Carbon Aware Computing vs Repair and Reuse: Which Is More Sustainable?


When was the last time you considered your carbon footprint? Even if it’s something you haven’t thought much about, each person’s carbon footprint has an impact on the environment.

As a quick refresher, your carbon footprint is a measure of how much carbon dioxide is released into the atmosphere as a result of your day-to-day actions. Every individual and business has a carbon footprint, and a lot of factors affect the size of that footprint.

But luckily, there are also a lot of ways for individuals and businesses alike to reduce their carbon footprint, including using more sustainable technology.

One method that’s been getting increased attention in recent years is carbon aware computing. In fact, Microsoft and UBS recently published a whitepaper discussing their findings from their work with green software and carbon aware computing. 

But what is carbon aware computing exactly? Let’s take a closer look at what it is and how it compares with simply repairing and reusing existing computers when it comes to reducing your carbon footprint.

What Is Carbon Aware Computing?

Carbon aware computing is a core design principle of green software: software that has no harmful effects on the environment. Reducing the effects of computing on the environment is accomplished in a number of ways, such as reducing energy use, using less hardware, or making modifications to use the lowest-carbon sources of energy available to have minimal environmental impact.

The idea behind carbon aware computing is to:

  • Create software that can measure and reduce its impact on carbon emissions
  • Shape the demand software makes on the energy grid
  • Shift software workloads to times and places where the grid allows for the lowest possible carbon emissions

In short, carbon aware computing seeks to help users consume fewer fossil fuels and more renewable energy by recommending times and locations where energy consumption would have low (or no) carbon impact. 

It has the potential to help reduce the carbon intensity of our software use and could in turn help businesses see a significant decrease in their energy use. 

Carbon Aware Computing vs Repair and Reuse

Now that we have a basic understanding of carbon aware computing, let’s see how it stacks up against repair and reuse when it comes to reducing carbon footprint.

Carbon Aware Computing Benefits

As we mentioned, carbon aware computing could result in big energy savings by using more renewable energy and less carbon-dependent energy. It can:

  • Make more efficient use of the energy grid without reducing computing power
  • Reduce the use of high-carbon sources of energy
  • Make better use of carbon-free energy sources like solar and wind
  • Help corporations meet CO2 emissions regulations and reach sustainability goals

Repair and Reuse Benefits

Repairing old computer equipment so it can continue to be used—either in its existing capacity or in a new capacity—has big environmental benefits as well. For instance, repairing and reusing existing computers helps:

  • Reduce e-waste, a significant source of environmental damage and the fastest-growing waste stream in the world
  • Give old computers new life, rather than sending them to the landfill
  • Keep harmful chemicals that pollute our soil, groundwater, and air out of landfills
  • Reduce the number of rare earth metals being mined by reusing what’s already in circulation
  • Conserve energy by reducing the number of new computers being manufactured
  • Contribute to a circular economy
  • Save you money! Repairing existing computers is almost always cheaper than buying new

Plus, when you have a partner like Repowered, refurbishing your old computer equipment is easy.

The truth is, both carbon aware computing and repair and reuse have a place in reducing our impact on the environment. However, repair and reuse is more accessible to the average person or business and is something you can start doing today! Plus, it can save you money while reducing your environmental impact.

Repair and Reuse With Repowered

Repowered makes repairing and reusing computers easy. When you drop off your old computers with us (or have them picked up through our ITAD services for businesses), we’ll:

  • Wipe the hard drives of data so you don’t need to worry about a data breach. (Note that Repowered is an R2 and NAID AAA certified recycler, so you don’t need to worry about the safety of your data.)
  • Make necessary repairs and upgrades
  • Market the refurbished computers for resale
  • Reduce waste by passing your old computers on to a new user

And if you’re a business with very new equipment, we may be able to reduce your processing fees with credit for the value of sold assets. If your equipment is older, and no longer has useful life left in it, we’ll responsibly recycle it.

In addition to entrusting us to take care of your used tech, you can also shop with us for refurbished computers and other refurbished tech! Buying refurbished computers will not only save you money and benefit the planet, but it could also allow you to get more or better equipment than you could otherwise afford.

To check out our line of refurbished computers, including desktops, laptops, tablets, and more, shop our online store or visit us at one of our retail locations.

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