Cloud based services make companies more efficient. Collaboration, accessibility and time management are all made easier with the cloud, but there's one element that doesn't immediately come to mind when we think of the cloud – the earth. While it seems that a name like the "cloud" would pull up some natural imagery, it has become so mainstream that we immediately think of the technology rather than an oncoming storm. Surprisingly, energy efficiency is an often overlooked element of the cloud, but it has perhaps the biggest benefits.

How much energy would we save
A case study by the Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory determined that cloud computing helps conserve energy. The study revealed that businesses moving to the cloud could reduce power consumption by up to 87 percent. The power of these savings adds up. The report also determined that if all companies switched to cloud computing, each year would harvest enough energy to power a city the size of Los Angeles. While some argue that virtualization in general is what contributes to the energy savings rather than the cloud itself, there's no denying that the cloud boosts virtualization in organizations. The cloud is a tool for this process and an invaluable one at that.

Gigaom's Katie Fehrenbacher explained that the resource savings acquired by moving software and other assets to the cloud are a result of cloud computing data centers being more energy efficient that companies' in-house IT infrastructures. The savings can differ according to how efficient the on-premises infrastructure already is. Usually, small and medium-sized businesses have limited IT resources, and therefore have less energy-efficient infrastructures. Their transition could prove the most environmentally effective. Additionally, companies' data volume is constantly growing. The elasticity of the cloud allows for both for this growth in data and conservation of energy, giving both the tech world and the environmentalists what they want.

Wider accessibility contributes to conservation
The cloud's wide accessibility element is especially convenient for companies that allow their employees to telecommute. Though the employees might be working from home, the cloud allows them to have access the same resources available at the office. Eliminating that morning commute reduces roadway traffic, conserving non-renewable resources while also eliminating the greenhouse gases given off by cars. Additionally, according to, the more users that are on a cloud server, the more energy that is saved.