Friday, October 22, 2010

US Department of Commerce on Green IT

The Office of Technology and Electronic Commerce, International Trade Administration, the United States Department of Commerce has released a presentation on Green IT, by Tim Miles (19 May 2010).
The Green IT presentation focuses on the impact that IT has on energy consumption and the role of Green IT in energy-efficiency and carbon abatement. It also provides a review of best practices and examples of the energy and cost savings that can be achieved through Green IT.
Here are the notes from the slides:
Good morning!
I am here representing the Office of Technology and Electronic Commerce in the U.S. Department of Commerce’s International Trade Administration.

The mission of our office and other ITA industry offices is to advocate for a domestic and international trade environment that supports U.S. competitiveness and innovation.

As the first speaker in this session, I am going to present an overview of what our office found in researching Green IT last year and why we believe greening IT infrastructure is worthwhile for U.S. manufacturers. This effort is a part of a larger Sustainable Manufacturing (SMI) underway in our agency which I will briefly discuss at the end of this presentation.

Our objectives in undertaking a Green IT Initiative are:
  • To help U.S. companies, particularly smaller enterprises, to assess, manage, conserve and reduce the energy consumption of their IT infrastructure and thus become more cost competitive with foreign firms and
  • To contribute to U.S. efforts to deal with global warming and to reduce dependency on fossil fuels, particularly those from foreign sources
I would like to start out by answering the question “What is Green IT?”
and defining this broad concept for you.

The goal of Green IT is to make the entire IT lifecycle greener by addressing environmental sustainability along the following four complementary paths:
  1. Green use — reducing the energy consumption of computers and other information systems as well as using them in an environmentally sound manner
  2. Green disposal — refurbishing and reusing old computers and properly recycling unwanted computers and other electronic equipment
  3. Green design — designing energy-efficient and environmentally sound components, computers, servers, cooling equipment, and data centers
  4. Green manufacturing — manufacturing electronic components, computers, and other associated subsystems with minimal impact on the environment
Our office’s current initiative is focusing on green use although we do
deal with the issue of green disposal in our trade policy work.

Why has Green IT become a significant concern for U.S. industry?

A May 2009 survey of North American companies conducted by Symantec, a leading IT security software supplier, revealed that 97 percent of respondents had discussed a Green IT strategy that included increasing their Green IT budgets and reducing energy consumption, cooling costs, and carbon emissions.

Their Green IT projects were primarily targeted at the data center, but were growing in other areas such as corporate desktop environments.

International Data Corporation (IDC) surveyed 1,653 firms around the world later in the year to evaluate what were the most pressing issues motivating them to adopt a Green IT strategy.

Not surprisingly, the top reason was the cost of energy followed by the
growth in corporate IT infrastructure.

Indeed, IDC has estimated that the annual cost of IT energy will surpass
that of IT equipment within the next 5 years.

I think that it is important to understand ICT’s role as an energy consumer
and an energy efficiency enabler---the phenomenon that some have called
“the ICT Energy Paradox.”

According to the American Council for an Energy-Efficient Economy (ACEEE), the ICT Energy Paradox is one in which more attention tends to be paid to the energy-consuming characteristics of ICT rather than to the broader, economy-wide, energy-saving capacity that emerges through their widespread and systematic application.

ICT has played and will continue to play a critical role in reducing energy waste and increasing energy efficiency throughout the economy. From sensors and microprocessors to smart grid and virtualization technologies, there is a strong correlation between efficiency, productivity, and energy savings.

And while discrete technologies have successfully enabled significant energy savings, system-wide energy savings have also emerged from the growing ubiquity of ICT systems and technologies.

In terms of its environmental impact, some studies indicate that the manufacture and use of ICT currently produces 2-3% (approximately 0.86 metric gigatons) of the world’s CO2 emissions, equivalent to the carbon
output of the entire aviation industry.

The ICT sector’s global carbon footprint is set to nearly double to 1.43 gigatons (Gt) by 2020, based on business as usual (BAU) projections made by the Climate Group.

PCs and their associated peripherals and printers will account for 57% of this ICT footprint followed by telecom infrastructure and devices at 25% and data centers at 18%.

According to a study of the energy consumption of the Internet conducted back in 2007, ICT equipment makes up about 5.3% of global electricity use and 9.4% of total U.S. electricity demand.

As was the case with ICT’s carbon footprint, PCs and monitors consume far more electricity than data centers and communications equipment.

The International Energy Agency (IEA) predicts that the energy consumed by ICT worldwide will double by 2022 and increase three fold by 2030 to 1,700 terawatt hours (tWh). This will equal the current combined residential electricity use of the United States and Japan.

This consumption will require the addition of nearly 280 Gigawatts (GW) of new generating capacity between now and 2030, presenting a great challenge to electric utilities throughout the world.

In 2006, servers and data centers used 61 billion kilowatt hours (kWh), or more than 1.5 percent of all the electricity generated in the United States, at a cost of nearly $4.5 billion, according to the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA). kWh consumption was twice the 2000 level.

EPA projections show that U.S. data center energy use alone could almost double to more than 100 billion kWh by 2011 for a cost of $7.4 billion and will account for 2.9 percent of U.S. electricity production. This share is projected to rise to 12% by 2020.

Compared to current efficiency trends, a combination of improved operations, best practices and state-of –the-art technologies in servers and data centers in the United States could have resulted in annual savings of approximately 23 to 74 billion kWh, $1.6 billion to $5.6 billion in electricity costs, and 15 to 47 million metric tons of CO2 emissions by 2011.

