Climate Change: The Cost of Inaction Continues to Rise

Jeff Siegel | Tuesday November 10th, 2009 | 1 Comment

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For those who oppose any kind of meaningful action on global climate change, consider the latest findings on the cost of inaction.

According to the International Energy Agency (IEA), the world will have to spend an extra $500 billion to cut carbon emissions for each year it delays implementing serious action on global warming. This would be on top of the $10.5 trillion investment needed from 2010 to 2030 to boost renewable energy development and improve energy efficiency.

Of that $10.5 trillion, the IEA states that about 45 percent, or $4.7 trillion in investment will be in transportation. Just one more reason we continue to remain so bullish on the electrification of our transportation infrastructure, mass transit and high speed rail.

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Data Center Pulse: Finding Green Solutions for Energy-Guzzling Servers and Cooling Systems

Kathryn Siranosian | Tuesday November 10th, 2009 | 1 Comment

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Data Center Pulse logoThink of it as a support group for data center gurus.

Better yet, think of it as a support group on steroids for data center gurus.

Data Center Pulse (DCP) is a non-profit, open source community where data center end users can share information, voice opinions, define innovative next-generation solutions, and ultimately influence activities and trends in the industry.

Members can participate in LinkedIn discussions, download program proposals and presentations, stay up-to-date with breaking IT news, watch informational videos, network, blog…and more.

Founded only a year ago (in September 2008), DCP already boasts 1,240 members, representing more than 600 companies, spread across 45 different countries. It’s an exclusive group of data center owners, operators and users — and in this uniquely specialized community, consultants or individuals with primary roles in a sales, marketing or business development capacity are noticeably (and purposely) absent.*

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Opening Up Fort Knox: Looking for Transparency to Foster Data Center Innovation

3p Contributor | Tuesday November 10th, 2009 | 1 Comment

green-data-centers-bannerBy David Zwerin, Sustainability Marketing Consultant

Photo Courtesy of Inhabitat

Photo Courtesy of Inhabitat

While researching the sustainability of data centers, I became frustrated with the lack of corporate transparency around the environmental impacts associated with their data centers. Many companies talk about how efficient their data centers are, but stop short at providing hard facts, data, and relevant numbers to authenticate their story.

Data centers have become the new Fort Knox, housing everything from Facebook photos to medical records, and data driven companies are unwilling, or so it appears, to share any environmental impact information about their data center. There is a belief that disclosing this information, competitors will reverse engineer the environmental impact data to shed light on the capacity of a data center to gain a competitive advantage.

As a result, there is an underestimated perception of the true environmental impact of data centers. To truly create innovation in this sector, more transparency is necessary to stimulate an industry-wide discourse on the true environmental risks of data centers, enabling companies to develop effective strategies and best practices for reducing the impact of their data management.

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What it Takes to Power the Internet: Quantifying Our Online Obsession

| Tuesday November 10th, 2009 | 3 Comments

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Click on image to englarge

Click on image to englarge

US Infrastructure ran an article last month about how much energy we use to power the Internet. The above is an in interesting representation of what that power consumptions looks like. From updating our Facebook profiles to reading the news to watching last night’s sitcoms, the Internet has subsumed nearly every aspect of our lives.

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The End of Corporate Climate Change Denial?

Gina-Marie Cheeseman
| Tuesday November 10th, 2009 | 3 Comments

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The U.S. Chamber of Commerce said this summer it would like to put climate change on a “Scopes trial.” However, the end of climate change denial is over, at least when it comes to the majority of large U.S. corporations. Three-quarters of the executives interviewed for a McGraw Hill study commissioned by Siemens Building Technology view sustainability as consistent with their company’s profit mission and engage in sustainability activities, double the amount in 2006. Over half (58 percent) believe sustainability will serve the financial performance of their company from 31 percent in 2006.

The economic crisis has supported and not deterred sustainability activity in the firms represented in the study. Over half (57 percent) believe sustainability practices are either unaffected or aided by a down economy. Only 32 percent view an economic crisis as an obstacle.

Energy savings is the most important driver toward sustainability, with 75 percent citing it this year, and 73 percent in 2006. Global influences increased as a driver with 38 percent in 2009, and 26 percent in 2006. Government regulations decreased as a driver with only 29 percent citing it, down from 40 percent in 2006. However, 72 percent expect it to become a requirement.

