David Mytton

Sustainable computing

My area of research interest could be broadly called “sustainable computing”. I maintain this page as a set of resources about sustainable computing that I find useful.

Last updated: 2021-09-23.

What is sustainable computing?

Sustainable computing concerns the consumption of computing resources in a way that means such usage has a net zero impact on the environment, a broad concept that includes energy, ecosystems, pollution and natural resources. 

I consider that individual impact on the environment rounds to zero because although some people will change their behaviour, most won’t. This means that systems need to change. Energy production, transportation, manufacturing, agriculture. The transition to sustainability needs to be done on behalf of the individual by the system and at a large scale, so individuals can benefit from that change by default.

In computing, this means the organisations responsible for manufacturing components, building equipment, writing software, operating data centres, and running networks have responsibility for achieving sustainability.

Sustainability strategies in computing tend to focus on energy and the transition to renewables – the use stage. This is important, but not the only factor. 

Sustainable computing therefore involves not just renewable energy, but also minimising water stress, developing policies around the right to repair and recycling of materials through a circular economy, energy efficiency of hardware and software, promoting good governance of resources, transparency, and consistent reporting.

Articles

Communities

Data

Interesting sources of data related to sustainable computing:

Papers

Interesting academic papers related to sustainable computing:

See also my own publications.

Reports

Interesting reports related to sustainable computing:

Tools

Interesting tools related to sustainable computing: