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new tools from Microsoft for helping in Greening your Microsoft IT

I left Microsoft several months ago, but I’m pleased to read that they are still releasing new tools for lowering the environmental impact of their customer (approximately 1 billion of PC), leveraging the power of software based power management. For example are now available:

  • Configuration Manager 2007 R3 (an updated version with some additional features) that allows to monitor the current power usage patterns of distributed Windows PCs and servers, in order  to develop, apply and enforce intelligent power management policies. It also report against subsequent power savings and associated carbon footprint reductions. Organizations using it can develop customized power management strategies such as creating policy exceptions for critical systems or enforcing different power settings for peak and non-peak periods. Combined with a procurement policies that take into account the 2007 Energy Star 4.0 recommendation (as an alternative you can also check on EPEAT), (preferably) usage of newer version on Windows (Windows 7 and 2008 have seriously improved power management features) and Microsoft Virtualization it will be a valuable and effective way to make greener the Microsoft based IT. You can find a whitepaper on Power Management for System Center Configuration Manager here and an interesting interview where Windows 7 Manager Discusses Energy-Efficiency Boost.
  • Beta 2 of the Microsoft Assessment and Planning Toolkit 5.0 (MAP) that is freely available and works as an agentless tool designed to simplify and streamline the IT infrastructure planning process, including green IT scenarios, through network-wide automated discovery and assessments. With MAP you can  obtain comprehensive planning knowledge for migration to energy efficient computing technologies. It can help to uncover potential electricity and carbon dioxide savings for desktops and servers, including the benefits of virtualization via Hyper-V and consolidation for SQL Server.

For a quick assessment you can also look at the Sustainability Calculators that help in estimating your company’s carbon footprint and see the savings that you can achieve through server and desktop implementation of Microsoft Windows technology.

In any case when replacing an old PC and server don’t forget to bring it to a proper collection center where if possible it will be refurbished and reused for not for profit organizations or if it’s too old it will be properly dismounted in order to recycle its metals and avoid pollution and health risks of e-waste. For example you can look at Microsoft Hardware Recycling programs to learn more about Microsoft’s environmental efforts in its consumer hardware products and how you can properly recycle them.

Best Regards  Donato

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Ifixit: a solution that can help lowering the e-waste issue

Sustainability of ICT pc, servers and devices has a pending critical aspect related to e-waste that includes both designing for effective collection and recycling and appropriate process to manage e-waste.

Since several years GreenPeace take seriously this issue on their web: http://www.greenpeace.org/electronics where GreenPeace publish and update every few months a guide to greener electronics (not fully endorsed by all companies).

Recently I noticed this portal http://www.ifixit.com/ that provides a plenty of information about repairing popular devices, providing troubleshooting tips, free “step by step” repair manuals and advices from a community of repair technicians to end users that are willing to try to repair or upgrade themselves of their devices. This approach can help to extend the lifetime of ICT devices that too often owner think might otherwise be too expensive to get them repaired due to labour cost.

You can for example get help in diagnosing what’s wrong with your iPod looking the iPod Video troubleshooting page and then find out how to replace the ipod battery (that you can buy directly if you wish, including special tools if you have trouble finding them). This approach helps also in building a community of people who likes to know how a pc or a phone is built, and feel proud of being able to repair it, for this reason they might decide to offer their services as a part time work, that’s good in facing difficult employment time…

Ifixit started in 2003 and as they write:

We’re all in this thing together, and if we work together we can fix the planet. Join us

In the Ifixit web there is a section on environmental issues based on the belief that

“Repair is recycling! The best way to keep electronics out of landfills is to keep them working longer. Toxic electronic waste is a global problem that we are working to solve.”

In the fixit home page there is an effective video that I’ve referenced here, too:

If you wish you can learn more about WEEE and RoHS directives in Europe here: http://ec.europa.eu/environment/waste/weee/index_en.htm

I hope that you find it interesting!

Donato

Care2 Butterfly Rewards an innovative Internet model for funding sustainability by advertisment

Care2 started in 1998 “To help make the world a better place. The idea is simple: Make it easy for everyone to live a healthy, green lifestyle and impact the causes they care about most.”  Today they are more than 50 employees, 13 million members, 400 nonprofit partners and hundreds of responsible advertisers.

As a certified Benefit Corporation (B-corp), they’re committed to using the power of business and Internet to make a positive social and earth-friendly impact on the world. Care2 has won the 2009 People’s Choice Award for Green Business of the Year.

The butterflies on Care2’s logo were inspired by a concept in physics that became popularly known as the “butterfly effect”, where one small change can cause a chain of events leading to large-scale phenomena. “At Care2, the butterfly symbolizes the belief that one person can take a small step and make a big difference.”