In the typical PC environment, the average desktop/monitor combination
uses up to 2000 kWh of electricity annually of which 500-1000 kWh can
be reduced through simple power management. Laptops are more efficient, consuming far less energy each year.

A Harris Interactive study finds that half of U.S. workers fail to shut down their PCs at night. EPA estimates also show that 90 percent of enterprise desktop PCs do not use power management capabilities.

The EPA estimates that Americans would save $200 million in annual energy costs if they purchased Energy Star-qualified home office products, such as computers, printers, monitor/displays, copiers, and faxes.

Here is a list of some best practices that government and private sector energy-efficiency experts recommend for data centers.

At the top is the suggestion that companies considering greening their IT infrastructure should begin this effort by developing a strategic energy plan with realistic reduction goals.

A number of the energy-efficiency measures listed involve costs such as upgrading to more energy-efficient computers and peripherals and implementing virtualization technologies.

Others have to do with less costly practices such as powering down and retiring underutilized servers.

As I will show in the next slide, adopting these best practices will very often bring savings that can offset the costs of implementing them and significantly reduce electricity consumption.

Server replacement and consolidation is one of the most effective energy-efficiency best practices.

In this example, 184 servers that were installed in 2005 have been replaced by and consolidated into 21 new more energy efficient systems, with greater computing capability, resulting in a 92% reduction in annual electricity consumption.

The costs of new hardware and the operating systems licenses in the first year total $165,900. However, the consolidation cuts the costs of operating systems licenses by $146,700 and brings electricity cost savings of more than $41,000. The payback on employing this best practice is around ten months.

These practices deal with energy-efficiency in the PC environment.

As in the case of the data center, there are practices that firms can adopt without spending much money. They include turning off PCs at night and using free or inexpensive power management software.

Upgrading to more energy-efficient PCs, peripherals, and power supplies may be costly.

However, most companies have to refresh their PC installed base every 3-5 years anyway as their capacity and data processing needs expand with their business operations.

The next slide presents PC upgrade/replacement and power management scenarios and the electricity and cost savings they could achieve.

This slide shows exactly what the annual energy costs and savings would be if an installed base of 1,000 old desktop PCs with CRTs were replaced with an equal number of LCD monitors, new more energy-efficient desktop and laptop PCs, and power management technology.

Again, the electricity cost savings are significant when new managed
desktop and laptop systems are introduced.

Use of managed desktops with LCDs drops the annual electricity cost down to $22,900 and brings an annual savings of $78,600 over the cost of the energy used by the older, unmanaged systems with CRTs.

The annual electricity cost of the new laptop PCs is even lower--- $3,800---and the annual savings are nearly $98,000.

I know that many of companies may not be able to afford a major investment right now in Greening IT installations so I am providing you with a list of 10 easy, low or no cost ways to save IT energy and to cut down on CO2 emissions. Here are some of the results a firm can expect:

  • The use of power management will bring at least a 20% reduction in electricity consumption and could result in average savings of $50 per year for each PC, according to the Department of Energy ( DOE).
  • That means that simple power management of the 108 million desktop PCs in U.S. organizations could net around $5.4 billion. It would also eliminate nearly 20 million tons of CO2 each year, roughly equivalent to the impact of 4 million cars.
  • Finally, turning off desktop PCs at the end of the business day provides additional benefits since it slashes energy use 30-50%.
In wrapping up this talk and as a lead in to the next presentation, I want to provide you with a brief overview of green IT efforts within the U.S. Government.

President Obama signed an Executive Order late last year that requires Federal Government agencies to set an example for the nation by significantly reducing their greenhouse gas emissions and energy use by 2020.

The order mandates they ensure that 95% of new IT equipment purchases are Energy Star or Federal Energy Management Program compliant and are certified by the Electronic Product Environmental Assessment Tool (EPEAT).

It also requires them to implement best practices for energy-efficient servers and data center management including power management policies.

What has been the progress of Federal Green IT efforts thus far?

A CDW survey of 150 Federal IT managers in mid-2009 found that nearly half of them have reduced their energy costs for powering PCs and other IT equipment by at least 1% or more.

They noted that each of their agencies spend on average nearly $51 million annually on electricity for their IT infrastructure which represents about 13 percent of their total IT budget.

These managers believe that their agencies could actually cut their power costs by 18%, saving $9.1 million a year, if they implemented all the available best practices such as purchasing Energy Star IT equipment, using power management, and virtualizing servers, PC and storage.

Those of you who are interested in receiving more information and assistance on greening an IT infrastructure should contact the following non-profit industry groups and government agencies. (Mention some of these organizations)

Many of these organizations provide metrics and software tools for conducting an IT asset inventory, measuring both total IT and individual device energy use, and monitoring and managing IT power consumption

Here are more specific examples of public and private sector offerings so that you have a better idea of what is available to help you in your Green IT efforts. (Review examples)

Those products from U.S. Government agencies are free of charge and available on their websites.

This slide provides the web addresses of the organizations I have recommended as good sources of information and assistance for you on IT energy use and efficiency.

Finally, I also suggest that y check out my agency’s Sustainable Manufacturing Initiative for information that addresses the broader greening
of operations that a company should consider, including Green IT.

As noted on this slide, the SMI has established a Sustainable Business

Clearinghouse that is a free, online database of nearly 800 federal and state level programs and resources that enhance sustainability and competitiveness.

The database has the DOE and EPA websites I mentioned previously

I hope that you found my presentation useful.

I will do my best to answer any questions you may now have.

Please feel free to contact me at if you want a copy of my presentation or would like to discuss our office’s Green IT initiative further.

Thank you!

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