Thin clients credited with big CO2 emission cuts

The use of thin clients has reduced global CO2 emissions by 166,000 tonnes in 2007, research suggests
Written by Colin Barker, Contributor

The use of thin clients can play a substantial part in reducing European businesses' CO2 emissions, according to research.

Thin clients have already reduced global CO2 emissions by 166,521 tonnes over the last four years — the equivalent of 504 return flights from London to New York —according to research produced by the Fraunhofer Institute in Germany for thin-client company IGEL Technology. The research also used information, produced by IDC, on global technology use. Testing was conducted to compare the power demands and CO2 emissions of thin clients with those of traditional business PCs.

According to Dr Hartmut Pflaum of the Fraunhofer Institute: "Energy consumption, when in operation, was up to 50 percent lower than for conventional PCs. While PCs consume about 85W on average, thin clients, including their server, get by with 40W to 50W."

The research showed that thin-client sales in Western Europe rose from 634,706 units in 2006 to 1,016,399 last year and, as a result, estimated CO2 savings rose from 30,789 tonnes in 2006 to 49,305 tonnes last year.

IDC has estimated that just over 3.4 million thin clients have been sold in Western Europe since 2004. The figures are based on an average machine life cycle of four years.

Stephen Yeo, strategic director of worldwide marketing for IGEL Technology, claimed that "the thin-client industry has just over 10 percent of the commercial desktops across Western Europe [and], if that percentage were to rise to 50 percent, it would be a significant move in the battle to beat global warming".

Although not very well known in the UK, IGEL Technology claims to be the largest supplier of thin clients in Germany, one of the largest European markets for the technology. The company is based in Bremen.

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