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Cloud Storage

The cloud has obesities. Approximately 90% of all the data we store will never be used. Unstructured data sets will never be analyzed, IoT sensor data will never be read. Video’s, software, movies, photo’s, music, documents. We only use around 10% of everything we collect and store in the cloud. Privately, as well as professionally.

CO2 Impact Calculator

For every 100 GB of data stored on a cloud we emit close to 10kg of CO2 each year, for which we need 2 new trees planted to take this out of the atmosphere. Almost everybody uses some type of cloud storage, privately if you own a smartphone. But also work related. Over 90% of companies are on the cloud. That is why it is interesting to see the impact you have yourself but also the impact of your company on the planet through the simple act of storing data on a cloud based server.


Do you want to embrace a greener digital lifestyle? Below we provide some tips. If you select one or multiple, it is stored locally. This is better for both CO2 emissions as it is for your privacy. By selecting a tip, it is added to your own battleplan, where you can always return to in the Take Action section.

  • Take long term storage data offline

    Most of the data stored online can be labeled as ‘don’t need it now, might need it later’. By rethinking what we store and archive in terms of short and long term needs, you can start categorizing your datasets in 1) to be used in the short term and 2) to be used long term. With taking the long term data offline, you can reach enormous savings.

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  • Store your data with a green cloud provider

    Carbon-thoughtful providers have sustainability at the heart of how they plan, build, power, operate, and retire their data centers. Some green cloud providers are: Evry, GreenQloud, Google, Cloudsigma, Dediserve and WindCloud.

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  • Avoid the double data

    A lot of data on clouds worldwide is stored multiple times. Identifying and taking out doubles can already do wonders to the amount of cloud space you use.

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  • Optimize applications for cloud storage

    Companies can realize large carbon emission reductions on their cloud storage effects by configuring applications, documents, datasets and websites for the cloud. Most importantly: make it slim through compression, file type selection, website design and application design.

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Did you know the amount of datacenters across the globe has exploded in the last 10 years?

In 2012 there were around 500.000 data centers around the world, today this amount is over 8 million, and in the coming years there will be many more. The already obese cloud is getting fatter and fatter. Energy needs double every 4 years, making cloud storage the fastest growing energy consuming sector there is. If we go on like this, by 2040, an estimated 14% of the world’s CO2 emissions will be caused by the electricity demand of data centers.

Fortunately there is a lot we can do about this. With 90% of all data never used, with much data stored for long term collection purposed, with many double entries and with suboptimized application configurations there are many areas in which we can become more efficient in using cloud storage spaces.

The size of the cloud might seem endless, but the effects on earth are very real. It is time to do some cleaning up on our private and corporate clouds.