Things to turn off before going away for the long weekend

If you’re like me every long weekend brings either a trip up to the cottage or to visit relatives out of town. As a homeowner you make sure your house is all locked up and secure. But what we forget to think about are the items that we leave plugged in. Most people think because an appliance is turned off it does not draw any energy.

The truth is they still do draw power, and in some cases they can draw up to 10 to 15 watts per device. Recent studies indicate that in the US alone, appliances left plugged in or on standby add $3 Billion in annual energy costs to US households.

You might think its appliances like coffee makers or toasters that are the biggest offenders for this, but in reality it is your home entertainment systems that are sucking the most energy when off. On average, a home entertainment center will use anywhere from 50 to 80 watts in just standby mode.

The worst piece of equipment is [Read more…]

Don’t miss out on a gift to green your data center

Data center efficiency projects such as virtualization, consolidation, power and cooling upgrades all have pretty strong business cases and ROI. The reduction in hardware means lower operating and managing costs for your organization.

Many utilities are now sweetening the deal and offering rebates and incentives that put an extra bang into your business case.  Some of these rebates are paid out per kilowatt hour saved (usually 5 – 11cents per kw) and others are a percentage of the overall project costs (anywhere from 35 – 50% of your project cost paid for) [Read more…]

Unfriend coal to fuel data centers

High-tech heavyweights including Google, Yahoo and Microsoft have made big investments in greener data centers.  Facebook has yet to join in – and Greenpeace has noticed. Greenpeace is asking people to “unfriend” coal to pressure Facebook to stop using coal and switch to renewable energy sources.

Greener data centers are good for all of us – so why not unfriend coal! Read more about Greenpeace’s campaign here.

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.

Review: Live Green Show

On the weekend I had a chance to check out the  Live Green Show. There were two stages with live music and long line of vendors streaming up the street. One of the stages claimed to have the first bicycle powered sound equipment. It makes you wonder: How much energy are humans producing in their daily lives that is going to waste? Could we be outfitted in someway to produce power for other things? I see a lot of people at the gym running on machines that consume energy, but what if that treadmill charged their electronics while they ran, or powered the TV in front of them? It reminds me of the movie “The Matrix” where humans power machines to live in an virtual world. In a way, some of us are already doing that, aren’t we?

There were several government funded vendors at the show as well as several entrepreneurs pedaling their own innovations. The innovations ranged from cleaning cloths to organic free trade skin products, to rain collection devices. The rain collection barrel with eaves trough attachment again reminding me again that we are letting things go to waste all the time. In the city we do not collect rain water but with an investment of under $200 you could save rain water. You could us it for your lawn/garden or to load your water gun and keep away pesky neighbors, think about how much you’re currently wasting on that!  Have fun with your energy savings.

The nuts and bolts of PC Power Management

The Solutions

PC Power Management Software

Implementing specialized power management software to shut down PCs and monitors when not in use is by far the best way to gain energy efficiencies. These technologies typically cost between $10-$20 per device and will allow a central administrator to set shut-down policy and manage exceptions, as well as giving you the ability to report on savings. Advanced tools also provide the ability to save and properly close documents upon shutdown, and allow for scheduled patches or updates to occur seamlessly. [Read more…]