Energy Savings And The Internet

Energy Savings And The Internet
I have always harbored a feeling of apprehension when approaching the subject of the Internet. I am a late-bloomer in the world of computers. I have used a personal computer that is not connected to the Internet, for word processing purposes for four years. At first I found this experience to be frustrating. Then frustration gave way to acceptance and even enjoyment at the ease of my paper writing assignments. I think the Internet is too influential and pervasive. I fear for our privacy, but that is another subject. When I discovered the Internet was actually having a positive impact on the environment, I had to concede that maybe it is not purely evil.
I have begun to see the promise of the future of worldwide communication. With this new perspective, that the Internet does have a positive influence on society, I can compare it to guns. They are both tools and tools are as good or as bad as the people using them. If you are a compulsive gambler or shopper, for instance, the Internet makes these activities convenient, but you would no doubt find a way to satisfy your craving regardless. People who publish false information on the Internet would do the same in print, however, with a little caution and discrimination you can weed out unreliable sources.

The energy saving capacity of the Internet is that people can stay home and still communicate. This Allows people to conduct business, shop, send mail, get an education and work without leaving home. All these activities performed at home reduce the use of transportation which causes a fuel savings. Oil is a finite resource. This also lowers the amount of carbon dioxide emitted. We all know carbon dioxide is one of the leading greenhouse gases Gable 2 that is contributing to global warming. The United States is one of the leading producers of carbon dioxide. It has long been said that computers and the Internet would save trees through reducing the amount of paper used for communication, catalogs, business records, etc?I recently saw a news story about the fear of bio-terrorism through the mail. This is motivating people to use e-mail. Businesses are also promoting electronic billing for the same reason. Electricity is also saved because the amount of office space used is reduced. The energy cost of heating and cooling these spaces is eliminated. Even though computers use electricity they are becoming more energy friendly by reducing the amount of energy used when turned off. Gable 3 These new computers have an energy saving logo on them. Also as the amount of e-commerce increases, the amount of warehouse space decreases because it is no longer necessary to stockpile inventory.

Another important factor in this equation is that this has a positive effect on the economy and in our society this is unfortunately sometimes considered the most important factor. The following is an excerpt from my Environmental Science text book: "Energy savings are coming from an unexpected source, the Internet. On-line shopping, working from home, computers (telecommuting), business to business Web sited and e-mailing all are reducing energy costs substantially. With fewer catalogs, and much less retail and warehouse space needed, there will be savings on paper costs, fuel for driving, and construction and heating and cooling costs for businesses, to name a few. A study by the Center for Energy and Climate Solutions ?The Internet Economy and Global Warming: A Scenario of The Impact of E-Commerce On Energy And The Environment?, published in 2000, suggests that the Internet will eventually bring about a 4.5 billion-square-foot reduction in commercial spaces, an energy savings worth 21 power plants per year and through paper savings alone, a reduction of 10 million tons of carbon dioxide per year.
Essentially, the American economy will be able to continue to grow without corresponding growth in energy consumption". Another way the Internet can have a positive effect on the environment is by doing what it does best, and that is to make Gable 4 information available to millions of people in an instant. You can find recycling information about your area on the following web site ? I found a two page article about environmental information resources on the Internet that lists 53 sites on various concerns about our environment from Usenet, which is an excellent place to stay abreast of recent happenings and find topical discussions. The author says he focused on Usenet newsgroups in his article but included a url to a broader overview of environmental information sources on the World Wide Web. Having an informed public is vital to the progress of environmental protection. Being aware that a problem exists is the key to finding a solution. We all know how important information is in making prudent decisions. When people vote or go about their daily business it is better for all concerned, if they are making informed choices. Bringing environmental issues to light and suggesting practical solutions the public can implement is invaluable to the health of our environment. There are, however, a couple of issues of concern. One is getting information to people that don?t have access to the Internet. Human population growth is probably the key reason for all our present day environmental problems. Population growth remains unchecked in developing countries. One of the solutions is education; of females especially. Gable 5 I also feel that the computer contributes to a loss of physical interaction with the environment. Lack of exercise is a major health risk. If we lose contact with the out-of-doors we may become complacent and lose our desire to defend it. Many people think we can simply sit back and let scientists ?invent? our way out of environmental disaster.

We still use a large amount of paper by copying information Gable 6 from the Internet onto paper and word processing almost always ends in a paper document. Many businesses still use paper documentation as a back up and for billing purposes. The issue of greatest concern is that the waste from the manufacture of computer chips creates some nasty stuff we have a hard time disposing of without harming the environment. One ibm plant in Endicott, New York has taken steps to reduce this toxic waste. This plant develops and manufactures sophisticated electronic circuit boards and chip carriers for its own needs and for sale to other computer companies. Circuit board production is based on photolithography and requires a complex series of chemical, mechanical and electronic processes. Raw materials include copper, epoxy, various chemical solutions for plating, etching and stripping of metals and photosensitive films, water for rinsing and energy to provide process heating, cooling and ventilation.
The entire process generates significant amounts of wastewater and hazardous waste. A major part of the production is copper plating. This operation requires several multi-step series through different tanks and chemistries to achieve the desired results. The older process produced waste and scrap caused by ?drag-out? of chemicals from one tank to the next and by the inadvertent plating of copper onto the racks and fixtures holding the product. Large volumes of evaporative waste were also produced from the open tank design used for plating, etching, rinsing and drying the circuit components. The improvement implemented at IBM?s Endicott plant in 1996 consists of a new copper plating process referred to as the Thin Panel Plater (tpp). This more efficient and less polluting Gable 7 process supplanted the older acp technology for many of IBM?s circuited products. Specific environmental benefits include the following: Ø Rinse waters reduced by 75 percent or 30,000 tons per year. Ø The total waste reduction from plating bath efficiency is estimated to be 60 tons per year. Ø Reuse of spent micro etch bath reduced waste by 55 tons per year. Ø Toxicity reductions were achieved by converting a previously hazardous and corrosive activator bath to a neutral activator chemistry. Ø Toxicity reduction was achieved by electrifying a plating bath, which enables use of lower concentrations of copper, hydroxide and formaldehyde. Ø Energy savings of more than 500,000 kwh were realized as a result of conveyer efficiency. I am left wondering how much waste was produced to begin with, how much is still being produced and how are they disposing of it? We are not talking about insignificant amounts (60 tons per year, etc?). I also wonder how many plants have converted to this new environmentally friendly method? Do the pluses outweigh the minuses? I think we probably about break even. In conclusion, I would like to say that I have found the Internet to be a useful tool and a good source of information. That being said, I will still reach for a book before turning on the computer. Perhaps it is because I was born before computers Gable 8 became a household appliance. My hope for the future is the sustainability of all our resources; if computers can help us to achieve that, then so be it, but we cannot forget they do not exist without negative environmental impacts as well as Positive ones.

Energy Savings And The Internet 8.6 of 10 on the basis of 1815 Review.