Tuesday, September 30, 2008

Cell Phone Recycling is an Easy Call

The nation's leading cell phone makers, service providers, and retailers have teamed up with the US Environmental Protection Agency to answer America's call for easy cell phone recycling. As part of EPA's Plug-In to eCycling program, partners supporting the cell phone recycling campaign include AT&T Wireless, Best Buy, LG Electronics, Motorola, Nokia, Office Depot, Samsung, Sony Ericsson, Sprint, Staples, and T-Mobile.

"Thanks to our Plug-In partners' efforts, recycling an old cell phone has become a quick and easy way for Americans to help protect the environment," said Susan Bodine, assistant administrator for EPA's Office of Solid Waste and Emergency Response. "By dropping it off at a store or sending it through the mail, Americans have more recycling options today than ever before."

To kick-off the campaign, EPA released today a series of print public service announcements, "Recycle Your Cell Phone. It's An Easy Call," which highlight the convenience and environmental and social benefits of recycling a cell phone. EPA also introduced a podcast that addresses many common questions on cell phone recycling.

EPA started the campaign because many consumers still do not know where or how they can recycle their unwanted cell phones. Consequently, less than 20 percent of unwanted cell phones are recycled each year.

Recycling a cell phone offers an opportunity for everyone to help reduce greenhouse gas emissions, save energy, and conserve natural resources. An estimated 100 to 130 million cell phones are no longer being used, many languishing in storage. If Americans recycled 100 million phones, we could save enough upstream energy to power more than 194,000 U.S. households for a year. If consumers were able to reuse those 100 million cell phones, the environmental savings would be even greater, saving enough energy to power more than 370,000 U.S. homes each year.

Plug-In To eCycling is a voluntary partnership between EPA and electronics manufacturers, retailers, and service providers to offer consumers more opportunities to donate or recycle their used electronics. In 2007, as part of their commitment to the program, retailers and electronics manufacturers voluntarily recycled more than 47 million pounds of electronics, mostly computers and televisions. For example, in 2007 Staples and Office Depot both launched in-store electronics take back programs across the continental U.S. and Sony teamed up with Waste Management Inc. to expand local TV recycling opportunities. Efforts like these have helped the Plug-In program to recycle more than 142 million pounds of electronics since 2003.


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Monday, September 29, 2008

The ROI of PC Power Management

The green benefits of PC power management may have their allure, but given the state of the economy, I can't blame any IT manager for putting cost considerations first.

Therein lies the beauty of PC power management, though: I'm quite convinced the easy-to-calculate ROI makes it a no-brainer.

For those of you not in the know, PC power management software enables an IT admin to set all users' PCs and monitors to power down after a predetermined set of time -- but power up quickly when they're needed during the work day. Those solutions that include wake-on LAN capabilities can awaken machines automatically for patching or other remote maintenance, meaning those tasks can be easily completed after hours and the systems can still get their rest.

First, consider the costs of not powering down PCs when they're not in use. I've seen figures ranging from $25 to $75 for a computer/monitor combo. Why the range? I suppose it depends on what model computer and monitor you're running (LCDs use far less power than CRTs), as well as how much use your systems get in a day. If they go long spells without being touched, then there's more money to be saved from powering them down.

But let's just go with the low-end figure and say it costs you $25 to power each desktop and monitor in your organization when they're not in use.

Now let's look at the costs of software to power down PCs. I spoke with the CEO of Autonomic Software, Tony Gigliotti, today. His company offers its ANSA suites, which uses an intelligent agent for such tasks as vulnerability management, asset management, and, in line with the subject at hand, PC power management. He told me that Autonomic's Software costs around $33 per license for the first year, then $10 per license per year after that. (Notably, Autonomic isn't the only player in this space; BigFix, Verdiem Surveyor, KACE KBOX, and 1E NightWatchmanoffers offer competing solutions.)

