OK campers (and I mean that literally because that's what I will be doing this weekend), it's that time of year again... summer is coming to an end, and everyone's heading out (and cooking out) for the Labor Day weekend. So rather than talking shop this week, I thought I'd share a couple of things that I recently learned to help stay green over the long weekend (you know I am passionate about this anyway). Why you ask? Because I know that even though we're out of our normal day-to-day routines for a couple of days, we still want to be eco-friendly!
So, as you start your shopping and get ready to fire up the grill, why not consider:
- Using biodegradable utensils, bowls, and cups (or reusable ones) to create less waste for your local landfill
- Keeping a recycling bin right next to the trash can so that people know you are an eco-friendly party thrower and support recycling
- If you do have a charcoal grill, use lump charcoal made from natural products and try to avoid using lighter fluid
- Use natural light, such as candles or a small fire, to add to your evening party atmosphere. Avoid using unnecessary energy on those party lights shaped like pineapples and such.
And after the cookout:
- Use biodegradable plastic trash bags
- Let your guests take home any leftovers so that no food goes to waste
- Clean the grill with soapy water or a wire brush instead of using harsh chemicals
- Recycle those bottles and cans and any other glass, paper products or plastic that might have been left behind by your guests
So that's it. Short and sweet right? One last thing...have a fun, safe and eco-friendly Labor Day weekend!
We'll get back to our regularly scheduled programming next week :)
Really, who actually cares about how much energy is being consumed in the data center? It appears that in more than a few cases there is a “teenager” phenomenon occurring. Have you ever tried to get your teenage son or daughter to consistently turn off the lights or TV when they leave the room? If your experiences are like mine, you would probably have more success pushing a rope uphill. The challenge is that teenagers don’t care because they don’t pay the electric bill. They know somewhere locked inside the recesses of their brain that it’s the right thing to do, but at the end of the day, that alone doesn’t seem to make a difference. Now, don’t get me wrong, I’m not comparing IT Managers to teenagers, I’m just saying that unless there’s a vested interest in an outcome, then there’s probably not a lot of action that’s going to be taken.
So why should an IT Manager care about the energy consumed in the data center? Let me start with one possible reason, and see if other contributors will add their perspective.
While it’s not the most common type of outage, there are occurrences of disruptions to the power or air conditioning that can have an impact on service availability. Does an end user really care if the application is down because of a network, server, or air conditioning problem? The answer is no! If the IT Manager has established documented Service Level Agreements, then it’s in his/her best interest to do an effective job to maintain those service levels by managing all elements that could impact an outage… and that includes power or air conditioning.
What are your thoughts? Why should an IT Manager care?
The rising cost and uncertain availability of energy
There are many specific issues around energy and the environment that are increasing the urgency for organizations to change the way they do things in order to achieve and sustain energy efficiencies. And these pressures are coming in various forms, not the least of which is the rising cost and uncertain availability of energy. We all know that energy is scarce and that prices tend to fluctuate. Humor me for a moment as I attempt to use an example to illustrate the challenge. One of my colleagues talks about the VP of a company that he’s working with around energy management, and this person talks about his yearly budget being allocated fairly equally to three different areas: CapEx, labor or people, and energy. And when we think of plotting that out over time, let’s say over a five year period, it should be fairly simple to control and maintain our capital expenditures and people costs, or at least predict what those costs might be. But if we look back at the history of where energy costs have been over the past few years, you realize that it becomes difficult to predict where these costs might be one or two years down the road, much less five years. And with demand expected to increase, those costs could be significantly higher than might be expected. How can a company address this issue as it tries to run the business in a more sustainable manner?
More info @ http://ow.ly/hk7p
In response to: Addressing the pressure to change: achieving and sustaining energy efficiencies part 1
Tiffany, if you are wondering what's consumed/consuming the most energy and where that's headed, let me try to shed some light on that. First off, buildings account for 40% of worldwide energy consumption, and believe it or not, it's estimated that up to 30% of that energy is wasted. Can you imagine? And of course there's the data center. Energy consumed by the IT infrastructure is significant, and is growing quickly and at an unsustainable rate. In many cases, especially in the IT infrastructure, the way assets are deployed and managed is inefficient – the amount of power required for the data center to operate compared to the amount of energy actually used by technology assets or computing is staggering, And that's probably not going to change until companies themselves decide to do something about it. And well they should, because as you can probably guess, reducing energy usage across these areas of the infrastructure presents a huge opportunity for cost savings.
