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A Greener Google
July 13, 2007, 11:39 am
Filed under: Computer hardware

Get this, Google has pledged to go carbon neutral by the end of the year. A far cry from where they were a few months back when they mentioned “With the company growing 60 to 70 percent a year, we can’t hold our energy use flat for now,” said Bill Weihl, head of Google’s energy strategy.

Here are some of the ways they plan on achieving this goal:

• Completed a 1.6 megawatt photovoltaic system, enabling it to power 1/3 of its corporate headquarters using solar energy.
• Backing the Climate Savers Computing Initiative with a number of other high tech companies to promote energy efficient computing.
• Launched a green initiative called, RechargeIT, to develop plug-in hybrid vehicles that can serve as batteries for the electrical grid as well as reduce carbon emissions.
• They are offering to pay members of its AdSense publishing network via Electronic Funds Transfer (EFT) in 25 countries. This can significantly reduce our dependency on paper, and protect the tree’s.

Taken from: Information Week

Reuse…Save up to 90% off list price and save the environment too when you shop at UsedCisco.com

By Joshua Levitt
E-Commerce Sales and Marketing Manager for UsedCisco.com

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Beef With ‘Green Consumerism’
July 5, 2007, 5:17 pm
Filed under: General Environment

Paul Hawken, an author and longtime environmental activist, claimed the current boom in earth-friendly products offers a false promise. “Green consumerism is an oxymoronic phrase,” he said. He blamed the news media and marketers for turning environmentalism into fashion and distracting from serious issues.

A recent study showed that 35 million Americans regularly buy products that claim to be earth-friendly. So what is the problem, you ask?

The problem is that the common mindset right now holds that all we’re going to need to do to avert a large-scale planetary catastrophe is make slightly different shopping decisions, when in fact, our consumption culture is the real problem. Consumers assume that by buying anything, whether green or not, we’re solving the global warming problem. This belief is a misperception, and does not have any effect on our consumption habits.

Americans in particular are notorious consumers. Did you know that Americans consume 24% of the world’s energy but constitute only 5% of the world’s population? I guess you can say that we are hogging all the resources, literally. Where is the focus on consumption? We cannot buy our way into global cooling. The fact is; we need to consume less, period. For instance, instead of buying five pairs of organic hemp jeans, we could just as easily learn to buy one pair of regular jeans and be happy.

The fact is, climate change is more caused by politics and the economy than individual behavior; it has nothing to do with what we buy, it has to do with how much we buy, as well as things like mass transit, housing density, the war and subsidies for the coal and fossil fuel industry. Therefore, it is understandable why some critics hold that trendy green consumption is a distraction from the real problem.

But what about awareness, isn’t that important? I, for one, believe that we need to move in baby steps. I think it’s great that ‘green’ is fashionable. The more people that dress the proverbial part, the more likely they are to learn and act on the real issues.

Do you agree with these opinions, do you think green trends with no focus on consumption cuts is a good start, or merely a distraction?

Taken from: The New York Times

Reuse…Save up to 90% off list price and save the environment too when you shop at UsedCisco.com

By Joshua Levitt
E-Commerce Sales and Marketing Manager for UsedCisco.com

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‘Beantown’ is a Green Town
July 2, 2007, 1:40 pm
Filed under: corporate Green initiatives

When most of us think about Boston, we conjure up images of a historic America, the original 13 colonies and a place with early colonial influence. But; all that is about to change! Thanks to the recent efforts of Boston’s current administration, Boston is now on the cutting edge, setting a national example for early adoption of bold new environmental trends.

The city of Boston has recently made a commitment to reducing energy use and harmful greenhouse gas emissions while saving taxpayer money. Thomas M. Menino, mayor of Boston, said: “From our green building requirements to our clean vehicle policies, sustainability is a critical component of the City of Boston’s future.

Under Mayor Menino’s leadership, solar installations have been placed on a number of municipal buildings; the city has undertaken a large-scale retrofit of its school bus fleet of 500 school buses, using ultra low sulphur diesel, and are being equipped with pollution control technologies. This reduces tailpipe emissions by more than 90 percent. The city has completed an installation of 25 combined heat and power units, a key element of the Boston Public Schools overall energy management program. This saves taxpayers at least $8 million annually. Boston was also recognized as a national leader by the EPA’s Green Power Partnership Program.

