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Archive for the ‘Green IT’ Category

This week Gizmodo highlighted ten green technologies that can help boost the value of your home, while reducing your energy bills. Among those featured was GreenSwitch, which uses wireless technology to help reduce the power consumption in homes and offices by eliminating the drain of unused electricity caused by unattended climate control, forgotten lights and “phantom power” (the energy that appliances draw when they’re not in use, but still plugged in) —saving hundreds of dollars on electricity bills and greatly reducing energy use (GreenSwitch claims a savings of 20-35% for the average home).

According to the company web site, 1.32 lbs of carbon dioxide are generated for each kilowatt hour of electricity produced and the average home uses almost 12,000 kilowatt hours of electricity annually. The claim is that by reducing the amount of electricity you use by 20%, each household can reduce 3,168 lbs of carbon dioxide. With 111 million homes in the U.S. alone, the potential impact seems staggering.

Among GreenSwitch’s biggest fans is Ed Begley Jr., a.k.a. the greenest man in Hollywood, who was also featured on Oprah this week. While many celebrities support green initiatives, Ed may be one of the few celebrities to truly walk the walk, going so far as to peddle his energy-generating bicycle for ten minutes every morning to make toast. Many (including his wife) may consider the degree to which he has taken his green lifestyle a little extreme, but you can’t help but admire his commitment (albeit an obsession) to living green and using his celebrity to inspire others to ask themselves, “What changes am I willing to make?”

Read Gizmodo’s “Green Tech Upgrades That Boost Home Values and Reduce Bills” post : http://gizmodo.com/5233176/green-tech-upgrades-that-boost-home-values-and-reduce-bills?skyline=true&s=x or watch the “Living with Ed” TV series on HGTV: http://www.livingwithed.net/ to learn about other green technologies you can implement to green your home.

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The EPA released its list of the top 50 purchasers of green power today, naming Intel as number 1 due to its purchase of 1,301,200,000 kWh of wind power a year in order to run 46% of its total operation. This is Intel’s second year in the number one spot. Other tech bellwethers on the list include Dell at number 4, Cisco at number 9, Motorola at number 44 and AMD at number 46.

Here are the Top 10 green power buyers listed by company, number of kilowatt hours bought, percent of energy needs met by green power, and kind of clean power used.

1. Intel Corporation 1,301,200,000 – 46% – Wind
2. PepsiCo 1,144,773,154 – 100% – Various
3. Kohl’s Department Stores 600,990,000 – 50% – Biogas, Biomass, Small-hydro, Solar, Wind
4. Dell Inc. 553,708,000 – 158% – Biogas, Solar, Wind
5. Whole Foods Market 526,995,000 – 100% – Solar, Wind
6. The Pepsi Bottling Group, Inc. 470,216,838 – 100% – Various
7. Johnson & Johnson 434,854,733 – 38% – Biomass, Small-hydro, Solar, Wind
8. U.S. Air Force 426,233,001 – 5% – Biogas, Biomass, Solar, Wind
9. Cisco Systems, Inc. 400,996,000 – 46% – Wind
10. City of Houston, TX 350,400,000 – 27% Govt. (Local, Municipal) Reliant Energy Wind

For more information see: http://www.treehugger.com/files/2009/04/purchase-green-power-top-50-buyers.php

Complete list: http://www.epa.gov/greenpower/toplists/top50.htm

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As expected, the celebration of Earth Day brought with it oodles of green news articles, broadcasts and discussions. But among all the chatter about the numerous issues plaguing Mother Earth, I got a chuckle thanks to an article by Jim Rapoza of eWeek.

Addressing the green technology dilemma facing geeks worldwide, Rapoza took a look at the dichotomy between the desires of tech nerds to stay ahead of the tech curve while being true to the environment. As he concedes, this can be a very lofty proposition.

“That’s because when it comes to enemies of the environment, most modern technologies rank pretty high on the list,” said Rapoza. “Technology products can consume lots of resources, both in their production and in their daily use. And, if these products are improperly disposed of, they can cause significant damage to the environment.”

As a reader of this blog, I can only assume that you are likely one of the people Rapoza’s describing. So I challenge you to take a look at the decisions you make every day! Before jumping ship to purchase the latest version of the iPhone, ask: Is it worth it? Many diehards will say yes, but just remember that striking a balance, although not always easy, is a necessary sacrifice if we hope to make the world a little better.

To read Jim Rapoza’s commentary, go to: http://www.eweek.com/c/a/Green-IT/Can-Geeks-Go-Green-And-Still-Stay-Ahead-of-the-Tech-Curve-133032/

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No doubt in recognition of Earth Day, InfoWorld today released its annual Green 15 list, which recognizes sustainable IT efforts from organizations in every industry that reduce costs and help improve the bottom line. There are big and small names on the list, which runs the gamut from Aramark, GlaxoSmithKline and Intel, to Niagara Catholic School District, Burt’s Bees, and the U.S. Postal Service.

