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Energy bills rising? These tips may help

From the datacenter to the mobile employee, eco-friendly products IT managers should consider

By , Network World
May 10, 2007 05:06 PM ET

Network World - You don’t have to be a tree hugger to want to reduce your company’s energy consumption. High energy costs and increasing power requirements are driving enterprises to pay closer attention to energy usage.

The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency’s overhauled Energy Star ratings for computers also have many IT managers thinking more about how to go green.

 View a slide show of the products.

But where do you start? If you’ve already replaced the incandescent light bulbs in your office with compact fluorescent bulbs, and you’re ready to take the next environmental step, check out our list of green-friendly IT products that could be a fit for your enterprise.

Product: SprayCool M-Series

Company: SprayCool

Technology: Data center liquid cooling system keeps rack-mounted servers cool by removing heat from each server’s CPU, and then from the data center, through a heat exchange with the system’s water loop. The SprayCool M-Series system can support up to 10,800 watts per rack.

Claim to green fame: The cooling system allows data center operators to fully populate racks -- conserving data center space -- while reducing energy consumption and the strain on air-conditioning units. The M-Series system itself is energy efficient, requiring 200 watts per rack.

Potential savings: Typical data centers can reduce their total facility power consumption by 40% or more, SprayCool claims.

Cost: $25,500

Launched: November 2006

Customers: Liberty Lake Internet Exchange, Callison, Mountain Gear

Product: Earth-PC and Earth-Server

Company: Tech Networks of Boston

Technology: Environmentally friendly PCs and servers.

Claim to green fame: Tech Networks says its computers use 25% less power than standard gear due largely to the use of energy-efficient power supplies certified by Ecos Consulting’s 80 PLUS Program. The 80 PLUS performance specification requires power supplies in computers and servers to be 80% or greater energy efficient. The power supplies “waste less power as heat, resulting in additional savings on air conditioning costs,” says Yves Dehnel, a project manager at Tech Networks. Earth-PC and Earth-Server also have the ability to shut down components when idle to further reduce power consumption. The company says they meet the EPA’s updated Energy Star Computer Specifications, which are due to go into effect in July.

Potential savings: Switching from a standard PC to an Earth-PC will save a customer about $300 in energy costs over five years, the company says. The Earth-Server promises to save users $1,500 annually in lower energy costs over the same time period. For more details, check out the company’s cost saving calculator.

Cost: $669 to $1,299 for Earth-PC and $1,634 for Earth-Server

Launched: April 2006

Customers: Phoenix Bay State Construction, Boston Day and Evening Academy, Green Roundtable/Nexus Green Building Resource Center

Product: Surveyor 4.0

Company: Verdiem

Technology: Verdiem’s Surveyor software helps businesses measure, manage and reduce the energy usage of PCs on their networks. The tool centralizes control of the power settings of networked PCs; IT managers can create power-management policies and schedule preset shutdown times for PCs, for example. The software runs as a service on Windows NT, 2000, XP and Vista client machines and as an application on Windows 95, 98 and ME client devices. If you’ve deployed Macs, you’re out of luck; the product currently supports only Windows PCs.

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