Thursday, April 26, 2007

Green IT Special Interest Group?

Would you be interested in helping form a Special Interest Group on "Green IT" in Canberra (Australia)? This could look at simple ways to reduce energy use and other environmental impacts of computers. The sort of thing I have in mind is tips on using the energy saving features already built into office computers to full effect. As an example, is there a pretty screen saver pattern stopping the video display from switching to low power mode? Is LAN administrator stopping PCs from shutting down overnight because they occasionally run some updates?

There is a successful Software Quality Assurance Special Interest Group in Canberra, with members from the ACS, IEEE CS and other bodies. The ACS also has PC Recycling and Community Computer Projects in South Australia.

The ACM has SIGCAS: Special Interest Group on Computers and Society:
SIGCAS brings together computer professionals, specialists in other fields, and the public at large to address concerns and raise awareness about the ethical and societal impact of computers. As part of its ongoing efforts to gather and report information, thus stimulating the exchange and dissemination of ideas, SIGCAS publishes a quarterly newsletter and co-sponsors national conferences such as the National Educational Conference, the Computers, Freedom and Privacy Conference, the Computers and Quality of Life Symposium, and the Computer Ethics Conference.
The US EPA has the Energy Star system:
An ENERGY STAR qualified computer uses 70% less electricity than computers without enabled power management features.

Earning the ENERGY STAR:

* If left inactive, ENERGY STAR qualified computers enter a low-power mode and use 15 watts or less. New chip technologies make power management features more reliable, dependable, and user-friendly than even just a few years ago.
* Spending a large portion of time in low-power mode not only saves energy, but helps equipment run cooler and last longer.
* Businesses that use ENERGY STAR enabled office equipment may realize additional savings on air conditioning and maintenance.
* Over its lifetime, ENERGY STAR qualified equipment in a single home office (e.g., computer, monitor, printer, and fax) can save enough electricity to light an entire home for more than 4 years.
* The ENERGY STAR specification for computers, game consoles, and other hardware was revised on October 20, 2006 and is effective starting July 20, 2007. ..."
The Energy Star specification for computers was last revised 20 October 2006. It covers desktop computers, notebooks, workstations, and small servers as of 20
July 2007.

Perhaps we will see a trend to lower energy, rather than higher performance computers. HP and VIA have announced a business
HP Compaq dx2020 workstation for China which uses a low power VIA C7-D processor. Launch New Commercial PC for China:
Beijing, China, 13 April 2007 - VIA Technologies, Inc, a leading innovator and developer of silicon chip technologies and PC platform solutions, and HP today unveiled the HP Compaq dx2020, a highly energy efficient commercial PC for the China market powered by the VIA C7-D desktop processor.

Recognizing the need to modernize in order to be competitive on the world stage, China'
s enterprise sector is seeing rapid adoption of computer technology. The HP Compaq dx2020 PC meets the needs of businesses across the commercial spectrum, with the added assurance of HP's renowned manufacturing quality for greater system reliability and lower maintenance costs.

Environmentally sustainable computing is a key element of system design. Fully RoHS-compliant, the HP Compaq dx2020 features the power efficient 1.5GHz VIA C7-D processor, the world's first carbon free processor with a maximum power of just 20 watts for much lower electricity use than traditional PCs, and has achieved certification by the CECP, the China Government's key energy rating agency, for its highly efficient operation. ...

HP Compaq dx2020 Key Specifications

Processor: 1.5GHz VIA C7-D Desktop Processor
Chipset: VIA CN700 Digital Media Chipset
Graphics: VIA UniChrome Pro II integrated graphics processor
Memory: Up to 1GB of DDR2 533 SDRAM
Hard Drive: 7200rpm Serial ATA up to 160GB, up to 3GB/s data transfer
USB2.0: 6 ports (2 at the front)
Networking: Fast Ethernet 10/100Mbps Broadband LAN
Dimensions: 36.7 x 17.5 x 42cm
Book: Computers and the Environment: Understanding and Managing their impacts, by R. Kuehr, Eric Williams:
What are the environmental impacts associated with personal computers (PCs)? How should we manufacture, buy, use and dispose of them so as to reduce these impacts? Governments and firms are increasingly responding to mitigate some of the problems. In the E.U., Japan, and Taiwan, mountains of waste computers are being dealt with via legislation mandating recycling. Measures are also being taken to reduce the content of lead, mercury and other toxic substances put into computers in the first place. Are these responses enough? Do we understand enough about the impacts to take appropriate social response?
Other books on energy reduction and computers.

1 comment:

Tom Worthington said...

Pilot for the ICT Environmental Sustainability Group ("Green IT") is now available. Sign up now to get updates on ICT and the environment.