Consumer Technology movingtocloud

Published on June 13th, 2013 | by Joshua S Hill


Moving To The Cloud Could Save 23 Billion Kilowatt-hours Of Electricity

June 13th, 2013 by  

A study conducted by Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory and Northwestern University and funded by Google has found that moving common software applications used by US workers to the cloud could save 23 billion kilowatt-hours of electricity, approximately enough energy to power all the homes, businesses, and industry of Los Angeles for a whole year.

The report (PDF) identified three common businesses applications which could be moved to the cloud: email, customer relationship management (CRM) software, and productivity suites.


“We can’t fly by the seat of our pants when it comes to assessing sustainability. We need numbers – hard data — to properly analyze how cloud computing compares to how computing is done now,” said Northwestern’s Eric Masanet, lead author of the report. “Well-thought-out analysis is especially important with new technology, which can have unforeseen effects. Our public model allows us to look forward and make informed decisions. What we found overall is that by hosting services on the cloud as opposed to locally, the savings are pretty robust.”

“These results indicate that the Internet offers huge potential for energy savings,” said Michael Terrell, Senior Policy Counsel, Energy & Sustainability on the official Google blog. “We’re especially excited that Berkeley Lab has made its model publicly available so other researchers and experts can plug in their own assumptions and help refine and improve the results.”

The study’s results were based upon a model which has now been released to the public, and took into account all of the factors that both Google and the study’s authors believe are necessary for a comprehensive assessment of the environmental benefits found in shifting from local and physical storage to cloud storage; including data centers, transmission systems, client devices, and transportation systems.

By minimising the need for individual storage systems located at each premises by transferring the lion’s share of data storage to the cloud, businesses and other institutions will not need as much electricity to power their own storage systems housing communal programs.


“The model, which will be available to a wide audience, allows you to evaluate energy use of various options in a significant way,” said Lavanya Ramakrishnan, a research scientist in the Computational Research Division at Berkeley. “By studying the present day and cloud scenarios, you can see the net energy and carbon-footprint benefits at a range of scales.”

“This powerful, public use model is really a foundational tool for the energy analysis community,” said Arman Shehabi, a principal scientific engineering associate in the Environmental Energy Technologies Division at Berkeley Lab. “The analytical structure and various assumptions are fully transparent, so users can explore the model’s underlying analytics, compare different scenarios, poke at the data and discuss the results with the community.”

The implications of this study will no doubt be found sweeping through industry over the next decade, as IT managers and financial officers determine the most environmentally and economically efficient means by which to do business. 
Get CleanTechnica’s 1st (completely free) electric car report → “Electric Cars: What Early Adopters & First Followers Want.”
Keep up to date with all the hottest cleantech news by subscribing to our (free) cleantech newsletter, or keep an eye on sector-specific news by getting our (also free) solar energy newsletter, electric vehicle newsletter, or wind energy newsletter.


Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , ,

About the Author

I'm a Christian, a nerd, a geek, and I believe that we're pretty quickly directing planet-Earth into hell in a handbasket! I also write for Fantasy Book Review (, and can be found writing articles for a variety of other sites. Check me out at for more.

  • JamesWimberley

    The gap is partly because the desktop PC is a very power-hungry appliance compared to a smartphone of similar capability, or even a laptop. When the latest generation of processors (of both ARM and Intel architectures) makes it to desktops, power draws should fall dramatically. The trouble is that the desktop PC market is now considered a backwater and little innovation effort is being put into it.

    • Ivor O’Connor

      Blah. Each has it’s place. Trying to fit them all into the cloud is a sign of idiocy.

Back to Top ↑
  • Advertisements

  • Top Posts & Pages

  • Cool Cleantech Events

    Low Voltage Electrification Event, April 25-27. Detroit, Michigan (US)
    Delve deep into the benefits and challenges associated with EV power supply.

    Offshore Wind Market Development USA, May 11-12, Boston, Massachusetts (US)
    Network and establish your business in one of North America’s largest energy industries.

    Energy Storage USA, June 15-16, San Diego, California (US)
    Only event in the United States focused exclusively on the commercialization of storage.

    More details are on: Cleantech Events.

  • Advertisement

  • CleanTechnica Electric Car Report

    Electric Cars Early Adopters First Followers
  • Tesla Model 3 Review by EVANNEX

    Tesla Model 3 Review from EVANNEX
  • Tesla Model 3 Exclusive Video

    Tesla Model 3 Video
  • Tesla Model 3 Exclusive Pictures

    Tesla Model 3 Video
  • Tesla Model X Review #1 (Video)

    Tesla Model X Review from new owners Zach Shahan
  • Tesla Model X Review #2 (Pictures)

    Tesla Model X Review from Kyle Field
  • Tesla Model S Long-Term Review

    Tesla Model S Long Term Review from Kyle Field
  • Nissan LEAF Long-Term Review

    Nissan LEAF Long Term Review from Cynthia Shahan
  • Interview with Michael Liebreich

    Interview with Michael Liebreich
  • Interview with Akon (Teslas & Solar)

    Interview with Akon Tesla Model S Tesla Model X Solar Power Africa
  • Interview with Dr Nawal Al-Hosany

    Interview with Dr Nawal Al-Hosany
  • Interview with Gro Brundtland

    Gro Brundtland
  • Interview with President of Iceland

    President of Iceland Ólafur Ragnar Grímsson
  • Interview with Nick Sampson

    Faraday Future VP Nick Sampson
  • Interview with Dipal Barua

    Dipal Barua 1st ZFEP WInner
  • Interview with Jonathon Porritt

    Jonathon Porritt
  • Interview with Clint Wilder

    Interview with Clint Wilder
  • Interviews with Solar Impulse Pilots

    Bertrand Piccard Andre Borschberg
  • Check out more CleanTechnica Videos.

  • Join The Solar Revolution!

    Edison-solar-energy solar-energy-spill-nice-day
  • Cost of Solar Panels

  • Search the IM Network