In preparation for Pulse 2010
in Vegas, I interviewed Vik Chandra, the Pulse track lead for Energy and Efficiency, to help you generate good ideas for submitting your call for speaker abstracts
for Pulse. Vik will actually be reviewing the submissions with a team of other folks, so you can really trust his advice. Here’s what he had to say:
Me: What are hot topics in the area of Energy and Efficiency right now? Which topics would you really like to see presented at Pulse?
Vik: The focus of going green is on reducing costs. The first step to going green is to gain visibility into energy consumption end-to-end across the infrastructure. The attendees at Pulse would benefit from learning about your experiences including:
- What triggered your organization to look at reducing energy consumption?
- What were the goals/motivations of the different parts of your organization?
- Why you selected a particular solution
- How was the experience of deploying the solution?
- What results/benefits have you seen from the solution?
- How has your organization communicated the results of energy efficiency efforts internally and externally?
- What are the next steps in your energy efficiency efforts?
Me: Who are good candidates for submitting abstracts, and why?
Vik: Energy efficiency activities span the entire infrastructure. IT organizations have different challenges from facility organizations and from manufacturing organizations as an example, Execs and leaders within the sustainability or operations organizations that are currently implementing or exploring energy management solutions will be ideal speakers.
Me: What are you looking for in a good proposal?
Vik: A good proposal should be educational, motivational and practical. Ideally, your peers should be able to learn from your experience to initiate their own energy management projects. It's important to note that you don't have to have demonstrable energy savings to deliver a successful proposal. There are significant lessons to be learn from your experiences on simply getting to the point of deciding on energy efficiency projects
Me: What are the benefits of submitting an abstract for Pulse?
Vik: Free admission to Pulse ($1,995 value) and recognition for yourself and your organization as leaders in the area of Energy Efficiency.
Me: What is the deadline for submitting call for speaker abstracts?
Vik: The deadline to submit your speaker abstract is Nov. 2nd. Don’t delay, submit your proposal
With such great guidance from Vik, you’re sure to write a perfect proposal. If you have any questions on submitting abstracts for Pulse or want feedback on an idea, just leave a blog comment or feel free to email me
. Also, be sure to check out this justification letter
if you need that extra edge to convince your boss of the value of attending Pulse. I hope to see you there!
I read an industry analyst report last week that proclaimed that "Green Computing" is no longer relevant in today's IT market. It probably comes as no surprise that in this economic environment very few CIO’s will purchase an IT solution solely because they want to do something good for the environment. Nor is it unexpected to see signs of fatigue with the 'green washing' that has emerged over the past 24 months. However, the fundamental promise of 'Green IT' has always been that it will help clients overcome operational inhibitors (they are out of power or cooling capacity or unstable power supply is resulting in availability issues) while taking out cost (energy costs, operational costs, and deferral of capital investments).These benefits are more relevant today than ever - whether a CIO or IT Manager labels them as 'green' or not. Furthermore, it is clear that sustainability continues to be high on the corporate agenda. Demands that customers are making on the companies they do business with are prompting such companies to consider their impact on the environment, and as such they’re beginning to worry about a possible negative impact on brand value. Likewise, increasing regulations and laws to reduce emissions of greenhouse gases and protect the environment are beginning to gain steam. And in parallel, we are seeing an increasing number of incentives offered by utilities and regulatory bodies in order to drive energy efficiency and sustained demand reduction in commercial companies, with IT and data centers being primary targets for efficiency gains.
Our focus at IBM has always been on improving efficiency. We're all about helping our customers overcome very real operational inhibitors, reduce costs, prepare for these new, impending regulations, and attain sustainable operations. And the by-product of these efforts - what some may consider "going green" - can only mean good things for the environment.