So let’s do a little math. Say you have 500 computers at your organization, and you decide to invest in some PC power management software. If it's around $33 per license, you're looking to pay $16,500 for the software. But you're also going to be making back $25 (which, again, is a low-end estimate) per computer that year thanks to energy savings. That would mean $12,500 in savings for the first year.

Over two years, though, you'd make your money back. How so? Well, you're paying $10 per license, which totals $5,000 -- but you're saving another $12,500 (assuming power costs remain unchanged). So in two years, you'll have spent $21,500, but you'll have saved $25,000. Voila. Money in the bank.

The deal can becomes even sweeter if you happen to be served by a utility that offers rebates for purchasing PC power management licenses. PG&E, which serves Northern California, is one such utility. It offers a $15 rebate for each PC power management software license your purchase, according to Gigliotti.

Factor that into your equation, and the deal becomes even sweeter. After the rebate, you're paying a net of around $18 per license the first year, which for 500 PCs, which totals $9,000. You're saving the aforementioned $12,500 for the first year on energy costs. So in year one, you can save $3,500. The savings increase from there.

Also notable, most of the products I've mentioned don't just do PC power management; they offer other value through patch and configuration management, a point worth considering as you contemplate making the investment.


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Thursday, September 25, 2008

Make a Difference With These Green IT Tips

Green IT is taking center stage on campus as students, faculty and staff seek sustainable alternatives with both environmental and financial benefits. If you don't believe what you do makes a difference, think again. When it comes to simple decisions about the technology you use every day, the choices you make really can add up. Consider these statistics:

* Every person in America, on average, uses about SEVEN TREES worth of paper annually. That comes to 680 pounds of paper per person per year.
* E-waste is increasing dramatically each year as computers, printers, cell phones and other electronic appliances are discarded. These items may contain toxic mercury, lead or cadmium that can contaminate groundwater and lead to increased health risks. Latest numbers indicate Americans generate 16 pounds of e-waste per person per year.
* Electronic equipment and appliances left in standby mode can account for up to 10% of the total power you use in a year. This "phantom load" or "vampire power" also adds to your energy bill - about $150 during a twelve month period.

Things You Can Do

* Reduce your paper consumption. You can use WebSpace to collaborate on documents with classmates and Blackboard to turn in your class assignments. If you do need to print, print double-sided and recycle any paper you aren't going to use any more.
* Properly dispose of all e-waste. Apple and Dell both recycle computers, and Goodwill accepts unwanted computers for reuse and training purposes. Office Depot has also started an e-waste disposal program; contact a store to find out details.
* Turn off your desktop computer. It's an old myth that leaving your computer running saves anything! In fact, a computer left running all the time uses about 2,628 kilowatts of power, costing you around $262.80 per year in power. And this assumes prices don't go up! You can save over $175 per year by turning off your computer at night - which puts money in your pocket and helps the planet too.
* Use LCD monitors instead of CRT monitors. If you use a 17” LCD monitor you consume about 40 watts of power. A 17” CRT monitor uses 120 watts. You don't even need to be a math major to figure out one simple choice can save you three times the energy!
* Go mobile and go green with a laptop. Laptops beat desktops in more than convenience and mobility. Because they use only 45 watts of power they are a smart choice when compared to a desktop that uses about 300 watts. Turn off your laptop at night, and you'll only end up using about 131 kilowatts of power per year. Imagine everything can do from and with your laptop, all for about $13 per year!
* Keep checking the ITS Web site. We will be providing lots more information throughout the year about Green IT best practices, tips and suggestions.


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Wednesday, September 24, 2008

Tips To Make Computer More Green

The technology industry accounts for approximately 2 percent of global carbon dioxide emissions (mostly from the power generation), which is equivalent to the emissions generated by the aviation industry, according to Gartner Research. The popularity of the personal computer has no doubt had a major impact on our environment, and if we all start thinking about "green computing" we can collectively reduce the impact. Whether you want to help fight global warming or just save money on energy, these tips can help:

• Tip 1 — Activate the power saving options. Most computers have the ability to set power saving options for the monitor, the hard drive(s) and the entire system. To access the Power Options in Windows, click on the Start button, then on Control Panel and then on Power Options. To access the Energy Saver option in Mac OS X, choose System Preferences from the Apple menu, then choose Energy Saver from the View menu.

