Friday, April 22, 2011

Keep your IT friends close and keep your finance friends closer

I attended the Green IT and Cloud Computing 2.0 Summit this week in Washington D.C. on behalf of Climate Savers Computing, and there was an overarching theme coming from the event: It is good to be green, but it is better to be cheap. Now, that’s simplifying things considerably, so let me further explain.

The Green IT Council invited me to keynote at their second annual Green IT event where companies like Forrester, Microsoft, Intel, HP, CompTIA, CSC, CA and many others presented on technical and management-focused topics as they relate to sustainability.

My keynote “Power Management: Promises Unfulfilled,” addressed the challenges of implementing power management in the early days, or, as I fondly refer to it, pain management. The issue is once bitten, twice shy. As a result, many people still assume that power management isn’t effective. The truth is, unlike systems of the ‘90s and early ’00s when “Sleep” could mean “Die,” current generation hardware and operating systems work well and easily. I discussed in my last two blogs the steps to take to easily enable PM on your desktop or laptop.

At the show, everyone talked about and agreed that IT departments, procurers and facilities people think its great to be green and sustainable, it just isn’t a priority. The key to traction for Green IT and for sustainability to go mainstream is to get the decision-making trifecta – the CFO, the CIO/CTO and the procurement manager – to align on strategic imperatives. The short story is tie green initiatives to cost reduction. Easier said than done.

CSCI hosted an executive roundtable at the conclusion of the Green IT Summit to discuss how CFOs and CTOs can find common ground by discussing their challenges and successes in implementing PM. The discussion was interesting and enlightening, for me and for the people around the table.

All this discussion wraps up on a significant point – Earth Day – which reminds us that it is important to take a step back and see the color of green – not just greenbacks.

Please, do what you can to honor this planet of ours and remember: power management is one easy step toward that.

George Goodman

Thursday, March 24, 2011

Earth Hour 2011

This Saturday, March 26th, at 8:30 p.m. I will be turning off the nonessential lights in my home in celebration and support of Earth Hour 2011. In case you didn’t know, Earth Hour is a global climate awareness event organized by the World Wildlife Fund, held around the world on March 26 at 8:30 p.m. local time. Switching off your lights, and, for that matter, powering down your computers, is a symbolic effort that demonstrates your commitment to conserve energy and help the planet.

We’re so excited to celebrate Earth Hour that we decided to start early. CSCI, in affiliation with Google, Microsoft and Sony, have created the CSCI Earth Hour Twitter Giveaway!

The Giveaway is happening now through 8:00 p.m. on Saturday, March 26, and I strongly encourage you to share this with your company’s and your individual social networks to help us spread the word. And, hey, the prizes aren’t so bad either. You are eligible to win the following (except anything your company is sponsoring or giving away):

  • Google Android Nexus S phone (wireless phone & data service not included)
  • Microsoft Hohm Blue Line Innovations PowerCost Monitor®, a home energy monitoring device
  • SONY VAIO® ECO Series laptop, ENERGY STAR® qualified and EPEAT Gold certified

There are only three simple rules to enter:

  1. Make a pledge to save electricity and reduce greenhouse gas emissions through power-efficient computing.
  2. Follow @CSCI_Tweets on Twitter.
  3. Retweet an @CSCI_Tweets post or tell us you pledged — just sign your tweet with #CSCIEarthHour.

Winners will be chosen at random but must have completed all three steps of the entry process. Winners will be notified on Monday, March 28, via email.

I hope to see you following @CSCI_Tweets. Good luck and, as always, thank you for your support.

George G. Goodman, Executive Director

Friday, March 18, 2011

Power Management 101

It can be dangerous for me to be sick. Today I was voiceless and feeling ill. And bored.