Energy efficiency and sustainability are certainly not just waning 'fads'. Let me give just a couple examples:
First, legislation around greenhouse gas emissions and energy efficiency will probably come more quickly and with broader reach than anticipated. In many cases, the IT organization will represent a substantive portion of the overall footprint of the organization. As a case in point, the UK government announced the final format of the CRC on Wednesday of the week before last and will begin mailing out registration packets to 5,000 businesses across the UK by the end of the month. What was once thought of as an issue only for large emitters such as utilities and heavy manufacturing is clearly relevant to businesses of all sizes in every industry.
Second, as we begin to emerge from the recession, all the traditional issues that we see will in fact remain (cost cutting, availability, etc.), but forward thinking CIO’s will also have on their agenda how they can help lead/enable sustainability across their organizations. As sustainability strategies are defined and environmental management systems are deployed, it will fall to IT to provide the supporting infrastructure.
Energy efficiency and sustainability should really be top of mind for a CIO both today and tomorrow. It’s not about the gimmicks and superficial actions that some marketing organizations have promoted and which feed the perception of 'green' as simply a 'fad'. Energy efficiency and sustainability are relevant and important, and we'll continue to help our customers along these lines. Companies will ultimately be held accountable not only for what they do - but also for how they do it. They will have to tackle these issues straight on so they are ahead of the curve when new regulations emerge, and we’ll be there every step of the way. How we change the way we work today might be the catalyst toward providing a better tomorrow for the environment and for our planet.
Whether you call it 'Green IT' or not, make no mistake - energy efficiency and sustainability still matter.
VP, IBM Energy and Environment
On October 20, 2009, IBM announced several new and enhanced offerings designed to help our customers succeed in an increasingly complex and interconnected world. The announcements reinforce the vision of a Dynamic Infrastructure and support our client's desire to improve service, reduce cost and manage risk, while also laying the foundation to take advantage of future business and IT needs.
The solutions and capabilities announced enhance the visibility, control, and automation across an organization's business and IT assets.
Among these solutions is Maximo Asset Management for Energy Optimization 7.1. We've talked about this solution in the past (see "Heat maps, anyone? a.k.a. Thermal visualization in the data center"
). MEO, as we call it for short, helps increase visibility of energy and thermal information with data center heat maps that help IT and facilities managers see thermal anomalies in a real-time, visual format. This allows them to take swift, corrective actions in order to optimize assets and ultimately reduce energy costs.
How does this relate to a Dynamic Infrastructure? Today's business environment is challenging on many fronts. And your IT infrastructure is no exception. You need to cut energy usage and cost, and you must meet increasing demands from your customers, partners and employees. You need to help your business stay ahead of the competition, but you have to do it all with a limited budget. Thus, you need a secure, flexible, intelligent and dynamic infrastructure to be successful. And visibility on to your data center and facilities assets is one place to focus your efforts. Because saving energy saves you money. Check out Maximo Asset Management for Energy Optimization
Please feel free to comment! We'd love to hear from you.
I wanted to take just a few minutes on
this Friday afternoon to talk about the directions that we see emerging
in the energy management space. As Rich mentioned, one thing that we
don't see changing is the demand for energy cost reduction, the
increased focus on regulatory compliance, and the pressure from various
stakeholders to improve environmental social responsibility. But there
are a number of trends in this space that are changing, and in ways
that make these goals more possible with each passing day.
of the most important changes that we are seeing is that more and more
assets are enabled for instrumentation and insight. Assets that were
once simply plugged into power outlets are now tied to communications
networks and are sharing key performance metrics, including energy and
environmental information. Now we can see the energy consumption and
environmental factors in real-time for assets varying from x-ray
machines to IT servers to construction equipment. As we improve this
instrumentation, it allows us to make smarter decisions about which
assets to utilize, when to utilize them, when maintenance is needed, or
when to replace them. We will also improve our ability to create
policies that can dynamically respond to changing energy situations
(pricing changes, demand charges, outages, natural disasters, etc.) in
order to reduce risk, cost, and environmental impact --- without
reducing our ability to deliver the critical business services that
drive our enterprises. We can also use this instrumentation to report on our performance and track progress over time. When we make a change in our organizations, whether a new cooling system or an employee initiative to turn off the lights in their offices, we'll be able to see the change as it happens and track our key performance indicators. This is a far cry from many of today's projects, where we scramble around the organization looking for energy savings or waste reduction, but have no real way to know if our efforts are successful.