• Tip 2 — Turn it off! Your display screen is the biggest power consuming device, especially if it’s one of the older CRT monitors. Today’s flat panels consume less than half the power of older CRT screens, so consider replacing if you still have an old display. Hit the display’s power button when you are going to be away from your computer for a while, or, if you aren’t going to be using the computer for several hours or overnight, shut the entire system down instead of letting it go to sleep.

• Tip 3 — Optimize your computer’s performance. If your computer takes forever to boot up and seems to be getting slower for just about everything, not only is it aggravating, you’re wasting energy. Anything that’s running in the background is expending your computer’s resources and wasting energy at the same time. If you haven’t had your computer cleaned up in the past year or two, getting it serviced will lower your blood pressure and reduce the power consumption.

• Tip 4 — If you have a laptop, use it more. Laptops by design are more efficient users of electricity, so if you own both a desktop and a laptop, use the laptop as much as you can.

• Tip 5 — Get rid of the cutesy screen saver. Many improperly associate screen savers with power savers. Screen savers were designed to keep screens from “burning in” and are actually power wasters. Those cute photos of your family vacation when your screen saver kicks in cause power to be wasted by your hard drive, CPU and monitor. For the lowest power consumption, set your screen saver option to “blank.”

• Tip 6 — Dispose of old technology properly. Never dispose of any electronic device by throwing it away, as the toxic waste in all electronics is substantial. Check with your municipality for local charities, schools, churches or recycling programs to donate or recycle your old electronics properly. Tips for scrubbing your personal information from an old computer before donating or recycling can be found.

• Tip 7 — Keep it digital. The popularity of digital music downloads has reduced the number of CDs manufactured by the music industry. Using an iPod or other MP3 players instead of burning CDs reduces waste. Instead of using a fax machine, scan a document so it can be e-mailed. Businesses can set up a fax server instead of a traditional fax machine so all incoming faxes are digitized automatically and save the paper. Instead of printing out something so you can read it, read it on the screen.


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Tuesday, September 23, 2008

Go green with the Advent Eco PC

Every smug eco warrior knows that green gadgets are where it’s at. But fortunately you don’t need to eschew soap and carp on about ‘The Man’ to buy PC World’s awesome new Advent Eco PC. Just a going concern about saving the planet and a love of saving money will do.

The new machine, which you can nab from today, packs in a self–cooling system without using a fan, keeping power down to just 25W. That’s less than your average non–green light bulb, which takes up a relatively hefty 60W.

But what about the PC itself? Surely it’s bobbins? Well, no. You get a Core 2 Duo processor, 2GB of RAM and a 160GB HDD. Plus Vista Premium, but let’s gloss over that shall we.

PC World reckons that if you leave the Eco PC in energy saver mode, it’ll cost you just £8 a year to run. Seeing as you’re probably being given a seeing to by the electricity board at the moment, that’s a corking deal.

The whole thing tots up to £599. Which if you ask us is awesome. Green and one for the credit crunch? It’s definitely a goer.


Adent Eco PC
Price: £599
On sale: Now
Contact: PC World


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Monday, September 22, 2008

Lenovo Introduces Six New Green Computer Monitors

Lenovo Introduces Six New Green Computer Monitors. Lenovo today began a sweeping update of its ThinkVision desktop LCDs that all focus on more eco-friendly performance. The 17-, 19-, 22-, and 24-inch displays largely use a new technique that improves the amount of light reaching the LCD while cutting down on the amount of backlighting needed, improving their power use between 30 to 60 percent depending on the model. A new range-topping model, the L2440x Wide, also uses an LED backlight and a low-halogen screen that let it use just 29W of power even with its large 24-inch panel.

