6 valuable green IT resources

A list of six valuable resources to consider tapping as you contemplate embracing green technology

4. Your local utility - Datacenter operators aren't the only ones feeling the pain of limited energy supplies; many utility companies are struggling to meet customer demand. The good news is many utility companies realize it's in their best interest to help companies cut power consumption -- and are even going so far as to help customers foot the bill of energy-saving investments. PG&E in California is leading the trend: It's helped customers pay for virtualization projects and massive solar-power implementations, for example.

Other utilities are expected to follow suit. As reported recently, "Seattle City Light will launch a program in the coming weeks that rewards companies for installing network-based software that manages PC power consumption" while "BC Hydro, which serves British Columbia ... plans to offer to pay up to 60 per cent of the cost of implementing virtualization software to consolidate servers."

5. The EPA and US Department of Energy - The benefits of seeing companies marry green and IT aren't lost on the Feds. Through Energy Star, for example, the EPA and DOE have already raised the energy-efficiency bar for computers and other desktop hardware with Energy Star 4.0. They aren't stopping there, though.

The EPA last year released a report to Congress, assessing opportunities for energy-efficiency improvements for servers and datacenters in the United States. In the report, the EPA recommends "a mix of programs and incentives, as well as a holistic approach to achieve significant savings." (You can download the entire report from the Energy Star Web site.)

Moreover, the EPA and DOE are working on developing new energy-efficiency specifications for servers and benchmarks for entire datacenters. Right now, they're seeking input from organizations for both endeavors. The payoff, though, will be freely available specifications and practices with weigh-in from stakeholders of all types.

6. EPEAT - EPEAT (Electronic Product Environmental Assessment Tool) is the resource of choice for organizations seeking to purchase the greenest IT wares. (Federal agencies are now required to purchase at least 95 per cent EPEAT-registered products, in fact.) The EPEAT product registry, maintained by the Green Electronics Council, is a database of IT gear that meets a strict set of environmental criteria, including power consumption, materials used in the product, materials used to package the product, and many, many others. Depending on how many criteria they meet, products receive a rating of Bronze, Silver, or Gold.

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