Tuesday, December 4, 2007

Closer Look at HP's Carbon Footprint Challenge

The IT industry is currently under a lot of pressure to reduce its carbon footprint, and with its carbon footprint challenge, HP is one computer firm that's trying to go 'green from the inside'. Not only by making its employees greener by getting them to switch lights off and recycle more, but by transforming its facilities into a solar-powered paradise.

Here's an image taken on-site at San Diago, California, showing the epic solar rooftop they've just installed, that will be up to 1 Megawatt capacity. This puts it at roughly 63% of the Google system recently installed. The panels will cover 10 percent of the energy used by the facility and save HP $750,000 in power costs over 15 years. For such a big old computer firm, that energy saving is pretty impressive. Remember this next time you embark on the often confusing task of buying a new PC, but see also our recent post on what other computer giants are doing about global warming.
Src: http://www.hippyshopper.com/2007/12/a_closer_look_a.html


Joseph Piecora [Etectonics, LLC.] said...


By JOSEPH PIECORA. Director of Technology.

Ever since the moment the first workstation was hooked up and powered on, the blood pressure of the “IT guy” has been in direct correlation with the CEO’s email malfunctioning, the secretary’s computer freezing and especially, the internet not functioning. For years the “IT guy” and/or the IT department of both a small and large scale company have been responsible for one thing and one thing only, and that is to ensure the functionality of any piece of technology inside the office environment (and in some cases outside also). No one would expect another factor indirectly related within the past few years, and that factor is energy. In today’s world there is a major issue resting in the back of people minds everywhere, and that issue is the environment. You do not have to be an animal/environmental activist or extremist to in some way consider the affects of today’s world on the environment. Not only is the draining of unnecessary energy affecting the environment adversely, it is also affecting your wallet adversely as well. Now do I have your attention?

During no time in the past two decades that computers have played a major role in the business world, has the finance department of the company handed the IT department the electricity bill, or has the CEO asked the IT department for a report on energy conservation. Now IT departments everywhere find themselves trying to deploy the latest IT innovations to conserve energy. In today’s world of data centers that consume nearly 50 times the amount of energy as a comparable office space just to keep them at the right temperature, executives find themselves asking “Where can our energy consumption be cut for both the sake of money and the environment?” Maybe 5 years ago the answer would be “NOWHERE” but in the year 2007 there is much more room and many more tools to cut energy consumption. Not only are these tools available to large scale companies such as I mentioned before, but there are also cost effective, low budget tools that are available to the everyday consumer. Take for example the main tool in a business network, a server. Companies such as Dell have deployed the technology and have built these so called “Green Servers”.

These machines are designed to consume almost half the energy of conventional machines. Intel, the producers of the latest and greatest developed the processor that can house such technology. What’s the downside you ask? Simple answer to that is NOTHING. Besides a cut in the energy bill your business will not feel the effects of this new technology in any way on its local network. The price as compared to an average server is a little greater (depending on exact specs) but a small sacrifice to make for the effects it will have on your energy budget. Many of the largest information technology companies are jointly studying how to reduce data center energy consumption in a project known as The Green Grid. The first duties for participants including IBM, AMD, Intel, Microsoft, Hewlett-Packard and Sun Microsystems is to agree on benchmarks that can be used to directly compare hardware energy requirements.

Maybe your company isn’t large enough to house a server or you simply have no need for it or you have a home business. There are many steps even your small company can take to conserve energy. One such step is simply shutting down each workstation on a night to night basis. Did you know you can save up to $14 dollars/ per workstation a year by simply turning them of at night? Newer computers actually come with a feature pre-enabled called “auto-hibernate”, this feature in essence puts your PC to “sleep” when it is not in use for 1 hour and while in this mode it consumes 1/4 of the energy that it normally would. Another step you can take in the war on energy conservation would be a small device called an UPS. (no not the package delivery people). UPS is a short term for “Uninterrupted Power Supply.” Years ago the basic function of these gadgets was to provide consistent power to your systems in case of a power surge or power loss. These devices were both large and came with a big price tag; however they did their jobs pretty well. Today, companies like APC still make these devices on both a small personal level and a large corporate level; however these devices are doing much more than simply providing a power backup. Did you know that a regular power outlet provides nearly 20 times the amount of voltage most gadgets need to function? A standard power outlet is 120 volts and your computer only needs 5 volts to function and boot up (at max 12 depending on workload)? Did you ever notice the power cord on your laptop has a “brick” like object on it? That “brick” like object is actually taking the power from the outlet and converting it into lower voltage so the laptop does not burn out. Same thing goes for PC’s only you can’t see the device that does this. Newer UPS devices come with technology that splits the energy coming from the power outlet and distributes it evenly and consistently to each device plugged into it. Now not only do you have power backup in case of energy but you have a device that is splitting the way you use your power outlet and making use of it wisely. What’s the difference between this and standard surge protector? These devices sense what type of device is plugged into it and distributes a specific allocated amount of power to the device. For example if you had a computer and a hair dryer plugged into the UPS, it would say “hmm…okay the computer needs “x” amount of voltage and the hair dryer needs “x” amount of voltage”. So you are really only using the power that you need and not wasting the power you don’t.

One last step I would like to share with you small businesses out there is to be smart about using your energy by using common sense. If you’re not using your laptop charger, unplug it. Not only is it using unneeded energy but it can also cause the charger to burn out quicker and therefore causing you more expense by purchasing a new one. If you’re not using your paper shredder do not keep it in standby mode, same idea as the charger applies to this. Common sense will be your best weapon in the war on energy conservation. Keep this in mind, “off is the new on.” Along with the tools provided by technology companies and the right IT people to deploy them, you will be able to cut energy consumption and in turn take less of a hit on your energy bill and use that’s excess capital where it will really matter in your business.