Most recently, In February of 2007, the city installed Verdiem’s surveyor’ software on all PCs at Boston City Hill and it has already reduced PC energy use by an average of 44 percent. It is saving an average of 180 kWh of electricity or about $25 per PC annually through centrally managing the sleep, shut down and wake cycles. Essentially, this program simply places the PCs into lower power settings when they’re not in use, like when you go to lunch, a meeting or even home for the evening. Based on its existing customer base, annual use of Verdiem technology reduces greenhouse gas emissions at a rate equal to taking more than 8,000 passenger cars off the road for an entire year, or conserving 4,317,988 gallons of gasoline.

Bill Oates, Boston’s CIO, said the software only cost the city $25 for each PC license, and based on projections, it will save the city $25 per PC annually. “So we believe that after the first year we will have covered the cost of the license,” Oates said. After that, “we’ll save about $30,000 annually.”

So what are you waiting for?

Taken from: Tech World

Reuse…Save up to 90% off list price and save the environment too when you shop at UsedCisco.com

By Joshua Levitt
E-Commerce Sales and Marketing Manager for UsedCisco.com

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Growing the Eco-Friendly Way
June 26, 2007, 10:15 am
Filed under: corporate Green initiatives

IBM announced plans last week to construct the largest data center in the world by the year 2010. This massive new 300,000 facility will cost Big Blue a whopping $86 million. and double its data-center capacity without increasing it’s energy usage or carbon emissions. The data center will be located in Boulder, Colorado, a fitting location for the likes of such an environmentally focused community, where so many of its residents are known to enjoy the great outdoors. The city offered $100,000 in tax and fee rebates from as well as a $632,000 grant from the Colorado Office of Economic Development and International Trade to train the data center’s new workforce and other IBM employees.

“The reason we’re building these data centers is we continue to have growth in our clients’ demands. It’s about growing in an eco-friendly way”, said Rich Lechner, IBM’s vice president for IT optimization. The project is being completed partly to accommodate a $480 million, five-year agreement with a new customer IBM has declined to name publicly.

Just how do they plan on achieving this revolutionary efficiency?
1. Efficient building designs
2. New lighting systems
3. Highly efficient air conditioning
4. Extensive use of server and storage virtualization
5. Energy-efficient power and cooling systems
6.Software called PowerExecutive that manages and monitors power consumption

Taken from: Network World

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By Joshua Levitt
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Incremental Changes That Go A Long Way
June 25, 2007, 11:36 am
Filed under: Computer hardware

Jon Beyer, cofounder and CIO of plant food manufacturer TerraCycle, says his company’s entire mission is to be green. The company harvests worm waste to create plant food and then sells it in recycled soda bottles. That corporate mission extends to his IT organization.

“We just try to reuse older equipment as much as possible,” Beyer said. “Rather than purchase new workstations and laptops, we pay for refurbished equipment. We’re fairly small now, so we are able to do that. As we continue to grow, I like to think we can continue to do that.”
Beyer said some larger companies may not want to use older equipment, but there are incremental ways for them to be green as well. Incremental change can work for those companies that don’t have a lot of money to spend on big, comprehensive solutions. Taken from SearchCIO

At UsedCisco.com we’re finding that more and more companies are applying that sustainable cost saving philosophy of ‘reuse’ to their network infrastructure. IT budgets can often be one of the largest budget burdens for many organizations, particularly in developing areas like India and parts of Eastern Europe. Start up companies all over are no exception to that rule, and now even many large enterprises have begun sourcing spares through reputable vendors in the secondary market. We’ve seen it in the auto industry, and now the secondary market for used Cisco equipment is rapidly approaching the 3 billion dollar mark annually.

The fact is, when you consider a savings of 60-95% off list price, coupled with a 3 year warranty; and now, tack on the environmental benefits to that equitation and you’ve got a no brainer. Buying refurbished computer equipment is becoming the new standard for many cost conscious organizations with smart fundamental attitudes about protecting our planet.

Learn more about how ‘reuse’ of older computer equipment can help the environment and save you cash at the same time.

