National Geographic's "High Tech Trash" is loaded with everything from an interactive toxic tour of a computer to an e-waste quiz to stats like ". . . in the U.S. [in 2005], between 1.5 and 1.9 million tons of computers, TVs, VCRs, monitors, cell phones, and other equipment were discarded. If all sources of electronic waste are tallied, it could total 50 million tons a year worldwide . . ." The Photo Gallery tells the story most powerfully - check it out!
The One Laptop Per Child (OLPC) initiative represents the cutting, if not controversial, edge of green e-device design. The Association for Computing Machinery (ACM) has published an interview with OLPC's CTO Mary Lou Jepsen, which is a insightful must-read for anyone interested is sustainable e-device design.
ICT infrastructures for telework are a key component of a green computing strategy, reducing both local commuting and long-distance travel costs and carbon. A Harvard Business Review Editor's Blog post, "The Telecommuting Imperative", takes on executive reluctance to advance telework. Among other motivations cited for moving more aggressively:
The EPA Report to Congress on Server and Data Center Energy Efficiency found that "The peak load on the power grid from these servers and data centers is currently estimated to be approximately 7 gigawatts (GW), equivalent to the output of about 15 baseload power plants and "power failures and limits on power availability will interrupt data center operations at more than 90 percent of all companies over the next five years." This was written in August 2007:
The U.S. Green Building Council's (USGBC) Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design (LEED) Green Building Rating System™ now has a LEED for Existing Buildings: Operations & Maintenance component. Points are awarded for a number of e-green practices, including telecommuting and sustainable purchases of IT and media electronics. Use of EPEAT-rated computers and monitors is specifically noted as "exemplary performance".
Organizations assessing the value of e-green now have another factor to consider: employee recruiting and retention. The latest Adecco USA Workplace Insight survey found "American workers are paying growing attention to companies’ environmental policies and an increasing number (36 percent) report that they would be more inclined to work for ”green” companies." The report continues:
The EPA estimates ~100 million analog television sets are already in storage. More analog television sets will become obsolete over the next two years as analog over-the-air (OTA) broadcasting is terminated in favor of digital-only signals (DTV). According to the Consumer Electronics Association (CEA) survey report "Trends in Consumer Electronics (CE) Afterlife", consumers intend to sell, donate, or recycle 95%. Will this really happen . . . ?
The McKinsey / Uptime Institute report Revolutionizing Data Center Efficiency, available as both a PowerPoint and a podcast, contains a wealth of current and projected data on energy utilization and GHG (greenhouse gas) emissions, including information about what various enterprises are doing. Among its findings:
I'm under no illusion that enterprises don't try to secure advantage from the green initiatives featured in Vertatique and I believe it is appropriate for an organization to credibly promote its meaningful progress toward sustainability. But those seeking to do so should be mindful that they are facing a skeptical and savvy audience, according to a survey from Burst Media:
Citing industry and government sources, Baseline reports that "facility costs have climbed from about 2 percent of budgets to 5 percent . . . that number will zoom up to 30 percent within just a few years . . . data center power consumption is due to significantly increase in just the next three years, by at least 40 percent." Are CIO's responding by deploying the ever-growing range of technologies and practices that they can find here at Vertatique?