The production of realistic animations and effects sequences requires clusters of computers and mass storage known as "render farms". One approach to strike a balance between availability and energy consumption is to integrate power management tools into workflow. Here are two examples, along with one even more aggressive approach to green rendering.
Computerworld's "Top 12 Green-IT Users" list links each organization's name to a sustainable IT mini-case study. These organization include businesses from a variety of sectors, a non-profit, and a government agency. I was stuck by unique and unexpected implementations:
I'll be presenting on "Sustainable Media Technology & Practice" at the 2009 HPA Technology Retreat. The Alliance is a reference organization for much of the world's film and television content creation community and its inclusion of this topic in this year's program continues its tradition of leadership. The talk's abstract:
Energy, heat, carbon, heavy metal: the technology-intensive nature of content creation and
A recent white paper, IBM Software: a green strategy for your entire organization, asks "Why go green?" Its answer: "With today’s market realities—rising energy costs; shrinking power and space capacity; increased regulatory scrutiny; and higher customer expectations—going green is not only socially responsible, it’s an economic imperative . . .
One of the fun things about tracking Green ICT technologies and practices is reading the blogs of people reporting on progress within their own communities. An example is Data Pasture, which covers the Austin, TX area. An interesting aspect of this site is its advocacy of "micro data centers",
An article in the McKinsey Quarterly argues that ICT can enable enough energy efficiency and carbon reduction to more than offset ICT's growth. "An analysis of five groups of abatement opportunities finds that such technologies could help to eliminate 7.8 metric gigatons of greenhouse gas emissions annually by 2020 [chart to right]—equivalent to 15 percent of global emissions today and five times more than our estimate of the emissions from these technologies in 2020." The authors base this on ICT's application to the broader economy, projecting that the gains of internal deployment (Green ICT) will be outweighed by ICT's overall global growth. (This article is also available as an MP3 download.)
5%-10% of residential power can be consumed by devices that are turned 'off'. Best Buy declared 30 October 2008 "National Vampire Awareness Day" The point? Alert customers to the 40% of home electronics energy consumption (and associated carbon emissions) that occurs when devices appear to be off are actually in standby mode. These are called "vampire devices" because the suck energy during the night. Best Buy offers these tips, applicable to home, dorm room, and office:
Of all the Green ICT topics I covered at the recent Sustainable Real Estate Development Conference (SREDC), the concept of "telework centers" generated the most discussion among the real estate professionals. Telework centers are a way of bringing work to people instead of bring people to work while offering more robust infrastructure support than telecommuting from home. Learn more about telework and telecommuting from
Green ICT programs are a good way to engage stakeholders and value chain players in a common mission. For a tech-savvy crowd, a strong Green ICT web presence is critical. You risk diluting the impact if the presentation of your Green ICT initiatives are not well-integrated with your existing web presence facing each target group. This case study is about Green Energy, not Green ICT per se, but it shows what can happen when good intentions are undercut by haphazard execution. Click here for the study..
A New York Times article positions Google's Green ICT initiatives in the context of its broader energy business strategy. I don't advocate that enterprises make Green ICT investments on the casual assumption that they can easily transform them into a new revenue stream, but Google's situation does remind early adopters to take the time to step back and objectively assess how they can leverage their knowledge and experience beyond their own ICT infrastructures.