Like any bored power-management obsessed person, I did some experiments. Using a "Kill A Watt EZ Electricity Usage Monitor" from P3 International Corporation, I measured the power used by three of the electronic devices I had at hand: an LCD Monitor, my family's "gaming" laptop, and my personal "thin/light" laptop. The results are in the spreadsheet clip below:

The takeaways:
  • No surprise, for all of the devices turning them off is the best and most efficient — and most affordable — thing to do when they're not in use.
  • The monitor:
    • If you turn down the brightness on your LCD monitor, you really do save some energy (those backlights are significant electricity consumers). How bright do you need to have your monitor in the place where you use it? Brighter isn't always needed.
    • If the computer that drives the monitor is off or even Suspended ("Sleeping"), turn off the monitor. There is a big difference between the "Off" and "On, no input" electricity use.
  • The laptops:
    • Here's the big pitch for power management. In both the high-end gaming laptop and the more modest thin/light model, Suspend will save half or more of the electricity consumed by the same laptop sitting in an idle, awake state. If the energy and cost savings aren't compelling to you, consider the total savings when you have 10 of these (in your small business) or 10,000 of them (in your enterprise).
    • Even better than Suspend is Hibernate. This really is the same as being "Off," but when you start it up again your desktop and applications will be right where you left them. If you avoid turning your computer completely off, because of inconvenience then Hibernating it might just fill the bill.
How much can you save without changing what you can get done? Quite a lot, actually.

Tuesday, March 15, 2011

Singing an old song.

I’ve hesitated to write this entry. After all, I am preaching to the choir as many CSCI Board, Sponsor, Associate and Affiliate members have all said this and ‘kicked at open doors’. I think it bears repeating, however, and I ask us all to evangelize to coworkers, friends, family, and neighbors.

Simply put - too much energy is being wasted and too much carbon is being released which can be avoided through simple power management of computers and other electronic devices. An informal and far-from-statistically-sound survey I did this past week suggests that a significant chunk of people in “IT” and a majority of non-IT folks don’t turn off their computers. It's just a habit; A habit that undermines what CSCI is about. Let's break it.

Read this, act, and share with your network of people:

1. Turn off your computer, monitor, printer…and any other peripherals when finished for the day. If a computer system is left powered on while eating dinner, watching TV, talking with family, etc. - that’s a lot o’ energy going nowhere. Its easy to automate this process too, for example, Apple computers let you schedule a time to turn off and turn back on. Of course, just shutting down and hitting On/Off switches works well too.

2. Use the power management capabilities of your computer so that those times you’re away at a meeting, on a phone call, etc. and the computer’s not being used, take advantage of a lower power use state and save energy, carbon, and money. If you’re concerned about how reliable “Suspend” and such things are, take heart in knowing that all the computer and operating system makers have worked hard in the past years to make power management solid, reliable, and usable. You can even get instructions for setting up power management on your system courtesy of CSCI at

These very simple steps can save about US$60 per year, per computer.

To take it one step further, you can also start turning off other things in your home or office. Going on vacation? Does your wireless router really need to be on while you’re gone? Not really. Still, if you start with just one computer, you’ll being saving yourself and the planet.

Lights blazing alone / Show us opportunities / Retrain to save.

George Goodman, executive director

Friday, February 4, 2011

Lorie Wigle, president of Climate Savers Computing Initiative, makes Top 10 Women in Sustainability list

Hello, fellow CSCI members.

In case you haven’t seen this already, I wanted to share that Lorie Wigle, CSCI’s own president, made PINK’s distinguished list of Top 10 Women in Sustainability! PINK is recognized by Forbes as a "Top 100 Women's Website 2010" as well as a Yahoo! "Top 10 Women's Business Site,” and it features America's most influential women in business through nationwide PINK events and Top Women Profiles.

Lorie is featured with an esteemed crowd, including female senior leaders from Coca-Cola, Turner Broadcasting, Johnson & Johnson, Hyatt, Verizon, and Ford, just to name a few of the biggest brands in the world. To see the full list, visit Little Pink Book.

PINK quotes Lorie: “As companies embrace sustainability they evolve from ‘do no harm’ to ‘doing well by doing good’ to eventually growing revenue by delivering products and services that improve sustainability.”

Congratulations to Lorie and to CSCI for its continued efforts to promote smart computing practices!

