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Subaru: the truly green automaker

November 25, 2008

It is rare that I mention green and cars in a positive light given the huge amount of emissions private vehicles produce--and the planet-damaging sprawl the overplanning for them engenders--but in the case I will make the rare exception and praise.

That goes to Japanese-owned carmaker Subaru. Not because it is a leader in bleeding-edge technology like hybrids, or that it makes tiny gas-miserly vehicles like its larger competitors, though its vehicles are very fuel efficient through using advanced proven technology.

Instead Subaru gets the accolade because they have built a low-environmental-footprint plant in Indiana that it is proudly advertising on TV that is a far cry from the creaking and wheezing factories belonging to the dying Big 3.

Greening The Data Center

November 24, 2008

Data centers: data warehouse appliances and servers are the 'boilers' of the information revolution. They enable almost every business process from administration to customer service, decisioning, design/engineering, distribution, manufacturing, marketing/sales, and support. They also require a lot of electricity for operations and cooling to keep these units functional and to limit failures.

Carbon dioxide (CO2), carbon monoxide, nitrogen dioxide, ozone, sulfur dioxide, and particulate matter are the key harmful compounds and materials released when burning fossil fuels such as for electric power generation.

Goodbye, GM, Chrysler, Hello Green Alternatives

November 17, 2008

I live in a part of North America that is dependent on the auto industry and I am seeing it break down around me. 

Every day it seems the local media has a story on another layoff, if not of the Big 3 but of the many hundreds of firms that supply them. Every day it appears that one more factory has a For Sale or For Lease sign up. Every day one more track in the local railroad yard is taken up by a string of empty auto-rack railcars.

So I am not without sympathy to the families, indeed neighbors who are being hurt by what is happening in that industry.

Here's How To Make Airports Really Green...

September 23, 2008

I applaud the airports for taking steps to use less energy, generate fewer emissions, and recycle more, as reported in a USA Today story last week that I had perused while at ITEXPO West.

Yet if these facilities, and their airline masters truly want to go green they should:

* Invest in European-styled electric high-speed rail links to replace short-haul flights. 

A Hydro-Quebec report published in 2006 revealed that such air travel can release as much as 340 grams of CO2 per passenger-kilometre as compared with zero for a passenger in a high-speed electric train, powered from hydroelectric dams. In contrast, long-haul flights, for which there is no competition (other than the ultraclean choice of conferencing) release as little as 102 grams.

Short haul flights also eat up runway space, whose expansion chews up life-giving greenspace. More runway wear-and-tear also means more pollution-adding construction and maintenance.

*Shift access to mass transit and shared-ride away from private vehicles. Invest in rapid transit and subsidize off-site airport buses to transit centers, like existing commuter rail/bus stations near where users live.









Another Great Reason To Truly (No Sprawl) Go Green: Your Health and Healthcare

August 29, 2008

"Just go out for a breath of air/And you'll be ready for Medicare"--Tom Lehrer

The Canadian Medical Association released a literally devastating report earlier this month titled: "No Breathing Room: National Illness Costs of Air Pollution" that bears out the brilliance, prescience, and unfortunate timelessness of Mr. Lehrer's musical satire.

The contents should make you gasp, think about saving energy, think again about locating in car-oriented 'greenfields' no matter 'green' the buildings are, ...and consider instead strategies like teleworking and situating offices and homes in higher-density, walkable, transit-accessible, and healthier truly green communities.

Among the key and very disturbing data:

To go green, avoid greenfields for offices and homes

July 28, 2008


There have been a lot of articles lately about green buildings and homes. So when I find out about the ones located in 'office parks' and low-density subdivisions on what had just been open space i.e. 'greenfield development' I just shake my head.

A 'green' building surrounded by a huge car-packed parking lot and a 'green house' on a cul-de-sac with a couple of SUVs in the driveway are the environmental equivalent of the fitness fanatic who jogs to the store to buy a pack of cigarettes.

Telework: the ultimate green commute

July 14, 2008


The greenest, fastest, and safest commute, one that requires the lowest investment from your pocket and from your tax dollars (compared with mass transit and HOV lanes) is from wherever you are in your home to your home office. The same goes for your employees.

Facet/Teletrips reports that each person teleworked or telecommuted just 1 to 2 days per week then each year they would save 100 - 200 gallons of fuel and 1.5 to 5 metric tonnes of CO2 / employee / year (equates to 7.5 percent -25 percent of an individual's annual carbon footprint). 

Teleworking is like giving your staff a pay raise and a cut in hours for free. Facet/Teletrips reports that it saves them each $2,000 - $10,000 in after tax dollars and frees up 160 hours of their time from commuting every year.

Your organization also benefits from teleworking as it can gain $2,000 - $10,000 real estate and other cost savings / employee / year, and greater staff retention and recruiting. 

https://www.teletrips.com/public/learn.php

The rising gas prices are already reportedly making organizations think about teleworking. Employees, especially lower-paid ones like contact center agents are less willing to travel the same distances to work because they have to pay more out of their pockets.

Telework is also a proven disaster response strategy by distributing the workforce that makes operations less vulnerable to threats and 'events'. Telework ties into the Internet, which was conceived of and created by the US government to withstand and respond to an enemy attack by distributing computers over a network. 

And on 9-11-01 both telework and the Internet delivered.













Data Centers Find They Can't Afford to Not 'Go Green'

April 9, 2008

In the data center market, the need for green technology solutions to reduce energy consumption is rapidly becoming imperative. That’s according to executives who gathered for a panel Wednesday during Computerworld’s Storage Networking World conference.   Going green is no longer just a matter of moral rightness or social responsibility, Computerworld reported. It is now becoming a business necessity for data center operations to know how much energy each device consumes and to find ways of reducing that energy consumption.

Want More Energy For Computing? Burn Trash!

April 2, 2008

If your company has an extra $5,000 or so in its green technology budget, it might be worth considering a device the converts trash into energy with very minimal emissions. The device is called “the Gigapit,” and is made by startup Data Centigrade, Inc.   The Gigapit is small enough (the size of a small trash bin) to be installed in an office, where it works to turn trash into business-class energy, ByteandSwitch.com said in a Tuesday report. The minimal smoke produced can be piped into the “air pleneum”above the drop ceiling present in most offices, or out an open window.   “Depending on the type of waste being burned, a typical company can reduce its data center power bill by 20 to 40 percent in the first year,” ByeandSwitch.com quoted Data Centigrade’s CEO, Guy Montag, as saying. Fuel efficiency depends on what’s being burned, he added: "Paper isn't great.

IT Execs to Gather in Orlando for Green Enterprise Computer Event

April 2, 2008

If green technology is your thing (and it must be if you’re reading this blog), take note: later this month more than 400 executives from data centers and IT organizations will descend on Orland, Florida for the Uptime Institute Symposium 2008 (theme: Green Enterprise Computing).   The goal of the event, schedule for April 27-30, is addressing operational and strategic challenges associated with developing energy-efficient systems for data centers. Industry benchmarks will be a key topic covered.   Keynoters will hail from some pretty big players in the IT space: Dell, Microsoft, Yahoo, IBM, Intel, Sun Microsystems, VMWare and APC. The event is sponsored (as the name suggests) by the Uptime Institute, a Santa Fe, California-based think-tank and advisory firm that focuses on computing reliability and energy efficiency. 
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