How Cloud-Based Software Can Power Every Home in Virginia
Can cloud-based data centers reduce enough energy to power every home in Virginia for one year? In a recent case study conducted by the Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory and Northwestern University, researchers developed a user-friendly, open access model to determine the impact of cloud software on energy efficiency and emissions nationwide, the CLEER Model.
The CLEER (Cloud Energy and Emissions Research) Model was applied to U.S. businesses, assessing the potential energy and emission savings if all businesses adopted the cloud-based software. The researchers identified email, productivity software and customer relationship management (CRM) as the most commonly used application by businesses; thus having the highest potential to reduce energy consumption and emissions.
According to the model, if businesses nationwide switched their email, productivity software and CRM to cloud-based systems, the nation could experience saving as much as 87 percent. That reduction is equivalent to 23 billion kilowatt-hours, which is enough to power every home in Virginia for one year!
The study does acknowledge that the potential saving do not take into account economic, infrastructure, temporal, institutional, or policy barriers that may disrupt real world application and savings. Nevertheless, researchers are hopeful that the open access, fully transparent model encourages businesses and users to carefully consider the net energy implications of cloud-based software services.