Friday, January 28, 2011

CES 2011 — Looking Back to Move Forward

I’m back from the annual gathering of consumer technology providers, buyers, and hangers-on that is officially known as the Consumer Electronics Show. Put on each January in Las Vegas by the Consumer Electronics Association, CES is 1.5M square feet of exhibition floor, multiple keynotes, embedded topical conferences, showmanship, and sore feet — all in equal measure.

As Climate Savers Computing looks ahead with an eye to the CE space, it was a great opportunity to broaden awareness of the issues facing GreenIT and to talk about CSCI with potential new members. With some key support from members such as sponsor member Sony Electronics and board member Intel, we began an important dialogue with CES attendees to showcase the organization’s mission and our desire to work with CE companies the same way we have done with the PC, server, and networking industries.

As many of you know, the scope and size of CES is overwhelming in terms of content and products. There were over 20 themed areas on the show floor targeting specific audience segments; for example, the “Silvers Summit” pushed products and services aimed at the aging baby boomer population. Higher Education, Electric Vehicles, and Fitness were new Tech Zone topics of interest, and they showcase that the CE industry touches all elements of our lives.

And, while CES is expanding beyond your conventional consumer electronic device, the GreenIT exhibit, “Sustainable Planet Tech Zone,“ was still a bit underwhelming. This area was the smallest and was located in a low-volume traffic area on the show floor. A couple of companies stood out with regard to their GreenIT practices and philosophies: Panasonic had a significant portion of their large booth area dedicated to renewable energy, energy management, and electric vehicle offerings; LG was featuring the energy efficient characteristics of all their offerings from TVs to freezers; and Powermat (an inductive charging mat for handheld devices) was highlighting products that eliminate vampire power draw. Based on all of my conversations at the event, there is interest in learning more about power management and, more important, there is willingness and eagerness to engage. The good news is the door is open with some new companies and agencies to further discuss how they can participate and improve energy consumption.

All that said, I prefer to look at the glass half full — this is truly an opportunity to lead and inspire the ICT industry to engage in smart computing practices, change behaviors toward power management, and ultimately work together to address larger computer and sustainability issues.


Thursday, December 30, 2010

Good planets are hard to come by

As everyone begins to set New Year’s resolutions for 2011, I thought I would jump on the bandwagon and make some resolutions of my own and on behalf of Climate Savers Computing Initiative.

I joined CSCI in November with the goal of setting forth strategies that can really influence behavior change in smart computing practices. The greening of IT needs to be more than a buzzword; it needs to be a call to action in 2011. We have reached a critical time for changing behavior around PC power management - not just in our industry, but also in ourselves. Climate Savers Computing is built on the belief that individuals have the power to make a difference through practicing better computing habits.

According to the Global Footprint Network, humanity currently uses the equivalent of 1.5 planets to provide resources and absorb waste. In other words, it takes the Earth one year and six months to regenerate what we use in a year. If population and consumption trends continue to grow at their current pace, we will need the equivalent of two Earths to support us by 2040. As poignantly stated by an oft-cited but un-identified author, ”Take care of the earth and she will take care of you.”

We all know that our industry contributes to the use of these global resources. As of 2007, ICT was responsible for 2 percent of global carbon emissions. As global demand grows, so too will the number of devices and the amount of data required to keep those devices connected. If left unchecked, this situation will lead to exponential increases in energy and carbon emissions, on the order of 6 percent annually. The bottom line: by 2020, the global ICT industry will be emitting almost twice as much as it did in 2007.

Aside from the dire predictions, there is still a silver lining; research estimates that the implementation of ICT can contribute to a 15 percent reduction in carbon emissions for all industries through energy and productivity efficiencies. From our domain of ICT we can reach beyond the 2% and help reduce the 98%.

It goes without saying how important our efforts are, and we all can be agents of change and leadership for smart computing practices. We do have the power to make a difference. Please join me in pledging to power down, eliminate waste and promote smart computing practices. Pledge your support now.

Cheers to a fantastic and greener 2011!