The 1920x1200 display also carries features that have been rare or non-existent in Lenovo's better LCDs, such as DisplayPort input, full pivoting and a four-port USB hub. A second variant of the 24-inch model known as the L2440p Wide carries the same size, resolution and USB ports but drops DisplayPort and switches to a conventional cold-cathode fluorescent backlight to lower prices.

The more conventional displays include the 4:3 ratio L1700p, the 1440x900 L1940p Wide and its European-only equivalent L1940, and the 1680x1050 L2240p Wide. The company is unspecific on details but claims an average pixel response time of 5ms for its displays and says that contrast ratios peak at 1,000:1 on some models, including 24-inch screens.

Launches start on September 19th, when the L1700p ships in the US for $240 and the L1940 reaches Europe with varying prices. Other prices aren't mentioned except for the L2440x Wide, which tops the line at $750.


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Thursday, September 18, 2008

Green PC Buying Guide

It's not easy being green -- especially when it comes to computers.

While for years the computer industry has been touting green components and working to reduce the power used by individual components, a typical PC with monitor still uses about as much electricity as three or four 100 watt light bulbs.

Consider that many personal computers are left on all the time, and you're looking at some serious power consumption -- and some hefty electricity bills.

What you can do to reduce the power consumption of your current computer may be limited.

But when it's time to look for a new machine, it'll pay to keep an eye on how much power the machine will use. That's because there's never been a greater disparity between the power used by energy-sipping models and that used by the most powerful PCs.

Here's how you can distinguish the green PC from the rest.

Computer Case:

The size of a computer case doesn't have to mean anything about how power-efficient a computer is, but it's often a clue. Larger cases are typically used when heat dissipation is an issue, and heat dissipation is a concern when power-hungry components are at work.

Smaller cases are often used to house lower-power or energy-efficient components. So, while smaller doesn't always mean better, it's a safe bet to assume that it is.

Notebooks -- the smallest of all personal computers -- are typically the most power efficient as well. They are designed from the ground up to be able to perform standard computing tasks while drawing a minimum of power, and they go into power-saving mode more quickly than a standard desktop, since at times they have to run on a battery. So, notebook users today can almost always boast of having the greenest computers.


You might think that the latest crop of powerful processors are also the most power-hungry. But you'd be wrong.

Advanced manufacturing techniques have not only allowed the big chip makers to cram two or even four processing cores on a chip that used to house only one, but the latest dual-core processors use about half as much energy as earlier models. Quad-core processors aren't quite so energy efficient, but they're still better than the older generation of chips.

So, if you're looking for a green desktop, look for mid-range chips from the latest lines from Intel and AMD.

Intel's new Core 2 Duo vPro line improves upon the already stellar power-saving features of the original Core 2 Duo line, and AMD's Phenom processor with its "cool and quiet" technology puts energy-savings in the forefront.

Power Supply:

Power supplies -- the piece of a computer that supplies power to the rest of the parts in a computer system are not a component that computer buyers generally pay much attention to. But for those buying green, that needs to change.

It's true that the amount of energy that a power supply draws depends greatly upon what exactly is installed in the computer. But, power supplies themselves have often been energy-wasters in the past.

If an earlier generation power supply had to provide 300 watts of power to the components in a PC, for example, it might actually use 500 watts in order to produce that power. The industry's answer has been the relatively new 80 Plus certification programme, which requires power supplies that wish to wear the 80 Plus logo to be "at least" 80 per cent efficient.

In other words, a power supply that needed to provide 300 watts of power to the components in a computer could draw a maximum of 375 watts in order to gain the 80 Plus seal of approval. So, when you're buying a green PC, look for computers that boast an 80 Plus logo.


