Thursday, 24 September 2009

Little Green Genie

Australian company Little Green Genie has launched a service to offset the carbon emissions from desktops and laptops.

It comes in the form of a piece of software that measures how much you use your computer and then calculates the amount of carbon your are emitting as a result of that usage. As you use your computer the software automatically reduces your pre-purchased carbon credit by the necessary amount. The company says that, on average, a desktop computer with a 15” monitor used two hours a day will use about US$7 of credit a year.

The company also points out that, based on a Harvard study released in 2007, the manufacture of a computer has about the same environmental impact as making a small car. When you first set up Little Green Genie you can elect to offset the manufacture, estimated to cost about US$12.

The company goes to great lengths to explain that it’s carbon credits are the real thing. They are acquired through Climate Friendly and are ‘Gold Standard’, described as ‘an independently audited, globally applicable best practice methodology for project development that aims to deliver high quality carbon offsets’. It means that they are restricted to projects that reduce society’s dependence on energy generated from fossil fuels (i.e. renewable energy or demand side energy efficiency projects), they have a strict additionality test, and they incorporate environmental and social indicators.

There’s a lot more information on the web site. The company is clearly trying hard to be seen as legitimate and reliable in an area that has come in for some criticism in the past. As well as the offset assurances it also uses independent and reputable sources for its energy use and emissions calculations.

Despite my inherent dislike of offsets, because they are often of dubious value and work against reducing energy use, I really like this idea, for two reasons;

- There is criticism of the ICT industry because of the escalating uses of various devices using more and more energy. It will be hard to stop this trend, but if individuals could offset (all devices) as they go along it would help

- Similarly, ICT has more value in reducing emissions in other parts of life and business than it emits, so use will (and should) go up. Offsets are a realistic way to get over the problem.

It’s certainly something I would seriously consider and you might also like to take a look, at:

© The Green IT Review

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