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.
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!
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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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Certainly the entire world hasn’t jumped on the green bus yet, but it is probably safe to say most of us are growing more conscious of our energy use. And given the state of the economy, saving a few dollars doesn’t sound too bad, either. Much of the media glitz around green thus far has hyped the cost-savings benefits, but it still seems like most eco-friendly steps wind up loading an additional expense on adopters. Of course, this isn’t to say some of these efforts aren’t worth the cost, but no green behavior will ever go mainstream if – over the long term – it costs us more than it saves. Bottom line, right?
New (and very cool) company Visible Energy is looking to change this rather self-defeating trend with a new – and free! – tool that allows you to track your energy usage and compare it with other homes, schools, and businesses in your world. When you learn exactly how you are using energy, you can learn how to reduce it. And reducing energy use means saving money, which is a benefit on which everyone can agree!
The company ultimately hopes that showing consumers their energy use and comparing it to those around them will empower them to change behavior for the better – not only to save money, but to reduce their carbon footprints and adopt an environmentally friendly lifestyle that saves us all in the long run.
Have to like this idea! Smart and simple. Download the free tool now and poke around at www.visibleenergy.com.
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Can saving energy be as cool as reversing time or saving Earth from an alien onslaught? A new startup certainly thinks so. Adaptive Meter, creator of web apps StickyChicken and Twitterlike, is currently developing an interactive game that pits users against each other in bets on others’ energy usage. Players will use smart-meter data from consenting participants, and will be able to stake virtual cash on whether they can reduce their energy use. They will also be able to trade virtual money for real rewards, and users without a smart meter can use this virtual wealth to encourage improved behavior in others. earth2tech reports that at its Green: Net Conference last week, the company (which presented as one of the “Startup LaunchPad 10”) asked “Wouldn’t it be cool if every time we unplugged an appliance or flipped a switch, somebody noticed?”
We’ll have to see if consumers agree. As earth2tech notes, maybe a cool idea for the next Facebook app? I can think of a few eco-cool former classmates who’d be happy to find Lost Joules. But will serious online gamers really pay top dollar for a game that monitors their energy use? And that’s assuming Adaptive Media will gain access to the data – another challenge to its potential success.
Place your own bets on this one: http://earth2tech.com/2009/03/29/playing-the-energy-conservation-game/#more-27337
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