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Wednesday, September 17, 2008

Lenovo Joins Climate Group, Introduces Green Initiatives

Yesterday, PC maker Lenovo joined Climate Group, a non-profit organization dedicated to advancing business and government leadership on climate change. In addition, the company announced the launch of a program to provide its customers with access to electronic waste services and renewable energy incentives, reports Greener Computing.

As part of the new action, Lenovo is partnering with the Together initiative to offer e-coupons. The company will make a donation to renewable energy products for every one of its notebooks sold using an e-coupon. Lenovo also has a partnership with ECO International so that select Lenovo and IBM products are eligible for recyling at no cost.

Internally, the company set a voluntary goal to reduce carbon emissions by 10 percent between 2007 and 2012. To do this, Lenovo is increasing its use of energy conservation measures and green materials and technology. Lenovo is also looking to develop energy-efficient products.

The company will release the Lenovo ThinkVision L2440x LED monitor later this week. The 24-inch monitor uses 60 percent less power than traditional LCD displays, reports PC Advisor. Lenovo claims the monitor is mercury-, arsenic- and PVC-free.

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Friday, September 12, 2008

How green is your PC?

Green Computer, Green PC
The next environmental trend is "green IT". Computers may not produce plumes of smoke but they do consume surprisingly large amounts of electricity.

The computer industry is responsible for almost 2% of global carbon emissions, according to technology research group Gartner, mainly from PCs, servers and cooling systems.

Google has more than 500000 servers in 40 data centres. It has never revealed how much greenhouse gas it generates, but the global Internet company says it now offsets this through a mixture of renewable energy, increased energy efficiency and other projects.

Google is not alone in switching to green IT. SA companies are close behind in finding more energy-efficient ways of minimising the effect of technology usage on the environment.

“It’s not only factories that have to become more energy efficient, it’s a whole supply-chain issue,” says Sasol environmental team manager Fred Goede. Goede, who was part of the UN’s Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change that won the 2007 Nobel Peace Prize, says energy efficiency is one of the few ways to address climate change and the energy shortages SA is facing.

Goede says it takes years for power stations to be built, but the need to construct them is reduced if power consumption can be cut. Becoming a green-orientated company may be in fashion, but local firms have discovered it is not that simple when it comes to technology.

“It’s not easy to motivate for energy efficiency,” says Telkom’s Melanie Kockott. The returns on investing in energy-savings schemes are not great and they often have to be sold as long-term investments. Large companies’ dependence on computers have made it difficult for them to reduc electricity consumption.

Banking computer systems have to be up 99,99% of the time. “A lot of computing power is needed and it needs to be guaranteed,” says Absa Capital chief information officer Ian Kriegler.

Despite these challenges, Kriegler says when Absa Capital moved to a new building in Johannesburg it introduced energy-efficient measures. It has even separated the heat-generating central processing units from its trading desks, so they can be water-cooled.

Standard Bank has implemented similar measures at its new Midrand data centre, but says there is no single solution to reducing energy consumption. Standard Bank’s data centre uses a mixture of air-and-water-based cooling systems.

Derek Smith, the group’s director of infrastructure technology design, says companies implement a range of changes to reduce electricity consumption:

* Having a pop-up screen asking users to switch off their computers if they have been idle;

* Clear databases of unnecessary content because the more data they contain, the more hardware is used in storing them;

* Put pressure on computer hardware suppliers to provide equipment that is more energy-efficient.

SA’s energy policies have not encouraged efficient-energy usage, says Gartner analyst Simon Mingay.

He says that this is illustrated when European visitors to SA point out that local buildings are colder than those in Europe. Stringent European building codes reduce the amount of heat escaping from buildings, making them more energy-efficient than those in SA.

Mingay says the relative cheapness of electricity in SA has led to slackness regarding energy-efficient building codes.