Over 80 percent of larger firms believe sustainability provides market differentiation, and over 70 percent expect sustainability efforts to retain and attract customers, and reduce the costs of doing business. Almost a third reported dedicated funding for sustainability.

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Change – Using a Carrot Not a Stick

Jennifer Elder, The Sustainable CFO | Tuesday November 10th, 2009 | 0 Comments

escalator-pianoCan fun make people exercise more? Can fun make people recycle more? Can fun improve safety? Won’t it be fun to find out? Now through December 15 TheFunTheory.com is sponsoring a contest to prove the concept that fun is the best way to change peoples’ behavior for the better. The site is looking for submissions of ideas and inventions that support the theory that people will change behavior for themselves or the environment–if making the change is fun.

The concept of positive reinforcement has been proven many times over. Pavlov proved it with his dogs, and every parent knows that children respond better to rewards than punishment. So why not apply the concept to environmental and social initiatives?

To inspire more people to take the stairs rather than the escalator at the Odenplan Subway Station in Stockholm, Volkswagon converted a set of stairs into piano keys. The novel concept increased stair use by 66%.

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Net Impact Conference 2009 – Getting the Most Out Attending a Conference

Jennifer Elder, The Sustainable CFO | Tuesday November 10th, 2009 | 0 Comments

ni-09-logoThe 2009 Net Impact conference at Cornell is just around the corner. So many choices – 120+ sessions, keynotes, expo center, cocktail receptions, and networking opportunities. The choices can overwhelming. Two days can seem like a lot of time, but it will fly by and you don’t want to be left wondering what happened. So what can you do to maximize your enjoyment, learning, and career impact? Follow the 3P’s – Plan, Prepare, and Polish!

For those of you planning to addend NI09, please get in touch with us! We’d love to meet you. If not, the 3P’s of conference planning still apply to other events you might have in the works:

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Business Not As Usual: Astroturfing Follows Congressional Lead, And More

John Laumer | Monday November 9th, 2009 | 1 Comment

  1. US corporate-funded astroturfing continues, like a game of whack-a-mole.  Expose one of these vampire moles to the light and another one pops up in a different sector. A uniquely American enterprise, the common thread which seems to tie all astroturfing together is Congress.  Threaten Federal legislation and up comes a bloody gopher.  Have a look at Americans Against Food Taxes?: Who’s Really Fighting Preventative Medicine? for a recent example. Business significance: U5/C3
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3p’s Data Center Week: Creating a Context for Green IT

| Monday November 9th, 2009 | 0 Comments

green-data-centers-bannergreen data centerFor many of us, the data center is something we all know exists; and as we have been reading more and more, it is something that needs “greening” to improve large corporations’ environmental footprints.

Yet, aside from the select few that work and think about data centers on a day-to-day basis, the majority of the public, business leaders, and even sustainability experts couldn’t explain how data centers work, let alone what it takes to make them more efficient and environmentally friendly.

Over the course of the week, 3p will be showcasing the perspectives of experts and thought leaders in the data center industry, as well trend analysis, in an attempt to create a context for how they fit within the larger economic and environmental bottom lines.

Stay tuned.

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Enterprise Sustainability and Greening Data Centers

3p Contributor | Monday November 9th, 2009 | 0 Comments

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By Dr. Zen Kishimoto, Principal Analyst, Alta Terra Research Network

Some years ago, energy was cheap. Few people in corporations paid attention to how much energy was consumed company wide, much less in data centers. More recently, however, several factors have changed this scene completely. These factors included much higher demands for computing and storage due to the rapid increase in online processing in both business and consumer sectors and, consequently, denser server concentration to maximize the use of space in data centers.

According to a 2007 EPA report, power consumption by U.S. data centers doubled between 2001 and 2006. In 2006, data centers used 1.5 percent of all the power consumed in the United Sates. Without any remedy, consumption will double again by 2011. As a testimony to this study, many operators have recently begun feeling pain at several points in their data centers, which are experiencing power shortages, high costs, and extensive needs for cooling.

