How to Practice Greener Data Storage And Why You Should Adopt It

By Talo Thomson

Published on August 24, 2023

A dark blue data chip with multiple numbers glowing in the background

What do you see when you picture the industrial revolution? Greasy men in overalls, precariously balancing on scaffolding while eating a sandwich? Production lines brimming with workers frantically hammering cars together? Chimney-laden cityscapes spewing smoke into the atmosphere?

That last image, in particular, seems to be a defining characteristic of the industrial revolution in the West – our environmentally ignorant ancestors burning coal and producing carbon emissions with reckless abandon.

Obviously, we know better now, and those days are long gone. The digital revolution has been a lovely, clean kind of progress, bathed in chrome and neon lights, that wouldn’t hurt a fly…well, not quite.

To handle the massive amounts of digital data, data storage centers have sprung up across the globe. Unfortunately, these require huge amounts of power, and as more data is produced, more data storage space is required, which needs more energy to operate.

And, while we’re not exactly running these data centers on crude oil, the energy still has to come from somewhere, right? 

Global data storage supply and demand

Global data storage supply and demand bar graph sourced from

Image sourced from

So, while we may not realize it, data use and storage – the backbone of global information sharing – has a worrying impact on the environment. Luckily, a lot of businesses are catching onto this and taking steps to lessen the damage.

How to practice greener data storage

Environmental damage may sound like a huge, scary, complicated problem, because…well, it is. However, that doesn’t mean there aren’t simple changes your business can make that will have a much larger impact. 

One of the best ways to make that difference is by switching to greener, cloud-based data solutions.

Cloud-based data centers are more efficient, more effective, and environmentally friendly. So, better for business operations, and better for the planet. Everybody wins!

What are cloud-based data solutions?

As the name suggests, these are data-storage solutions based in the cloud. Rather than having numerous individual servers, based in separate physical buildings for each business, thousands of different data storage servers can now operate via larger cloud servers. 

This has allowed huge advancements in online information sharing, and the convenience and effectiveness of an online storage drive via the cloud has allowed companies to more easily flourish online.

Cloud-based data storage solutions are much more environmentally friendly and can offer a host of essential business expansion tools for modern companies, like better IT collaboration software.

How is cloud-based data storage more environmentally friendly?

Greener fuel

Many of the physical servers that host the cloud run on cleaner resources. These are sources of energy that produce less harmful pollutants, like carbon dioxide and carbon monoxide – both common byproducts of fossil fuels.

They are also sustainable, renewable sources of energy that do not rely on processing and burning finite fuels. Renewable energies like wind power, solar power, hydroelectric, and even geothermal energy are increasingly being utilized to power cloud-based data storage.

Figure 2: Top corporate buyers of clean energy in 2021 bar graph sourced from

Image sourced from

Huge cloud server hosts like Google, Amazon, and Facebook are among the highest purchasers of renewable energy worldwide. So, by switching to a cloud-based server, companies can ensure their data storage is powered by environmentally friendly energy. 

Less space, less waste

One of the most significant advantages of cloud-based data centers is the reduced space they occupy. The cloud can support thousands of data storage servers from one physical location. That location is often adjacent to renewable energy supplies. This means less hardware running on cleaner energy.

Having one physical location allows cloud servers to consistently upgrade and optimize equipment when advancements become available. Rather than having hundreds of individual servers, each needing physical hardware upgrades (which would eat up even more energy), vital improvements can be applied to the original cloud-host server. This brings essential upgrades to every server in the cloud in a single move.

All of this means that cloud-based data solutions can run in the most energy-efficient and space-conscious way, providing a cheaper and greener solution to traditional data storage. 

Working smarter

So, cloud-based data solutions utilize the latest hardware advancements, but software plays just as big a role in energy conservation. Older data centers would automatically allocate greater storage space to companies as they grew in size. However, this extra space often went unused, resulting in massive amounts of dead server space.

These unnecessary servers accomplish nothing but still consume energy, leading to increased running costs and precious energy wasted. Cloud-based servers, on the other hand, employ intelligent AI to accurately distribute storage space to each company depending on its needs. 