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Thursday, September 11, 2008

Tangent Debuts Green Computer

Silicon Valley-based company, Tangent, which provides Computing solutions engineered specifically for commercial, industrial, and healthcare applications, has launched Evergreen 17, an ultra slim, all-in-one touch screen "Green PC" which the company claims to be environmentally-friendly, saving both energy and cost.

Designed to help schools and government entities achieve their Green Energy Reduction Initiatives, this new PC Evergreen 17 is sleek and lightweight and includes an optional 5-wire resistive touch screen.

"Not only do users experience computing with a touch screen LCD in a space-saving form factor, they also get industry leading power efficiency at 24 watts and 72 percent less energy usage than Energy Star 4.0 limits," said Douglas Monsour, president at Tangent.

"This translates into cost-savings while, at the same time, helping the environment."

The Evergreen 17 comes with a Via Eden 1.0 GHz (fan-less) processor or the ViaC7 1.50 GHz (low noise fan). The operating system is either Windows XP Professional or Windows XP Embedded for server and Web-based computing. In addition to these, a Linux version is also available. The PC has a 10/100/1000 Ethernet onboard and optional wireless LAN as well as memory of up to 2GB DDR SDRAM.

The Evergreen 17 can also be ordered with an optional solid-state drive to provide a 100 percent solid-state system with no moving parts to fail and customers have an option of choosing from 1, 2, 4, 16, 32, or 64GB solid-state drives. .

Ideal for server-based and browser-based applications, the PC is equipped with a high brightness TFT panel and resistive touch. It weighs 15.8 lbs. and is only 2.25 inches in depth.

The product is available with a one-year parts and labor warranty and optional one year on-site service.

Related Post:

Tangent Launches Green Power-Efficient Computer

Source: green.tmcnet.com/topics/green/articles/38637-tangent-debuts-green-computer.htm

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Wednesday, September 10, 2008

Intel launches 'green' Xeon processors

Moving a step closer to fulfill the environmental footprint of its products, Intel Corp. has released four halogen-free 45nm Xeon processors and said all previous versions of the Xeon 5200 and 5400 series are now halogen-free.

The company said the new Xeons are compatible with the existing Intel dual processor platforms that have been launched in the market since 2006.

The halogen-free chips consist of three new quad-core Xeon 5400 series processors like X5492, X5470 and L5430. The X5492, the fastest processor, has a clock speed of 3.4GHz, while the low-power L5430 uses only 50W or 12.5W per core, according to Intel.

The X5270, the fourth chip, is a dual-core Xeon that runs as low as 80W with frequencies as high as 3.5GHz.

Intel stressed the processors provide better energy efficiency with the use of 45nm implementation and transistors that use a hafnium-based high-k metal gate formula.

"Customers using the new Xeon processors will not only benefit from greater performance and energy efficiency within existing platforms, but they will be the very first to use Intel's halogen-free technology," said Kirk Skaugen, VP and general manager, server platforms group, Intel.

Systems vendors giving support for these new processors are Asus Computer Inc., Dell, Fujitsu, Fujitsu-Siemens, Gigabyte, Hewlett-Packard, IBM Corp., Microstar International Co. Ltd, NEC Corp., Quanta Corp., Rackable Systems Inc., Sun Microsystems, Supermicro, Tyan Computer Corp. and Verari Systems.

"The new 5400 series processors are available now, while the X5270 will be available this fall," Intel said.


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Tuesday, September 9, 2008

Older Demos Use Green Products Most Often

Bucking the belief that environmentalism is a youth movement, a new survey finds that male and female consumers over age 55 are the most prolific users of green products in the United States, reports Retailer Daily.

Groups age 55+ reported above average usage of environmentally friendly home goods, according to a survey from ICOM Information & Communications.

Leading the way is the 55-59-year-old female demographic - more than twice as likely as the average consumer to use green products. Males age 65-69 are next - more than 1.7 times as likely to use than the average American.

