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.
American Power Conversion (APC) published an informative white paper in 2006, Implementing Energy Efficient Data Centers, which showed that 45% of data center energy goes to dealing with waste heat. I've seen "half" frequently asserted without citation; if you have a more recent credible source, please post it as a comment.
Green ICT articles cite a wide range of variances between energy costs per square foot for data centers and for normal office space. Vertatique uses the range cited by Measuring and Managing Data Center Use: "energy costs per square foot that are 10 to 30 times that of typical office buildings"
The EPA's Report to Congress on Server and Data Center Energy Efficiency Public Law 109-431 is over a year old, but remains an important data source. Among its tipping point statistics: "Another impact of higher energy densities is that server hardware is no longer the primary cost component of a data center . . .