By Joshua Levitt
E-Commerce Sales and Marketing Manager for UsedCisco.com

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Tour the ‘Grindhouse’
June 22, 2007, 12:27 pm
Filed under: Computer hardware

Have you ever wondered what goes on inside of those earth saving electronic recycling plants, where tons of e-waste gets broken down and processed daily. Well, Erica Ogg of ZDNet News was recently granted exclusive access inside HP’s “Grindhouse”, a 200,000-square-foot recycling facility just north of Sacramento, which processes 4 million pounds, or 24,000 tons, of electronic hardware per month. Here is Ogg’s account of what he saw:

“Inside the massive facility, pallets of gray copiers are stacked next to shrink-wrapped packages of mismatched monitors awaiting slow, painful deaths. But before they get to the grinding machine, most electronics first have to face a horde of men and women armed with air guns and screwdrivers.
Hunched over their desks in blue lab coats, the recycling center employees swiftly strip machines of their innards, separating them for the grinding process. One petite, affable-looking woman made quick work of a stack of black notebook PCs–folding the screen open, snapping the plastic hinge with a loud crack, removing the LCD screen, then flipping it over to remove both the main battery and smaller button cell battery. The PCs’ plastic casing, batteries and screen are all divided and ground separately.
The hazardous materials–mercury bulbs in old CRT televisions and monitors, batteries, and inkjet and laserjet cartridges–are teased out and sent elsewhere to be melted down right away, but the rest face the granular shredder, which sounds as painful as it looks.
We tourists got to see the grinding action up close. Climbing the metal steps of the gigantic machine, we were met with a cacophonous rumble. My notebook and hands were instantly covered in a fine sheen of dust, or more likely, the remnants of unwanted technology. The first step of the process minces the material into 4-inch shards. The precious metals, like gold, silver, platinum and copper, are collected and sent to a smelter, where they are melted down and sold for reuse. What’s left rumbles by on a conveyor belt for a second grind, this time into 2-inch pieces. A giant magnet then picks out the small pieces of steel.
Next is another conveyor belt with positively charged tubes on each end. The tubes create an Eddy current, which causes the aluminum pieces to bounce around, separating itself from the plastics.
The end result is a 5,000-pound box of silicon, glass, and plastic confetti, which is shipped out to a separate contracted facility and reused to make auto body parts, clothes hangers, plastic toys, fence posts, serving trays, roof tiles–and maybe even your next PC.”

HP’s recycling efforts are rumored to cost the enterprise, “millions of dollars” a year, said Kenneth Turner, HP’s manager of product takeback operations. “It’s not profitable, but it’s worth doing for our reputation. Ensuring that the process is done the right way–not putting hazardous materials into the ground–also lessens HP’s vulnerability to environmentally oriented lawsuits”, he added. I think it’s a noble effort on their part and I hope it pays off for them in the long run.
Something tells me that their efforts will be soon be rewarded when our consumption culture matures into a culture of ‘reuse’. HP will have a leg up, and hopefully continue to lead the way on that front.

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Leaving a Neutral Footprint
June 20, 2007, 12:53 pm
Filed under: Computer hardware

Environmental concerns are undoubtedly on the forefront of the latest trends to gain corporate mind share for most forward thinking CEO’s in today’s competitive landscape. However, there continues to be a disparity between Europe and the US when it comes to ‘green’ awareness. Green action is less obvious in the US where, “just 22 per cent of organizations look at green factors when choosing suppliers compared to almost half (48 per cent) of the European respondents”- Forrester research.

The European Union set a world wide example when they implemented, WEEE the Waste Electrical and Electronic Equipment directive, setting collection, recycling and recovery targets for all types of electrical goods.
The U.S. is now considering legislation of their own to address the mounting e-waste problem. The general consensus is, “Any argument to go green has to have a powerful cost argument” – Forrester senior analyst Euan Davis.

With that in mind, a carbon tax offers certainty about the price of polluting. A recently proposed bill on Capitol Hill applies a simple tax for each ton of carbon emissions a company produces. That would offer a more efficient and less bureaucratic way of curbing carbon dioxide buildup, which scientists have linked to climate change. Hopefully; if that happens, firms will be looking at ways to cut emissions and make their business as carbon neutral as possible.”

Environmentalists are split on a carbon tax. Fred Krupp, president of Environmental Defense, called such a tax “an interesting distraction” and continued to say, “It doesn’t give us the guarantee the emissions will go down,”.
What do you think, should such a tax be implemented nationwide and would it help to neutralize companies carbon footprint in a fair and effective manner?

Taken from The Washington Post and Business Week

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