Among the key survey findings:

* Green products have penetrated into most American homes: 61.9 percent of respondents said they use some type of environmentally friendly product.
* Asked why they elect to purchase eco-friendly goods, the leading response - by 33 percent of the group - selected the self-gratifying "makes me feel good about myself" respons.
* Asked why they elect not to purchase or use green products, 50 percent of non-adopters cited high prices as the main factor. The next reason selected was "I do not believe that they are that much better for the environment," at 17 percent.
* Of those who said they do not use environmentally friendly products, both male and female demographics age 25-34 years were among the "least likely to use" when compared with the national average.

"While the numbers show that significant inroads have been made with the older demographics, they also suggest untapped potential in prime younger consumer groups to engage them with eco-friendly products," remarked ICOM VP of Marketing Peter Meyers.

"Younger demographics are still green - that is, inexperienced when it comes to engaging with environmentally friendly goods," Meyers added. "The data suggests that targeting these groups with more calculated offers — such as at slightly more aggressive price points, appealing to their personal values or reinforcing the true benefits for the environment — could introduce green products to a new, promising consumer base."

ICOM conducted the household products survey in March and April 2008 with 6,036 people responding nationwide.


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Friday, September 5, 2008

Server replacement 'key for Green IT'

Replacing servers over three years old is essential for all firms looking to cut costs and reduce their carbon emissions, it has been claimed.

According to IT hosting company Memset, the power requirements of basic rackmount servers have halved in the last 18 months, while their performance has doubled, meaning that it makes environmental and economic sense to replace machines after two to three years.

The firm went on to say a Green IT alternative is to subcontract server infrastructure and environmental impact to a carbon neutral IT outsourcing provider.

Chief executive of charity Computer Aid Tony Roberts added that recycled and refurbished machines can be donated to schools in Africa, where there is a growing demand for new technology.

Earlier this week, IT infrastructure specialist RichardsoNEyres claimed IT outsourcing is vital for Green IT provision and firms looking to improve their environmental position while cutting cut costs should consider server consolidation.


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Wednesday, September 3, 2008

Green PC: Greener, Leaner Components

The green PC uses all lead-free components, starting with the Antec Solo case. Made mostly from plastics, this light-as-a-pillow case uses the ATX form factor, but the Intel DG965SS motherboard fits into it just fine. In fact, there's an added benefit to using microATX components in an ATX case: The airflow is just a notch better, letting me set the adjustable-rate case fan on the slowest speed without any worries about the CPU overheating.

I installed a Seagate Barracuda 7200.10 160GB SATA hard drive, for two reasons. First, this single-platter drive uses less energy than a two-platter drive would. And second, SATA uses slightly less energy than IDE. The 7200.10 drive is lead-free, of course, and smaller, so it will leave less hazardous waste when it's thrown out. Next year, both Samsung and Seagate will introduce new drives with more power-saving features, cycling down faster when not in use. They'll be more energy-efficient, too. If you've got the money, upgrade your green PC with a better drive once they are released.

The Sony DRU-830A DVD drive was my top pick for optical storage and playback, mostly because this dual-format burner let me get away with just one optical drive. It consumes a little more energy (just a few watts) than a SATA drive, but you can write both DVD-R and DVD+R discs, as well as CDs, and it's lead-free. For RAM, the system gets two 1GB Crucial DDR2 modules. I debated using just one module, which would use slightly less energy and is certainly possible with the DG965SS motherboard, but decided that would reduce performance too much and make the system less useful.

Finally, I used a trendy Thermaltake Big Typhoon heat sink and fan combo, which looks like a souped-up motorcycle engine. Once again, it's all lead-free, and I wanted to make sure this PC never stuttered or faltered. Also, unlike some Zalman fans I've tried, the Big Typhoon really is whisper-quiet; hence my system should sound as lean as it looks and operates. All told, the box is definitely a bare-bones machine with no fancy memory card ports, no multiple drives for high-end RAID configurations, and no power-plant depleting DX10 graphics cards. But, honestly, it's a PC I'd use for most everyday tasks. And, as we said before, this PC can be easily upgraded at any time to a more powerful configuration.