This means less valuable data storage wasted and more efficient use of server space. That increased efficiency translates to lower running costs too, meaning cheaper cloud-hosted business services to support your digital marketing channels. 

Cloud migration as a path to savings and sustainability

Migrating data to the cloud offers organizations a dual advantage, combining substantial cost savings with environmentally conscious data storage practices. Cloud computing eliminates the need for extensive on-premises hardware. It also reduces upfront capital expenditures and ongoing maintenance costs. This pay-as-you-go model ensures organizations only pay for the resources they consume, optimizing financial efficiency. 

Additionally, the cloud's scalability empowers businesses to effortlessly adjust their data storage requirements as they grow, preventing overprovisioning and wasteful resource allocation. 

Beyond the economic benefits listed here, cloud migration also offers a path to greener data management. By leveraging shared infrastructure and advanced energy-efficient technologies, organizations can significantly reduce their carbon footprint. This spares the environment from excessive energy consumption and e-waste. This shift not only aligns with corporate sustainability goals but also positions companies as responsible stewards of resources, advancing a greener future while bolstering their bottom line.

Why are companies focused on greener data storage?

Better for the planet

As conscientious citizens of planet Earth, you should be aware that adopting greener data storage is an increasingly vital part of the environmental conversation.

Currently, these data centers account for around three percent of worldwide electricity use, and approximately two percent of greenhouse gas emissions. It may not sound like much, but when you consider global aviation (including domestic and international; passenger and freight) accounts for only 1.9 percent of greenhouse gasses, it suddenly sounds a little more concerning. 

The need for data centers is only going to increase as we move forward – after all, we can’t slow down the digital revolution. We can mitigate its impact on the environment, though. The only reason that two percent isn’t higher is due to incredible innovations in greener, cloud-based data storage solutions.

These larger, cloud-based data centers mean fewer individual storage facilities. It’s a case of streamlining storage for improved efficiency and lower energy consumption.

Better for profits

Saving the planet is great and all, but greener business practices are still that: business practices. These green initiatives won’t last long if they’re not financially sustainable.

Well, great news. Many companies have found that the switch to greener data centers actually lowers costs. As cloud servers run in a more energy-efficient manner, they often come with financial incentives that save you money. The Swedish government, for example, placed a 97% tax cut on electricity used by data centers beginning in 2017. 

Many companies have found that the switch to greener data centers actually lowers costs. As cloud servers run in a more energy-efficient manner, they often come with financial incentives that save you money.

This reduction in costs is passed down to cloud-hosted data storage solutions, and then onto companies themselves when they find the best storage software to boost performance. Not only this, but going green helps to increase a company’s appeal among consumers, bringing more business your way. More on that below.  

Better for the brand

We’ve already established the moral argument of greener data centers - supporting the environment is clearly the right thing to do. Clients generally agree. Nowadays, it’s not just philanthropic, nonprofit companies utilizing cloud technology. The benefits are evident for all businesses. 

Modern consumers are more discerning than ever about environmental issues, and if you want to make a difference, one of the best things you can do is utilize a more environmentally conscious data storage solution. 

Environmentalism is no longer reserved for that weird aunt with frizzy hair. Nowadays, customers and shareholders expect companies to be environmentally conscious, and will even avoid those that are not. They’ll appreciate your dedication to the environment.

Better scalability

The goal of any business is to grow, and as they grow, they will require more and more data storage space. Cloud-based data centers can easily scale up the amount of storage without the need to build more hardware.

A massive hardware data storage unit.

Free to use image from Unsplash

Companies like Google, Amazon, and Facebook are constantly improving their cloud servers:  improving storage space, eliminating extraneous features, and implementing more efficient hardware. 


Each aspect of modern business is at least partially digitized, so switching to a greener, cloud-based data storage solution has a positive impact on every part of your venture, from more efficient file sharing to smoother human resource function.

This is one of the best choices you can make for the future of your company and will have a long-lasting impact on both your business and the planet on which it resides.

  • How to practice greener data storage
  • What are cloud-based data solutions?
  • How is cloud-based data storage more environmentally friendly?
  • Cloud migration as a path to savings and sustainability
  • Why are companies focused on greener data storage?
  • Conclusion
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