So that's one major trend that is shaping the future of energy and environmental management. What other trends do you see that will impact our ability to better manage our energy and environmental resources in the enterprise?
Measuring and benchmarking energy and thermal performance is often considered the foundation for most energy management capabilities. It involves gaining the necessary visibility into current energy and thermal data and the related costs. One would typically undertake this project to provide a consolidated and potentially more granular view of energy usage and if they desire, to collect a baseline that can be used to compare performance against industry metrics or internal past performance
Once the energy and thermal information is collected and stored, organizations will have the data, or ‘raw materials’, to enable future management capabilities, such as: improved power & cooling capacity planning, energy cost allocation, or reporting for compliance or subsidies
You’ll also see here some of the key capabilities that should be considered for this particular initiative. In addition to the core requirement to collect and store energy and thermal metrics, you should also focus on other key capabilities when undertaking this initiative and deploying this type of solution, including:
- The ability to collect, store, and report on ACTUAL energy and thermal metrics from across the infrastructure – i.e. IT, facilities and assets – in real time
- The ability to display a real-time, visual map of the thermal metrics
- The ability to benchmark performance
- The ability to model and estimate energy costs and
- The ability to aggregate information from multiple data sources and collection tools
I thought it would be interesting to show you how you can get started with measuring and benchmarking energy and thermal performance by looking at some of what we offer around this. So here you go::Maximo Asset Management for Energy Optimization webcast featuring Forrester Research and IBMRegister and listen nowMaximo Asset Management for Energy Optimization
More info in our Energy Management communities
Energy Management on ibm.comEnergy Management on LinkedIn
In response to: Energy Efficient Storage from IBM
Reduced energy consumption is a great "green" benefit to using storage resources more efficiently. And that's good for the environment (and the bottom line)!
monitoring of IT, data center and facility assets can bring positive
savings to companies that are paying attention to it. Based on a
survey I read recently, decreased energy use (or greater energy
efficiency) and increased cooling efficiency were mentioned as the
biggest benefits that data center and facility managers are seeing from
their green efforts. In reality, these companies should probably also
realize that, in most cases, they may have to invest a little in
technology to see real benefits. Easier said than done in today's
economic climate, but worth investigating.Getting started
can a company get started on a path toward a more energy efficient IT
infrastructure? Start by gaining thorough visibility in to (or discovering
your actual IT (servers, etc.), data center (CRAC units, etc.) and
facility assets, and how they are being used. Once you can see your
assets and how they are performing, you can begin to take the necessary
actions required to optimize those assets. This might come in the form
of simply using your technology assets to their fullest capacity, or
even a simple understanding of where your assets might require less
cooling when they are idle. A better utilized, better performing
asset should likewise be a more energy efficient asset. Let me put it
like this: see what you have, understand how it is being (or not being)
used, and adjust accordingly.What should an energy monitoring solution provide?
As I said, visibility into energy consumption is key. Energy monitoring software
should act as the "collector" if you will of sensor data from IT, data
center and facility equipment. It should provide visibility to help
manage the data center environment (think back to what I mentioned
about "discovering" earlier). It should help you gain insight into
energy and thermal information for such equipment and infrastructure
and should enable the optimization of the monitored environment from a
centralized point of control. It should allow information to be stored
in real-time to leverage historic, and trending energy and thermal
metrics in a common repository to help you make better informed
decisions around energy management. Lastly, it should allow the
collected data to be used by other solutions such as thermal visualization
, and applications that help you understand your costs
and track, allocate and invoice by multiple criteria.
may not have to have a huge budget to better monitor your assets. And
you may not even need extra people either. Before you make the
decision NOT to invest, do your homework. Look for the criteria
outlined above. Explore solutions that monitor IT, data center and
facility assets. Understand the full scope of what you might need to
do. You might be surprised to find out that it's not as big of an
undertaking as you may think. And the rewards are many fold.
