Most ICT gear - core facilities, communications infrastructures, and edge devices - runs on DC power. Converting AC to DC within a building is inefficient, on-site renewable power generation is usually DC to begin with, and super-efficient LED lighting is also DC. So DC power distribution has been a attractive option, but there have been vigorous arguments for and against. Recent events suggest the tide is turning in favor of DC distribution, although skeptics continue to press their case. The growing use of solar-generated electricity might be providing the latest boost DC.
Image courtesy IEEE Spectrum
Upcoming Green ICT conferences and workshops around the world through November 2013, including events just added for Beijing, China and for Pittsburg, USA. We have also included links to past conferences to aid your search for conference materials.
Pop Quiz: Which region has the most Green ICT conferences?
In an ironic turn of events, the e-waste being reprocessed in China is coming home to us through imports. This includes lead1 in our food.
Location is becoming increasingly important to the sustainability of ICT facilities. We've been tracking facilities in North American and Europe which try to leverage geographic features for greener operations. Our latest example has Apple benefiting from its Nevada (US) site's underground water and low risk of natural disasters.
Updates from Asia-Pacific. Click here for regional Green ICT updates from around the globe. Click on 'Asia-Pac' tag above for all news about the region. (Information about the ICT implications of Japan's earthquake and tsunami have been moved to its own post.)
Fast Company's list of 100 Most Creative People in Business 2012 is topped by Chinese activist Ma Jun, Director of the nonprofit Institute of Public and Environmental Affairs (IPE). Ma's focus on pollution began in the 1990s and became critical to Green ICT a few years ago. "In 2009, his team began to notice several cases of health problems due to heavy-metal pollution being reported in local newspapers. 'To our surprise, the source wasn't mostly mines or government-operated smelters,' he says, 'but factories manufacturing global IT equipment'…By April 2010, Ma had discovered 29 major tech brands using factories with hazardous operations." Ma and IPE gained global recognition in 2011 by challenging the Apple, allegedly the largest and least responsive of the tech giants implicated in Chinese pollution. Learn more from our 2011-12 coverage of Ma, IPE, and Apple.
We were critical of Apple's environmental stance a couple of years ago, saying that the company was positioned to be a leader rather than a a foot-dragger. Since then, the company has made significant strides, such as improvements to its take-back recycling programs*. On the downside, issues about its Chinese contract manufacturing operations have been slow to be resolved. Recent actions toward addressing labor issues need to be matched with ones addressing environmental issues. Factory pollution takes a toll on both workers and neighbors.
To positive steps occurred in December 2012: Apple's suggestion that it might open a Macintosh manufacturing facility in the United States and its decision to join HP, Philips and Dell in the IDH electronic program.
Supercomputers manufacturers have always vied to build the most powerful machine. Now, they routinely increase energy efficiency, as well. Recent additions to this ongoing article include the Titan supercomputer and the Supercomputing in Small Spaces project.
A number of sustainability rankings in the US and Europe let us take a look at how telecom providers perform compared to each other and to broader tech sectors. Vodafone is the top global performer; Sprint-Nextel is tops in the United States. Sprint was rank tops in the US for its take-back program.
We're most of the way through 2012 and Green ICT has been a topic of conversation for years. Best practices have been developed, standards put into place, conferences held monthly around the world. So why do recent surveys of ICT operators suggest that few are paying attention to the full suite of Green ICT possibilities?
Our e-gear contains many exotic materials. We've looked a how the demand for some - "conflict minerals" - fuels bloody, long-term warfare. The mining of others pollutes local communities. The rare earth neodymium, used in everything from smartphone speakers to datacenter disk drives, is a case in point.