What is particularly cool about the list’s introduction is the author’s note on the intersection between eco-friendly green, and that other kind of green that we as educated, altruistic consumers like to think we never take into consideration when making a personal purchase decision. He quite correctly notes that businesses with green tech initiatives are “realizing gains in efficiency, productivity, and cost-savings,” and that these benefits are the overriding drivers behind a large number of green IT projects – oftentimes more important than environmental intentions.

But what’s so bad about that? No matter the reason, a green IT project that produces a healthier planet and a healthier bottom line is a win for everyone. And as long as the perception of green still equals expense at this stage of the game, the intentions still matter less than the result.

http://www.infoworld.com/d/green-it/green-it-leaders-2009-050?source=NLC-DAILY

Check out the U.S. Postal Service project in particular – these guys are smart! We’re still trying to convince the world that we need optimization technology, and they’re already going leaner, meaner, and greener with it.  It’s not often that you find the feds are ahead of the game!
http://www.infoworld.com/d/green-it/us-postal-service-taps-optimization-software-slash-transportation-costs-261

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It was encouraging to see that a number of the cars on display at this year’s New York Auto Show, which took place from April 10-19, were either electric, hybrid, or gasoline-powered vehicles specially modified to be more efficient on the road. And IT industry leaders including Intel, Microsoft and others have been busy developing platforms and microprocessors designed to bring everything from mobile devices to media-intensive entertainment options to these next-generation automobiles.

Some highlights from the show include the third-generation Prius, which will feature a full electronics suite including a voice-activated navigation system, backup camera, Bluetooth hands-free capability and integrated satellite radio. The new Karma utilizes Q-DRIVE plug-in hybrid technology developed exclusively for Fisker Automotive by Quantum Technologies. A fully-charged Karma uses its electric motor for the first 50 miles of driving and burns no fuel; once the 50-mile electric range has been exceeded, the car operates as a normal hybrid vehicle. It also uses regenerative brake technology to recapture braking energy with an optional full-length solar roof that can help charge the vehicle, as well as cool the interior cabin while parked. The Cadillac Converj concept car on display at the show featured a solar panel on its roof to help take some of the load off the car’s battery and includes several next-generation accessories, such as touch-screens to control music, and cameras in place of side- and rearview mirrors that feed into small screens above the speedometer. Good stuff!

For additional information visit:

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National Environmental Education Week (EE Week), taking place from April 12-18, is the largest organized environmental education event in the United States. EE Week increases the educational impact of Earth Day by creating a full week of educational preparation, learning, and activities in K-12 classrooms, nature centers, zoos, museums, and aquariums. For more information, visit: http://www.eeweek.org/

In terms of monitoring environmental efforts in the tech world, we came across a wireless-sensor start-up called Arch Rock who launched its Energy Optimizer product line today, which combines Internet Protocol-based sensors with server software for collecting and analyzing energy data for use in commercial buildings. Getting more fine-grained information on energy usage will allow businesses to shave their energy bills by 10 to 20 percent, Arch Rock CEO Roland Acra said. The company makes a sensor for electricity, and another that measures flow rates for water and gas, as well as light, air temperature, and humidity.

For more information, visit: http://news.cnet.com/greentech/

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As the saying goes, “Life imitates art far more than art imitates life.” Or in this instance, it’s a case of artificial trees mimicking those found in nature. London-based SolarBotanic is banking on the concept of Biomimicry, which it describes as “innovation inspired by nature.” Attempting to capitalize on the designs and processes already found in nature, SolarBotanic has taken nature’s design and combined it with high-tech materials to engineer the Nanoleaf, which when put together with other Nanoleaves create a new tree species of sorts called Energy Harvesting Trees (EHTs). Capable of harvesting multiple energy sources, these EHTs take the sun, wind and heat collected in their tree canopies and convert the energies into clean electricity, without causing visual pollution or long-lasting damage to the environment or ecosystems.

The concept is promising, especially when you consider how far reaching the possibilities for this technology truly are. In late March, SolarBotanic announced a plan that would place its aesthetically pleasing EHTs along city highways throughout Europe.

“Each kilometre will be able to generate approximately 350,000 kWh per year, enough electricity to power approximately 60 average size houses and protect the environment by preventing the release of up to 500 tons of CO2 annually…Imagine if you can, highways and freeways lined with beautiful looking trees that not only create a barrier against the elements, but at the same time generate electricity 24 hours a day 7 days a week.”

Yes. Imagine, indeed!

Read more at: http://www.prweb.com/releases/2009/03/prweb2246214.htm

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