Archives for September 2010

A Summer full of fun (and fundraising)

Through a variety of activities from April until August, employees managed to raise dollars for Softchoice Cares:

  • BBQ in Montreal
  • Beer Cart Raffles
  • Biggest Loser Competition Company-Wide
  • Book Fair in St Louis (organizer: Vicky Zeis)
  • Habitat for Humanity Builds in: Montreal, DC, LA/Irvine, San Diego, San Francisco, Seattle and Atlanta
  • Windows 7 technical training (organizer: Rebecca Horton)
  • Marra Farms – One Brick Event in Seattle (organizer: Larissa Tietjen)
  • MKG Self Defense class in Seattle (organizer: James Kessenich)
  • NorCrawl event in Atlanta (organizers: Kellie Boggs and Jody Girard)
  • SBM Canada Golf Tournament in Toronto
  • Seattle Golf Tournament (organizer: Lisa Yu)
  • Street Hockey in Toronto (organizer: Peter Cibula)
  • Trivia Night in Seattle and Toronto (organizers: Karly Billstein and Melissa Alvares)
  • World Cup Pool, company-wide (organizer: Peter Cibula)
  • Selling Softchoice Cares T-shirts
  • Seattle Movie Night

Solar Trees?

In the short time I have been blogging, I have really loved searching for new ideas and products on how a person or place can become more green.  I recently found a great idea in the city of  Angkor Wat, Cambodia.  By using green solar energy they have found a way to fix a few different problems all at once.  In a city that was once not very lit up at night (causing residents and visitors to stay in their homes) new solar trees are now provided light.  This interesting design allows them to look almost tree-like and store power all day, so that it can be used at night to power lights.  Now that the people are out and about later in the day, businesses are able to stay open later at night.  What a great boost for the economy!  What’s even better is that with the help of the Korean Studio Nothing Design Group, Asiana Airlines and Korea International Corporation Agency (KOICA), they didn’t even have to spend much to get them up and running.

Currently they have 16 in place and it sounds like they plan to add 5 to 10 every year for the next few years.  This is a trend that needs to catch on.

Virtual and Greener

As all of us in IT know by now, the fastest was to decrease the size of your data center is to virtualize in some way or another.  For those of you who have not yet tried it you need to give it a shot.  For those of you who have some applications virtualized but not all, then take a look at what you are working with to see if you can virtualize even more.

With free basic software versions from VMWare, Microsoft and Citrix there is no reason to not try it out and see what you think.  Before you know it you will start seeing fantastic results in power reduction (and power bills), cooling, and physical space in your data center.  You can use capacity planners to figure out what to virtualize next.  These planners will detail all of the utilization numbers of your existing machines and then tell you what kind of a machine you need to put all your VMs on.

We have been seeing up to a 30 to 1 physical server consolidation ratio.  Imagine taking the power, space and manageability issues of 30 servers out of your environment!  What a relief. [Read more…]

Charging Stations Offered in Parking Garages

InterPark, a company with many parking garages across the U.S. has begun installing charging stations for electric powered cars in 12 of their locations.  Currently all of the 12 locations are in the city of Chicago but they plan to roll out more down the road.  There has been a back and forth on the reasons why this hasn’t happened until now. The public were saying that they were waiting until the infrastructure of charging stations was built and the companies were saying they were waiting until people buy the cars.  Well we should wait no further, InterPark has made the first step.  In fact, they are allowing you to charge up for free through the rest of the year.  As a promotion they are also giving away a lease on a Tesla Roadster, a high performance electric sports car, leases on a few Toyota Prius’ as well as many other things.

This isn’t only happening in Chicago, companies all over are implementing charging stations.  Check out this picture of how the parking in San Francisco has come along.

Here are some great green commute facts from InterPark.

FACT: One-in-four American adults say they would likely consider a reasonably priced plug-in car the next time they purchase, according to Consumer Reports.
FACT: Currently, 96% of U.S. transportation is fueled by petroleum.
FACT: For the rest of 2010, home charging station installation costs get a federal tax credit of 50-percent up to a $2,000 max.
FACT: There will be “No Charge to Charge” for the rest of 2010 at an InterPark downtown Chicago facility that has a charging station.

So now that the infrasturcture has begun being built maybe it is time we all considered a green car on our next car purchase.

Buy Locally and Support Your Community

Every month our President hosts the Softchoice Day One call – an interactive conference call that is broadcasted companywide. Softchoice provides pizza for all employees to enjoy during the call and we order an average of around 74 pizzas each month!

We proudly order all our pizza from a local family-run business that has a commitment to the environment and the community. They use environmentally friendly packaging, their menus are printed on recycled paper, pizza boxes are made of recycled cardboard and they use biodegradable plastic bags.

All pizza toppings are made with organic ingredients that come from local farms. Eating fresh organic food with recycled packaging is a great way to reduce your carbon footprint, and tastes great as well! Have you found sustainable caterers in your community?

The Impact of “No Impact Man”

You’ve probably heard about him by now, seen him on TV, read his book or his blog – and just within the past year the movie about Colin Beaven’s ambitious experiment has been released. After having mostly heard about No Impact Man through my wife, we recently had a chance to view the film together and came to understand some challenges he faced beyond the self-imposed restrictions from modern-day living.

Sure, the year Colin, his wife and toddler daughter spent on a strict local diet, biking through the streets of NY and even at one point without electricity or a fridge WERE a huge challenge – but the real eye-opener was the backlash received from some friends, family and others that considered themselves to be environmentalist.

[Read more…]