Thursday, February 19, 2009

Green Calculators

It’s well known that going green saves money as well as dwindling resources. But how much green, of each kind, is saved?

If you’re not the math type, never fear – several vendors offer "green calculators" that will do the hard work for you. While doing some research for a sister publication, I came across a number of different calculators for finding out how much green you can save through virtualization, and other common-sense steps.

# Novell’s PlateSpin, which makes a number of green technology virtualization products, has a detailed 'go-green' consolidation-based calculator. Simply input factors like number of physical servers, average power consumption per server, cost per kWh, processor utilization before and predicted utilization after consolidation, etc. The calculator spits out at the other end savings in kWh and dollars.

Note that these are rough estimates only. Your mileage can, and almost certainly will, vary, perhaps significantly. But it serves as a good benchmark.

Other large virtualization vendors have similar green calculators, including VMware, which is more basic than PlateSpin’s.

# Avaya has an interesting take on going green. It offers a calculator to tote up the environmental savings by turning commuters into telecommuters. It claims that working from home three days per week saves about 200 gallons of gas per year.

# IT consultancy 1E has an "Energy Savings Calculator" that computes the greening of your business from the simple act of turning off computers not in use. It even translates the savings into reduced carbon emissions and trees.

# The Uptime Institute bills itself as a vendor-neutral organization concerned with increasing efficiency in enterprise settings. It publishes a “True TCO Calculator,” which acts as a guide for building a high-density, high-performance, green data center. This would be of more value to companies starting from scratch, rather than those making changes to an existing data center.

# Many computers already have power-saving measures built in, but not activated, in the form of Energy Star-approved computers. The Website Greener Computing has an Excel spreadsheet available to calculate how much greener each computer could be if the power-saving features were activated.

# On a personal level, Google has started the "U.K. Carbon Footprint Project." Going through its calculator gives you an idea of how much pollution you and your household contribute to Great Britian. Then, you can input your location and statistics, and compare your usage vs. others who have done the same. Different-colored balloons separate the good from the bad -- from the ugly. Very cool.