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Practical IT Research that Drives Measurable Results Take a Strategic Approach to Maximize the Benefits of Green IT
An ad-hoc approach to Green IT is leaving money on the table for many organizations Organizations are recognizing the business benefits of Green IT. However, for many organizations, this movement has been inconsistent, uncoordinated, and at times unproductive. This research is designed for: ü ü ü IT leaders who are exploring Green IT as a means to reduce costs. IT departments that are planning their future technology infrastructure. Organizations that have already implemented some Green IT initiatives and want to know “what’s next? ” This research will help you determine: q Why Green IT is important to your organization. q Green IT opportunities that can improve your energy efficiency. q How to implement a successful Green IT and sustainability program. “Being Green” or “Sustainability” is measured by the carbon footprint [also referred to as greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions] associated with a company’s energy usage and assets. Electricity power stations are typically powered by fossil fuels, so there is an associated environmental impact that can be minimized through energy efficiency. Similarly, electricity is used when manufacturing equipment, so using less hardware (e. g. through consolidation) minimizes the environmental impact. Other IT-related contributors to carbon footprint include e-waste and printing supplies.
Executive Summary Definition: What is Green IT? How do I implement a successful Green IT program? • New sources of energy cannot be brought online fast enough to meet the growing demand. The result has been price volatility and rolling brownouts, which have made energy efficiency a critical business objective. Early initiatives such as server and PC power management can be done at little or no cost, while others are appropriate primarily for larger data centers or when building a new data center. • Reducing energy demand is another method of tackling the problem, through initiatives such as cooling efficiency improvements and server consolidation. • Advanced strategies include integrating renewable energy sources such as solar power as a means to bridge power gaps. • What is the state of Green IT today? Forward-thinking organizations are using Green IT as a vehicle to save money and do more with less, enabling them to meet the challenges of understaffing and tight budgets. • What are some Green IT opportunities? A strategy that takes into account energy efficiency and environmental impact (i. e. sustainability). • Why is Green IT important? • The recent recession has resulted in tight budgets for IT, and that has stalled Green IT initiatives for many organizations, particularly those who were taking an ad-hoc approach and could no longer afford endeavors that are not part of a core strategic plan. • Many initiatives such as server virtualization are performed for non-green reasons (e. g. reduce hardware costs) but also reduce energy usage, and therefore are often recast as Green IT projects. • Organizations that define clear environmental goals and take a strategic approach to Green IT are continuing to be successful despite difficult economic times. • Fostering staff involvement is also critical as many initiatives such as printer consolidation and PC power management can fail if staff don’t cooperate.
Learn from organizations that are already on the path to sustainability Below is a summary of the case studies. Full details are in the Summary section. Allens Arthur Robinson (Australia) • An international law firm that has made sustainability part of its culture and a strategic business objective. Environmental stewardship along with building stakeholder relationships are key drivers to its success. City of Ottawa (Canada) • The city government places a high value on green initiatives. Furthermore, the city recognizes the strong business case for Green IT and has the financial resources to back those initiatives. City of Windsor (Canada) • The Windsor city government also places a high value on green initiatives. However, as a small city coming out of a recession, funding is a challenge. This has slowed and limited some of its initiatives, such as data center consolidation. Earth Rangers (Canada) • Sustainability is part of its core business strategy. The organization serves as a model of what can be done in the Green IT realm. Matrix Solutions (US) • As an environmental consulting and engineering company, it practices what it preaches inside and outside of IT. Initiatives include non-IT actions such as carpooling and using a coffee vendor who makes deliveries by bike. RS Investments (US) • California has the strictest environmental regulations in the US. RS Investments works towards exceeding these standards when there are opportunities to do so.
Why is Green IT important? Examples of Green IT opportunities 1 1 2 What is the state of Green IT today? How do I implement a successful Green IT program? Summary 4 5 3 Next Section in Brief • Green IT initiatives enable organizations to take advantage of energy savings now and to be prepared for tighter environmental laws in the future. • Government regulations now in place in the EU will eventually reach North America. • Intangible benefits include differentiation among competitors and company morale.
