Sunday, February 15, 2009

Green IT - economics meets environment

IT and Energy
IT industry is amongst the faster growing consumers of energy and thus source of indirect emissions through electricity use. There's huge potential for energy efficiency in this area and thankfully wise people have taken notice and are already onto the task. 

"With a 10 percent improvement of overall energy efficiency in data centers by 2011, approximately 10 billion kilowatt-hours would be saved, equivalent to electricity consumed by 1 million U.S. households annually. This energy cutback would reduce carbon dioxide emissions by 6.5 million tons per year—equal to the removal of nearly 1.3 million cars from the road annually."

U.S. Department of Energy





Here's a brief discussion on the major players who can help the environment through economics of energy efficiency - 

Corporations through 'Green Grid' - 
Recognizing the potential to save energy and help environment in this regard, a consortium of leading IT co.s including AMD and Hewlett Packard founded the Green Grid. The idea behind the GreenGrid is to make IT more energy efficient. The initiatives range from reducing electricity used to run the servers in a data center as well as reduce the energy required to mantain sub zero temperatures in the data centers. The green grid has alliances with - The American Society of Heating, Refrigerating and Air-Conditioning Engineers (ASHRAE), US Department of Energy (DOE), US Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) et. al and they work on developing standards for energy efficient IT operations. 
 
IT Consulting Companies -
Software Services companies like India's Wipro IT Consulting Services recognize the upcoming need for such solutions and are poised to realize the business potential in this arena. These companies are offering specialized consulting services to make IT operations more energy and environment efficient. 
Here's an example of potential energy and emissions savings as projected by Wipro - 

At a time when companies are looking for ways to reduce cost, savings to the tune of 80% will surely catch attention.  As this business area grows there can be a huge requirement for skilled professionals with experience and training to implement such initiatives. 





Non Profit Groups - 
An organization working on imparting training to professionals in this arena is the 'Environmental Defence Fund'. Through their Climate Corps internship program they tie up with companies looking for improvement in their energy profile to recruit summer interns from variuos MBA programs all over US, impart them training to optimize various business operations (in IT and other sectors as well) and send them to these companies over the summer to produce tangible results (http://www.edf.org/page.cfm?tagID=31477)

IT is growing as a big consumer of energy. There's an intent in the industry to become more responsible in energy usage, as well as making green choices about the source of energy. In current economic conditions the initatives to purchase green energy for IT have been hurt, but at the same time the tough economic environment has accentuated the essentiality for IT companies to be more responsible, more efficient with energy.

1 comment:

David Wogan said...

You bring up a really good point. A lot of focus in the news and media is on reducing petroleum, driving less, turning off our lights, etc... but not much attention is brought to our increased reliance on the internet and data centers. These really do consume a lot of energy.

We like to think that telecommuting, email and our Blackberry's have made us more productive and maybe avoided some trips to the office, but they don't come free.