HP, IBM, Microsoft, Others Launch Hi-Tech Energy Efficiency Initiative

by | Feb 27, 2007

Intel, Advanced Micro Devices, Dell, HP, IBM, Microsoft, AMC, SprayCool, Rackable Systems, VMware, and Sun Microsystems have launched an initiative called The Green Grid that aims to develop standards, measurement methods, processes and technologies to improve the energy efficiency of high technology products, Red Herring reports.

While the group includes vendors covering all aspects of data center technology, organizers are now inviting customers to join, Computerworld reports. About 1,200 people have already signed up on the site to receive more information about the group, and 49 percent of that number have identified themselves as end users or members of groups representing them.

But not everyone agrees on the end result of the consortium’s work. “I don’t think we’re going to be saving energy here,” Joel Makower, executive editor of GreenBiz, told Red Herring. “We’re just going to be using it much more efficiently to serve even more bandwidth, but in the process use much more energy.”

A general membership in the Green Grid will cost $5,000 annually and includes access to all technical documentation produced by the Green Grid, access to intellectual property licensing and other benefits. A contributing membership, for $25,000, also includes an invitation to join technology working groups, review technology documentation at each phase of development and contribute to shaping the future direction of the group.

Energy usage is a growing concern for the high technology sector. U.S. data centers and their associated infrastructure consumed five million kW of energy in 2005, the equivalent of five 1,000 MW power plants, according to a recent report from AMD, a member of The Green Grid.

The Green Grid has released three white papers that offer perspectives on data center efficiency issues as well as efficiency baseline recommendations.

Data Ceneter Energy Use Background: 

Government involvement in computer efficiency is increasing. Earlier this year, in a letter to computing-industry representatives, the EPA said it “is initiating its process to develop an Energy Star specification for enterprise computer servers. President Bush signed a bill that urges Americans to buy energy-efficient servers, and the Department of Energy has begun trying to get involved in helping companies become more energy-efficient. Technology companies including Google, IBM, Microsoft, Cisco, Sun Microsystems and Hewlett-Packard met with DOE officials last month to discuss fears that volatile and expensive energy could hinder the tech sector.

Computer companies have also been rolling out new energy-efficient products recently. Dell has unveiled two PowerEdgeservers that the company says underscores its commitment to environmental responsibility and its goal to design the most energy-efficient products.

Dell’s not alone – manufacturers such as IBM, HP and Sun have made recent announcements concerning the energy efficiency of their systems. IBM recently announced that it would launch a new business unit in 2007 that will focus on environmental technologies. Hewlett-Packard announced a new energy management system, dubbed HP Dynamic Smart Cooling, that’s designed to deliver 20 to 45 percent savings in cooling energy costs. In addition, Sun has unveiled its Project BlackBox.

Most recently, Pacific Gas and Electric Company announced that it is leading a nationwide coalition of utilities to tackle energy efficiency programs for the high tech sector, focusing on data centers and incentives for energy efficiency.

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