Price volatility and the risk of power shortages make energy efficiency a critical business objective As businesses continue to consume more power, utilities are struggling to keep up with the demand. Increasing your organization’s energy efficiency lowers the risk of being short on power and lessens the impact of price increases. Find out how much you’re paying now and then do the math. The savings from being energy efficient may be even more significant than you think. Impact of a 21% increase on today’s rates at different electricity loads Rate per k. Wh 70 k. W/h – cost per yr Energy Savings $0. 1022 $89, 587 $62, 711 $26, 876 $0. 1237 $108, 433 $75, 903 $32, 530 By renovating my datacenter, virtualizing our servers, and consolidating storage, I decreased my energy costs by over 50% which paid for the total project in just 4 years. – Jens Olsen, Datacenter Manager in California “ “ 100 k. W/h cost per yr
A coordinated US federal and state approach is lacking, but environmental regulations are growing in individual states In the US, what is voluntary today for many states may become mandatory tomorrow. EU regulations are an example of what may be coming down the pipe. United States Federal regulatory picture • The US regulatory picture is not especially promising. Lacking a compressive federal framework, agencies (ex. EPA) are responding where capable. • H. R. 2454: the American Clean Energy and Security Act (ACESA), which aims to reduce GHG emissions by 15% below 2005 levels by 2020 and 73% by 2050, has stalled and will not likely pass the Senate in its current form. • Other developed states have far more robust regulations. US State regulatory picture • To varying degrees, US States have responded to the need to address sustainability now. • In 2006, California passed AB 32: Global Warming Solutions Act. It aims to return state GHG levels to 1990 baselines by 2020, and a further reduction of 80% by 2050. • Regional voluntary carbon trading initiatives have also been developed (Chicago Climate Exchange & Regional Greenhouse Gas Initiative). European Union regulatory picture • The EU has been and will continue to push the limits of a progressive environmental regulatory framework. • From employing renewable energy sources (2001/77/EC), to requiring green labeling (92/75/EC) to driving energy efficient building development (2002/91/EC), the EU is a world leader. • In 2003, the EU established the Emission Trading System (2003/87/EC) to incentivize reductions.
Organizations implementing a sustainability program will also benefit from intangible benefits that impact the bottom line Company Morale • When employees believe in the company’s practices, they feel more connected to the organization. • Similarly, your environmental practices may be a differentiator when recruiting top young talent. Positive Public Relations • Organizations are always concerned with their public image. By driving the green engine inhouse, organizations can leverage this fact in the public sphere to increase market share, attract a new client base, and develop a reputation as an environmental leader. • Customers are increasingly socially conscious, and are gravitating to like-minded providers. Differentiation Among Competitors • Clients are also starting to ask about environmental practices. Green initiatives can be a key differentiator among equals. • Some organizations are required to disclose their climate impact to stakeholders, shareholders, or voluntary regulators due to legal obligations. Good Will/Environmental Stewardship • Naturally, the first benefit of green initiatives is sound environmental stewardship. It is our common responsibility to address environmental impacts definitively. • While it may remain an intangible benefit, the role of environmental stewardship in the commercial sphere will only increase.
Why is Green IT important? Examples of Green IT opportunities 1 2 What is the state of Green IT today? How do I implement a successful Green IT program? Summary 4 5 3 Next Section in Brief • Opportunities to significantly improve cooling efficiency range from optimizing airflow to leveraging cooler outside air. • Server and storage consolidation energy savings may justify an accelerated transition from standalone servers. • Renewable energy sources help companies meet power gaps as well as improve organizational green status.
Whether the organization is large or small, you can find Green IT opportunities right in your backyard Summarized below is a wide range of opportunities. This section will describe each in more detail. Low Cost or Non-Green Benefits That Help the Business Case Requires Light Renovation or Significant Upfront Cost Requires Heavy Renovation or Building New • Optimize air flow – closed cabinets with rear venting • Virtualization and storage consolidation • Optimize server/desktop power management • Power bars that eliminate phantom power usage • Optimize hardware refresh cycle • Printer consolidation • Optimize air flow – hot/cold aisle • Airside/waterside economizers • Liquid cooling direct to racks • Integrate renewable energy sources • Flywheel-based UPS systems • Replace chemical-based fire suppression with Fire. PASS system • Earth tubes to facilitate free cooling • Radiating tubes embedded in the building walls (radiant cooling) • Building automation “ “ We moved in here in 2001. If I knew then what could be done to be more energy efficient, I would have designed things differently. Assembly Bill 32 cast a light on what people can do. – Larry Chu, CTO, RS Investments
Increase the energy efficiency of the existing cooling system by optimizing air flow According to Pacific Gas and Electric (PG&E), proper airflow management can increase the cooling capacity of a CRAC system by 50% or more. A cool aisle/hot aisle layout provides more effective cooling by preventing the mixing of hot and cold air. Cooling strategies vary based on the power being used per server rack. Power per Rack (k. W) Appropriate Cooling Strategies Based on Power per Rack 0 to 5 Vent rack exhausts. Install closed cabinets and blanks to prevent recirculation. 5 to 10 More than 2 perforated tiles needed per rack. Consider spot cooling (i. e. portable airconditioning that can be placed where it’s needed most). 10 to 15 Cool aisle/hot aisle layout with fully ducted exhaust into hot aisle to prevent recirculation. 15 to 20 Consider in-row cooling or liquid cooling racks.
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