will be able to connect to networks and exchange data or information.

The uses of such technology are endless, but particularly will provide valuable information regarding climate and environmental circumstances, businesses and individuals alike. It will provide monitoring and insights on how to make effective use of the world’s restricted available resources and many other situations.

Benefits in Urban Areas

The use of IoT will empower both businesses and governments to effectively plan and strategize the use of non-renewable resources such as water and coal. There is talk of sensors to be placed in transporting pipes from water reservoirs which will detect leakage within the pipes, and therefore minimize water waste by up to 30%.

IoT will also assist energy providers in tracking grid operations and thereby maximise the use of renewable energy locations while reducing the need for fossil fuel backup plants.  The use of IoT in the energy industry could also result in the reduction of Co2 emissions by over 9 gigatons by 2020.

Cities with IoT installed will have optimum energy usage of lighting in streets through both environmental monitors and dimmable lighting features. They will also play a part in the reduction of car fuel consumption, using sensors and thereby allowing the automation of adjusting of timings in traffic lights, in order to prevent traffic congestion on a real-time basis.

Residential and Commercial Benefits

IoT open up windows in energy-saving in both appliances and lighting. Using remote control of thermostats enable residents to plan ahead for unexpected changes in circumstances by manually changing temperatures in different areas of the home.

Thermostats and security systems that are internet-enabled (such as Nest and ADT Security devices) are able to efficiently memorise the daily routines of those living in the building, which provides not only convenience for the inhabitants but will contribute to energy-saving as well.

The connecting of household appliances with the IoT technology will provide those using it with direct information of their energy usage and will hopefully promote more enviromentally-aware decisions and actions.

Furthermore, lighting systems that are interconnected, as well as motion detectors and outdoor sensors, smart windows and blinds will optimize buildings’ rate of energy use for lighting purposes. When used in conjunction with each other, these devices will be able to regulate the building’s consumption of energy based on the usage of the residents, as well as the state of solar and weather circumstances.

Low-end IoT temperature trackers, that are combined with narrowband connectivity technology that uses little energy (which is offered by companies such as NWave Technologies), will be able to locate areas in buildings where hot or cold spots could be removed using non-direct energy-conserving materials (ie. sealants and insulation); or adaptions to zone HVAc systems could be made. A network that works similarly to this is moisture sensors, which are currently being used and save vast amounts of water in irrigation systems.

Global Environmental Tracking Benefits

Presently, the monitoring of the world’s climatic conditions are hindered by inconsistent sensing and monitoring devices and systems. The replacement of these systems by more consistent, affordable IoT devices, will lead to more sensor networks that will be able to provide data streams and can be accessed online from various locations to environmental researchers. The data will be sent in real-time and will be mapped with easy integration with other online information, that will help to provide more precise and reliable data of global climate activity.

For example, IoT devices could provide more accurate measurements of rising levels in emissions of CO2 and methane, as a result of permafrost that is melting. Sensor networks, on a more significant scale, may be able to improve the recognition of environmental occurrences and hazards including fires, volcanoes, hurricanes and droughts.

The use of IoT technology in homes, governments businesses and energy generators  will contribute significantly to energy and water conservation. As IoT becomes more popular, it is very likely to provide ground-breaking insights into the effects of our daily activities on the sustainability of the earth’s resources. This heightened awareness is vital for making highly important adjustments to the worldwide usage of non-renewable resources.

New Environmentally Friendly Product can Provide Water, Power and Internet Access

A company by the name of Watly has set a goal to provide a set of imperative resources (clean water, power and internet access) to developing countries.

Watly has described the invention to be the “biggest solar-powered computer in the world”. The product has been developed with a composition of solar photovoltaics (PV) and battery banks in order to power it (as well as for charging other external devices), including a water filtration framework and a telecommunications and internet access centre. Watly is planning to provide these hubs to local residents in various countries with a framework that allows for establishing connections to 3G and 4G, satellites, radio link data systems and the ability to transmit information between other Watly units.

The Watly development has been worked on for a few years to date. The Discovery Channel has taken a huge interest in the project and ran a pilot program in a village in Ghana. The 2.0 version succeeded at providing clean water to the citizens.

The steps forward are to develop the Watly 3.0 system version, which will be the full-sized model at 40 meters long, and is anticipated to have the capacity to deliver up to 500 liters of water each day for a minimum of 15 years. It is also planned to provide solar-powered electricity and charging facilities to up to 3000 people.

The company claims that a single unit would be able to counteract the outpouring of 2500 barrels of oil throughout the 15 years, as well as to deliver drinkable water and an energy-renewable power source.

In order for this to be possible, Watly has launched an Indiegogo campaign that is striving to raise enough money for the establishment of the 3.0 version as a pilot project in Africa (no specific country has been identified as yet).

Although the progressive company has received funds from the European Union Horizon 2020 scheme, one Watly 3.0 product will cost roughly double that of what their original Indiegogo target of $75, 000 is. However it has a “formal commitment from a philanthropist” for the rest of the money needed.

The initial unit would deliver only clean water for roughly 750 people, however, the reaching of the stretch goal of $3255 000 will result in clean power and connectivity parts that will be added to develop a complete Watly system.

According to Watly, “We could not design a modern solution and not think about integrating these three elements altogether. The beauty is that these services can be generated by exclusively harvesting solar energy. We provide clean water by leveraging the thermal effect of the solar irradiation. Through photovoltaic technology we generate electricity. With electricity we can power internal telecommunications devices (for satellite or 4G connection). Watly provides multiple services because each one is the consequence of the other.”

