That is what Rob Bernard, the chief environmental strategist for Microsoft, is projecting in his latest article in Sustainable Industries. Microsoft recently commissioned a study with Accenture to analyze the energy and greenhouse gas use for cloud-hosted systems such as Microsoft versus on their own hosted systems.
The study found that organizations could save energy and carbon by switching to the cloud. It found the smaller the organization, the larger the benefit. The study predicted an effective carbon footprint reduction of up to 90 percent over using local servers for smaller organizations (less than 100 people). For large corporations, the predicted savings were typically 30 percent or more. This is a pretty remarkable carbon and energy savings for smaller businesses.
In addition, cloud computing services can generally save companies money. It ranges from 25-50% savings in your IT costs. PC Computing has a nice article, 13 Terrific Cloud Services for Small Businesses, which provides an overview of companies that offer cloud based computing for small companies.