Wednesday, December 26, 2007

CSCI Reducing Computer Power Use by 50% in 3 year

Well, we're not quite to the point where our laptops are solar-powered and our server farms run on sewage. So for now, let's set our sights on some realistic intermediate goals, like the ones set forth by the good folks at The Climate Savers Computing Initiative, a consortium consisting of virtually every major player in the PC industry (Intel, AMD, Google, Microsoft, Dell, HP, Sun Microsystems... the list goes on and on). CSCI has an ambitious gameplan: reduce power consumed by computers worldwide by 50% over the next three years.

I know that sounds far out, but when you consider that the average lifespan of a computer today is somewhere between three and five years, that's 60-100% of all computers in use today replaced by 2010. The average desktop produced today wastes over half the power delivered to it, and the average server more than a third... so simply improving hardware energy efficiency, implementing virtualization, and using automated power management software might be enough to meet these goals. As part of a push to see improved technologies brought to market, CSCI has launched a catalog featuring many of the latest green offerings:

With 300 products, the Initiative’s new online catalog offers individuals and enterprises a comprehensive and searchable listing of Climate Savers Computing-compliant desktop PCs, laptops, servers, power supplies, power supply components, motherboards and power management software.

Unfortunately, this kinda celebrates obsolescence, and as computers use about as much energy being produced as they do during their lives, short life spans are also something that we need to deal with. Understandably, that's a problem that HP and Dell are less interested in solving.

Browsing through, one sees a lot of product listings containing third-party green certifications, such as EPEAT silver and gold, Energy Star 4.0, RoHS, and 80+. Although there are many consumer-level products available, including desktop and laptop offerings from HP, Dell, and Lenovo, this seems mainly geared towards IT professionals - servers, power supplies, converters, and rectifiers make up the bulk of the catalog. Though you can't do any holiday shopping on the site itself, it's a great place to start when searching for energy-efficient computers, components, and software.