The water filtration part of the project makes use of a ‘vapor compression distillation’ procedure and can successfully remove the salt from sea water. It can also effectively remove the presence of pathogens and pollutants from water without using filters – which hasn’t proven to be as effective and is more costly. Watly says that their innovation is “the most effective and powerful method of water purification and desalination available”. It is also a functional off-grid option as it is powered only by solar energy.

Furthermore, Watly is working on a 5 liter tank for the transportation of water from their systems to homes. Portable LED lights are also being developed that are able to be charged at the Watly units and be used not only as a source of light but as a battery bank.

A complete Watly system is said to encompass all these components, featuring 2000 tanks of water and 1000 LED lights fitted into four 40’shipping containers and will be able to be set up in the preferred area in approximately 4 days. Further additions are said to potentially include a port on which drones may land, a UV sterilizer, 3D printer, web cameras and more.


9 Tips and Tricks for a Longer Lasting Phone Battery

In today’s world, it is becoming imperative to have our cell phones charged and accessible at all times. However, we all know the feeling you get when you take out your phone to send an important email and discover that you are unable to due to low battery.

The following tips and tricks will help to prevent similar scenarios in the future:

Turn off Wi-Fi and Bluetooth. Having these settings enabled means that your device will be constantly searching for Wi-Fi/Bluetooth signals, which will lead to faster draining of the battery. Switching off these setting will not only spare your battery life, but may also enhance the quality of the connection to the network you are using.

Do not use the “auto-update app” feature. Modify your settings to prevent your device from automatically update apps at unnecessary times leaving your battery to drain. Instead, manually select the apps that you wish to update at a better time.

Disable auto-brightness: The brighter the screen, the more battery life will be used.

Consider using the Do Not Disturb (Or Sleep) Mode. Using this setting at night will not only preserve battery life, but will stop text clink notifications from disrupting your sleep.

Disable your location-tracking setting. Enabling your location to be tracked uses up a lot of battery power as you may have given many of your apps permission to view your location. Turn this feature off when your battery gets low, unless it is really needed.

Choose Push Notifications Wisely. An overload of ping notifications will drain your battery, and can also be highly annoying.

Limit any special animated effects. Use these features sparingly if you are wishing to conserve your battery life.

Set the auto-lock feature to lock your screen as soon as possible. The sooner your screen locks, the longer you battery is likely to last.

Use Airplane Mode Frequently. It does not necessarily have to be used when flying. Not only will this feature prevent unnecessary apps and settings from running, but your phone will also charge faster when this feature is enabled.

15 Tips to Help save Power When Using Air Conditioners

Air conditioners are said to potentially be one of the biggest causes of power failures during the summer season. It is best to not set your air conditioner to too low a setting, as it adds an unnecessary load to the system. 24°C is a comfortable temperature and will not put too much pressure on the power system.

Adhere to these further suggestions to encourage a power crisis-free season.

  • Make sure that all your windows and doors are properly sealed.
  • Clean your air conditioner’s filter once a month.
  • Replace your windows with tinted glass.
  • Use air conditioners without the automatic temperature setting.
  • Keep the regulators at a “low cool” point.
  • Use your ceiling fan together with your window air conditioner in order to circulate cool air, without setting the air conditioner at too low a temperature.
  • Ensure that there is a decent amount of space between the walls and your air conditioner to encourage air circulation.
  • Roof gardens are effective alternatives that take some pressure of off air conditioners.
  • Set your thermostat to a temperature that is as high as possible, while still being comfortable, during summer. A small difference between indoor and outdoor temperatures will result in less energy consumption.
  • Do not attempt to set your thermostat at a lower temperature in conjunction with using your air conditioner as this will not make cooling any more effective and may end in immoderate cooling.
  • Make sure that there are no lamps, TV sets or other appliances that generate excessive heat as your thermostat may sense the false temperature and cause your air conditioner to operate for longer than needed.
  • Plant trees, flowers and shrubs in order to provide shade to air conditioning units – but do not block the airflow. A unit that runs in the shade can use as much as 10% less power than one that is situated in the sun.



Amazon Aims to Power its Global Infrastructure with 100% Renewable Energy

Amazon Web Services, also known as AWS, has presented a plan describing an 80-megawatt solar farm to be located in Accomak County, Virginia.

It will become the largest solar farm that is functioning in Virginia, while generating 170 000 megawatt hours of solar power every year that will be driven into the electrical grids which provide power to AWS cloud datacentres in the eastern and central areas of North America.

The Virginia solar farm forms part of AWS’ bigger objective to use complete renewable energy to power its global infrastructure.

The cloud services provider announced its plans in January for a wind farm in Benton County, Indiana. It is anticipated to supply 500 000 megawatt hours of wind power every year.

AWS also professes to operate in three carbon-neutral areas: the US GovCloud, US West in Oregon and EU in Frankfurt.

However, even though it boasts significant commitments to renewable energy, AWS is still highly condemned – particularly by Greenpeace, an environmental awareness organization, for its failure to provide proof of its energy consumption and methods for sourcing renewable energy.

Amazon’s energy timeline does happen to be much less transparent than those shown by companies such as IBM, Apple and Google. Amazon has yet be publicly committed to a renewable energy deadline, after the dates that were set for the wind and solar farms.

According to a blog post by AWS cloud chief Jeff Barr, the company has, however, expressed that it is aiming to have its infrastructure on 40% renewable power by the end of the year. Thus far, around 25% of the power that is used within its world wide data centres is being provided by renewable energy sources.