Care2 has developed Butterfly Rewards as an innovative, cool and “fun” way to involve people in behavior that can help to make an impact on the world.  Registered can simply take action, earn credits, and then redeem them to help important organizations around the world.

The program works because advertising sponsors value Care2 and their members basing on shared trust. Advertisers pay them based on the number of visitors, page views, purchases, etc. they receive from exposure on Care2. When users redeem their Credits, Care2 makes a cash donation to a nonprofit to pay for the chosen gift.

A special section http://www.care2.com/advertise/ provide advertisers specific specs, rates, stats and business justification for investing in sponsorship or advertisement on Care2

I think that this succesful model can show that economical sustainability can be matched with ethical and environmental one in many creative way leveraging Internet.

Sincerely,

Donato

A great training book: Using ICT to reduce carbon emissions

I’ve just received the notice that: Tom Worthington (an independent ICT consultant and an Adjunct Senior Lecturer in the Department of Computer Science at the Australian National University, where he teaches the design of web sites, e-commerce and professional ethics) has published this excellent book: Green Technology Strategies: Using computers and telecommunications to reduce carbon emissions about how to reduce carbon emissions and achieve other environmental benefits by using computers and telecommunications technology. It is designed to be used within an online course for professionals, using mentored and collaborative learning techniques but thanks to Tom it’s also available as a Free web version ! Obviously it’s licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-Share Alike 2.5 Australia License.

It helps in learning how to:

  • Estimate the carbon footprint of the ICT operations of an organisation,
  • Assess ways to reduce the carbon footprint of an organisation, by changes to polices for procurement of ICT, changes to the ICT operations and revising business processes.

A concise version of the four major modules (13 weeks suggested duration) of the related course (each with three sub-topics) is:

1. Politics, Science and Business of Sustainability

o Introduction to Green ICT Strategies

o The Global ICT Footprint

o Enabling ICT: Dematerialisation, smart motor systems, logistics, buildings and grids.

2. Technical strategy and planning – Emerging technology monitoring

o Energy saving – Data Centres and Client Equipment

o Materials Use

o Methods and tools

3. Business/IS strategy and planning

o Business process improvement

o Improving Data Centre Energy Efficiency

o Enterprise Architecture

4. Procurement & management support

o Procurement

o Energy Star Program and Quality Management

o Compliance audit

Each chapter is organized with links to on-line study resources (a few are related to AU but most are global, with a close relation to SMART2020 report) and Q&A to check your understanding of the main topic concepts.

On Tom’s website the ISBN for printed and e-book/kindle (more sustainable!) reader version with links to buy it are available.

cheers, Donato

CeBIT green IT

CeBIT is a world leading exhibition for green ICT since several years. CeBIT green IT is presented in Hall 8, an area about 2.000 sqm.

The main site is: http://www.cebit.de/greenit_e
where you can find  the innovative “green” products and solutions of the ICT-Industry: from electricity saving Notebooks for everyone to energy-efficient data center all the way to high end Video conferences in HD quality. On top innovative concepts and visions of the future get introduced, how, the user can save cost and resources through the use of ICT.

The main topics are:

Smart Infrastructure
The focus topic Smart Infrastructure shows how this demand can be met with low energy and resource requirements: virtualization technology, innovative cooling concepts, server based computing appliances and intelligent outsourcing solutions will be presented here.

Green IT meets Business
Solutions which cut costs and CO2 emissions will be exhibited in the Green IT meets Business area (such as 0-watt monitors, resource-friendly output devices, user friendly mobile devices, etc.)

Green IT @ Home
There are large amounts of possible savings slumbering away in the 39 Million German households. Domestic IT is rarely used efficiently and is moreover often out of date. New devices however include intelligent power saving technologies and are eco-friendly in their production. Due to those criteria playing an ever more important role in consumers’ purchase decisions, product strategies can be decisive as to the market success.

I’d like also to inform you about the UBA green IT Conference that focus on “Green IT – Future trends in applications” bringing together key players and experts from reputed IT companies, research institutes and public authorities.

UBA’s Green IT Conference addresses the following topics:

  • Green IT – paving the way for sustainable lifestyles: Speeches from practice and science illustrate the role of green IT in laying the foundations for sustainable lifestyles for instance in the transport and building sector.
  • Green IT beyond energy efficiency: Other presentations focus on how green IT can help to achieve energy efficiency in metropolitan and rural areas. Furthermore, good examples on how to achieve material and energy efficiency in IT infrastructure and data warehouses to develop real global opportunities are discussed.

Cheers, Donato