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Tuesday, September 2, 2008

Dell Becomes Greenest Technology Company

Dell recently revealed that it has met its carbon neutral goal ahead of schedule, achieving a major milestone in its commitment to be the greenest technology company on the planet and fulfilling a pledge to operate efficiently, maximize investment in green power and responsibly offset remaining impacts.

Dell met its goal early by implementing an aggressive global energy-efficiency campaign and increasing purchases of green power, verified emission reductions and renewable energy certificates. Since 2004, the company’s annual investment in green electricity from utility providers, including wind, solar and methane-gas capture, has grown from 12 million kWh to 116 million kWh, an increase of nearly 870 percent. Earlier this year, the company announced that its global headquarters campus is powered by 100 percent green energy.

Alongside this announcement, Dell also said that it is making additional investments in wind power in the U.S., China and India. Combined with green electricity purchases from utility providers, this equates to 645 million kWh and the avoidance of more than 400,000 metric tons of CO2e.

The company also claims of already saving more than USD 3 million annually and avoiding nearly 20,000 tons of CO2 through facilities improvements and a global power-management initiative. “We’re driving ‘green’ into every aspect of our global business,” said Dell Chairman and CEO Michael Dell.

Dell currently ranks ahead of HP, IBM and Apple in the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency’s Green Power Partnership Fortune 500 registry and is working alongside utility and government partners to encourage greater supply of green energy.

"Dell's success in meeting its carbon neutral goal in less than a year is impressive and should serve as a model for other U.S. companies to follow," said Mindy S. Lubber, president of Ceres, a leading coalition of investors and environmental groups that worked closely with Dell on its climate change strategy.


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Monday, September 1, 2008

Is that PC Green Enough?

How green is that product you're about to buy? Now you can find out. Distributor Ingram Micro Inc. on Tuesday launched a new service that helps solution providers easily identify products that pass the environmental test.

If your customer is a stickler about that whole environmental thing, now you know where to go.

Here's how it works: When you look up the distributor's product database, you can check for green products ratings where applicable. To set the ratings, Ingram Micro is tapping the Electronic Product Environmental Assessment Tool, commonly known as EPEAT, and managed by the nonprofit Green Electronics Council. Plenty of information is available at epeat.net for anyone who is interested.

Products are rated on their environmental merits and ranked as Bronze, Silver or Gold, with Gold, of course, being the greenest of all. Hmmm... it might have made more sense to go with, say, tan, brown and green. Naming the rankings after the precious metals we've been stripping off the earth seems wrong.

But that's not Ingram Micro's fault; those are the rankings EPEAT uses. EPEAT takes into account 51 criteria, such as reduced levels of hazardous materials, amount of renewable materials and recycled content, to come up with its ratings. Twenty-eight of the criteria are optional. Products included in the ratings system include desktop and laptop computers, monitors and power supplies.

Servers are not yet included, but that's a matter of time. Presumably when the Environmental Protection Agency finalizes its Energy Star specifications for servers, which it is in the process of doing, EPEAT will include them in its ratings. Energy Star rates the energy efficiency of a range of products, from light fixtures to ceiling fans to dishwashers.

Bob Laclede, vice president and general manager for government sales at Ingram Micro, notes that federal agencies have started requiring EPEAT-registered products for applicable purchases.

"By having these designations in our product database, Ingram Micro is providing the green information needed for our resellers to include on bids for government contracts," he says. "It also assists others in identifying environmentally friendly products for their end users."

Jeff Omelchuck, executive director for the Green Electronics Council and EPEAT program manager, says the partnership with Ingram Micro will help expand the green IT market.

As corporate buyers become more attuned to the Green IT ideal, they will put pressure on their IT equipment suppliers to sell them environmentally friendly products. The Ingram Micro service will come in handy in those cases.


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