Share your thoughts by commenting on this blog or joining one of our energy management communities
Here's an excerpt from IBMs corporate responsibility web site
. I thought I'd share it with you because we've been hearing a lot lately about climate change and such, and this outlines what IBM is doing - and has been doing for years - around protecting and preserving our environment.
IBM’s longstanding commitment to environmental protection was first formalized as a corporate policy in 1971. From how we run our operations to the products and solutions we provide to our clients, we are committed to leadership across environmental areas ranging from energy efficiency and water conservation to pollution prevention and product stewardship.
Energy conservation has been a major component of IBM's comprehensive climate protection programs because the release of carbon dioxide (CO2) emissions by the utilities powering the company's facilities and from the use of fuel for heating or cooling represents the greatest potential climate impact associated with IBM's operations. Because of that, a principal focus of IBM's climate objectives has been its energy conservation goal.
IBM has been tracking it energy consumption since 1973 and has had a specific, numeric annual energy conservation goal for decades. The results of this early focus on energy conservation have been significant. For example, between 1990 and 2008, IBM saved 4.9 billion kilowatt-hours of electricity consumption, avoided nearly 3.3 million metric tons of CO2 emissions, an amount equal to 48 percent of the company's 1990 global CO2 emissions, and saved over $343 million through its annual energy conservation actions.
You can read more @ http://www.ibm.com/ibm/responsibility/environment.shtml
Going green. It’s about more than just reducing environmental impact. It’s about changing the way we do things in all areas of our lives. It’s about reducing energy and related costs…it’s about optimizing systems and resources…it’s about being accountable…and it’s about unlocking unexpected opportunities to create new value.
Making an impact can and should happen at several levels: as an individual, as an organization, across our cities and nation and on a grander scale, our planet. So you can see that going green stretches across just about every part of our lives. And as you can probably imagine (let’s come full circle here), the by-product of all of these elements and making positive changes can and will have a positive impact on the world in which we live…and more specifically, on our environment.
Check out the IBM Green & Beyond interactive tool
to learn more about what you can do. The tool allows you to look at "green" from an individual, organizational, city/nation and planet perspective. There are a lot of good local ideas that would be easy to implement. It's worth a look....care to add your comments?
Today, December 15, 2009, IBM released Tivoli Monitoring for Energy Management Interim Feature v6.2.1.01. This release added new support for Siemens building management, which integrates the energy and environmental management solutions delivered by Siemens and IBM in order to provide a common solution that spans IT, data centers, buildings, and beyond. This release also added additional support for custom energy management agents and makes it even easier to integrate custom data into energy and environmental reports and portlets along with data from sources that Tivoli Monitoring for Energy Management collects with its native integrations.
These new files are generally available for use starting today, and we encourage customers to start using this new release right away. I'd also like to say thank you to our development team for all of their hard work in pushing this out the door before the end of 2009.
Energy management is no longer just an option for organizations today; it’s a strategic imperative. There are growing pressures to control costs in challenging economic times and to operate responsibly amid concerns about climate change. Achieving energy efficiency across the vast range of systems and assets within an organization is essential. So why not take a closer look at your technology infrastructure and see if you can better manage how energy is being used?
Measuring and managing energy and thermal performance is often considered the foundation for most energy management capabilities. It involves gaining the necessary visibility into current energy and thermal data as well as the related costs. And it should provide a consolidated and more granular view of energy usage, and a baseline that can be used to compare performance against industry metrics or internal past performance. Once the energy and thermal information is collected and stored, organizations will have the data to:
- Identify areas where energy consumption and costs can be reduced
- Achieve operational efficiencies with a consolidated view of energy usage
- Enable future management capabilities, such as:
- Improved power & cooling capacity planning
- Energy cost allocation
- Reporting for compliance or subsidies
Learn more about IBM Energy Management at Pulse 2010
or check it out on the web