The NCAR-Wyoming Supercomputing Center (NWSC) in Wyoming "provides advanced computing services to scientists studying a broad range of disciplines, including weather, climate, oceanography, air pollution, space weather, computational science, energy production, and carbon sequestration. It also houses a landmark data storage and archival facility that will hold, among other scientific data, unique historical climate records." It has also become of the focus our largest Twitter discussion of the 2013.
We've been tracking the growth in mega-datacenters since 2009. These faculties feature technical and operational innovation that has overturned previous notions of limits on energy efficiency. But does the focus on efficiency obscure an acceleration in ICT energy and water consumption and in CO2e production? While mega-data center operators are claiming exceptional power usage effectiveness (PUE) ratios, we're still talking about facilities that consume 20-200 MW apiece and emit a considerable carbon footprint unless powered by renewable energy. Here's our most recent look at their reported PUE and the technology behind them, including the addition of a government supercomputer center that highlights subtle issues of efficiency versus sustainability.
City governments can show Green ICT leadership. Here is what Paul Kronberger is CIO of Madison (WI-USA), a city of 270,000 residents, tells me the municipality has done to improve the sustainability of its own operations.
Government entities have an important role to play in encouraging sustainable ICT across all industries. Effective leadership requires internal implementation, as well. The tag at the top of this post - government - helps you easily locate posts containing opportunities for and applications of Green ICT in government operations. (Green ICT in public education is found through the education tag.)
The New York Times reported in March 2013 that the U.S. Federal Government is trying, but not always succeeding, to make sure its e-waster is properly recycled. "The Obama administration, more than any of its predecessors, has strengthened oversight of electronic waste. In 2012, the General Services Administration enacted rules discouraging all agencies and federal contractors from disposing of it in landfills. The federal government, which is among the world’s largest producer of electronic waste, disposes more than 10,000 computers a week on average. Federal agencies are failing to sufficiently track their electronic waste, and large amounts of it are still being disposed of through public or online auctions, according to a Government Accountability Office report last year. In these auctions, the waste is often sold to a first layer of contractors who promise to handle it appropriately, only to have the most toxic portion subsequently sold to subcontractors who move it around as they wish."
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.
It is easier to avoid controversy in the first place than extract oneself once one has invited it. Apple is finding that its decision to pull out of EPEAT, as described below, continues to dog the company even though Apple had quickly reversed that stance.
Innovative field trials in Afghanistan's war zones could be yielding technologies to provide more reliable and greener power for ICT infrastructures in remote areas and in emergency response situations.
Photo courtesy U.S. Marine Corps
We'll be using this post to track notable entities who are buying green ICT gear.
Helsingin Energia (Helsinki Energy) uses the graphic on left to illustrate how it harnesses seasonal climate cycles to provide district cooling. Now, its applying this approach to cool the "world’s most eco-efficient computer hall" (data center), as illustrated on right. Nordic Energy Solutions reports that the data center "has the capacity to heat 500 large single-family houses." Helsingin Energia tells me that its ISP partner in the project, Academica, expects to have the center operational in May 2010.
Municipal heating/cooling districts are most common in northern Europe, but this model could be implemented at universities and government complexes in North America, many of which which have both large ICT infrastructures and campus-wide heating/cooling systems.