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Data Centers as Information Factories

3p Contributor | Monday November 9th, 2009 | 0 Comments

green-data-centers-bannerBy Dave Ohara, Data Center Consultant and Publisher of GreenM3.com

Information Factory

Photo Courtesy of Google

I have been writing on the Green Data Center topic for more than two years. After more than 1,000 blog posts, one of the things that I have found is the name “data center” doesn’t mean what most people who don’t work on them think they are. In the past, there was one corporate building that was the place where data was housed for the corporation. But now, that no longer is the case.

A data center is a facility used to house computer systems and associated components, such as telecommunications and storage systems. New technologies and practices were designed to handle the scale and the operational requirements that came with the dot com boom. The standard for Fortune 500 companies now is to have multiple data centers around the world to provide information availability, disaster recovery, and reliability. What does it mean to have multiple centers of data? If you green the data center, what is actually getting greened? And how?

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Overheard at Opportunity Green: LA Having “Serious Conversation” About Feed-in Tariff

| Monday November 9th, 2009 | 0 Comments

Los Angeles Deputy Mayor for Energy and the Environment Romel Pascual said during a panel discussion at Opportunity Green 2009 that Los Angeles has begun a “serious conversation” about a feed-in tariff for the city. Feed-in tariffs, or FiTs, provide cash rebates for renewable energy fed into the grid — above the normal cost of electricity.

FiTs are popular in Europe; German has had a program for several years. But there are few places in the US with an FiT, Gainsville County, Florida, being one. If LA, the country’s second largest city, with the largest municipal electric utility, created an FiT, it would have a profound effect on the small-scale solar power market.

Pascual echoed acting Director of Los Angeles Water and Power Director S. David Freeman, who also mentioned an LA FiT at an Opp Green keynote speech this morning. The idea has come up in public meetings held to discuss LA Mayor Antonio Villaraigosa’s ambitious environmental goals. Said Pascual, “it’s on the drawing board.”

Freeman also mentioned LA possibly building large scale solar plants in the Owens River Valley, which was first reported in Triple Pundit last summer.

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Solar Energy Investment Summit: The $100 Billion Conference

Bill Roth | Monday November 9th, 2009 | 9 Comments

solar-moneySolar panels now only account for approximately 40 percent of the cost of a solar power system. And most technology studies project the cost of panels to continue its drop as a percentage of plant cost with continued advancements in technology and manufacturing.

While this lower cost curve for solar technology is important, terms and availability of financing will determine solar’s future growth. From a financing perspective buying solar is “going long” on electricity. It is a 20-year “put” that locks in an amount and price of electricity. And this upfront 20-year financial put means the cost and terms of financing are as critical, or more so, to the economic viability of a solar installation as the cost of panels.

For this reason I am attending the  2nd Annual Solar Energy Investment & Finance Summit being held November 12-13 at the Hotel Nikko in San Francisco. It is a great opportunity to hear what the big money people like GE Energy Financial Services, Lazard Freres & Co and Morgan Stanley think the terms and conditions should be for financing a solar system.

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Book Review–Starting Green: An Ecopreneur’s Toolkit For Starting a Green Business From Business Plan to Profit by Glenn Croston

Scott Cooney | Monday November 9th, 2009 | 2 Comments

starting greenGlenn Croston’s latest book, Starting Green:  An Ecopreneur’s Toolkit for Starting a Green Business From Business Plan to Profits (Entrepreneur Press) is a useful resource for entrepreneurial types looking to enter the green economy.

Croston describes the green economy as entering Green 3.0:  the stage where business is beginning to make green its focus, bringing the other 95% of consumers (in addition to the 5% that do it because the environment is the #1 thing they’re concerned with) into the green world by making it easier for them to do so.  In Green 4.0, according to Croston, “Everything is green.”

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Top Five Reasons to Like Rickshaw Bagworks

| Monday November 9th, 2009 | 1 Comment

Picture 1Mark Dwight, former CEO of Timbuk2, has taken his vision of sustainability and experience in messenger bag industry and spun it into San Francisco’s newest bag company- Rickshaw Bagworks.  Rickshaw is a relatively new company, and operates out of a two year old factory situated in San Francisco’s Dogpatch neighborhood.  Rickshaw comes after a long line of San Francisco messenger bag companies- most notably Timbuk2 and Chrome.  Although not the first bag company in the city by the bay, Rickshaw is the first to embed sustainability into the culture of the company.

If you haven’t familiarized yourself with its offerings, here are five ways Rickshaw distinguishes themselves from the proverbial messenger bag pack:

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