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Can PC environments be green?

by Worldchanging Seattle local blogger, Deepak Singh

editor's note: see also our archive of previous stories on green computers

As any CIO or data center manager knows, enterprise data centers are not the worlds most energy efficient beasts.  Traditional data centers often have special cooling needs and tend to consume a lot of power .  However, it isn't just about data centers.  As many people already know computers and monitors are energy hogs. What most people don't know is that they consume 588 kWh of electricity every year— Just for reference 1.5 pounds of CO2 are created for every 1 kWh of energy produced with fossil fuels. For comparison 1 kWh is equal to 1200 electric shaves and 20 microwave meals. Now multiply that by nearly 600.   Many companies are developing more energy efficient processors and eco-friendly data centers —a topic that has been covered at Worldchanging before; see below— but what about the hundreds of PCs and monitors humming away in organizations across the world.  How do IT groups in those companies become more efficient at utilizing their resources?

Welcome to Verdiem Corporation , a Seattle-based developer of power management software.  Late last year the company announced that a number of agencies had adopted its product to improve the energy consumption from their computer hardware.  Surveyor , Verdiem's flagship software is being used by a diverse set of customers ranging from the City of Boston to the National Institutes of Health (NIH).  While for many of these organizations, the primary driving factor are the cost savings associated with better energy efficiency, the end result is the same.  Lower energy usage is a welcome side effect of any cost saving measure and in the end, we all benefit, including the organizations seeking to improve their energy efficiency.

So how does Surveyor work?  It is a system that allows IT managers to monitor energy usage, manage it, and eventually reduce it. With a better understanding and reporting of energy usage patterns, it becomes possible to set up time-regulated power schemes. Additionally, it makes sure that network resources are being used efficiently, for example, in an office building where most people go home at night, an automatic power scheme could shut off all computers not being used.  According to the Surveyor FAQ, the average annual savings were more than cut in half totaling 200 kWh per PC/monitor combination.   The application has found quite a bit of use in various public sectors, educational institutions and companies, such as the City University of New York. With over 400,000 students they have prevented more than 26million tons of C02 from emitting. Just think if every large facility had this system, what would global warming look like.

Previously on Worldchanging

Further Reading
Verdiem news from the Seattle PI

Disclaimer:  The author has no affiliation with Verdiem Corporation.

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