Yesterday, I posted two blogs (here and here) regarding an AMD-hosted panel discussion that I attended in Cambridge, MA. Execs from AMD, EMC, HP, and APC were there to talk about short term measures that can yield savings in energy expenditures and green house gas emissions today, and then the ways in which they're looking to enable deeper efficiencies through new technologies and automation. For example, imagine that, collectively, the temperature sensors on the cores of all of the microprocessors in a datacenter were dynamically adjusting the controls on that datacenter's air conditioning system. Cool, eh? (literally and figuratively).
One of the more interesting parts of the morning however came when a member of the audience -- Arthur Howard -- was invited to the front of the room to brief the room on the green initiatives that he's involved in. Howard works for ICF Consulting which in turn is working with the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) to come up with a way for computers to get the EPA's Energy Star seal of approval -- basically, the same Energy Star sticker you see on common household appliances like washers, dryers, and refrigerators.
Why bother? As Howard explains in the attached video, not only is it about the basic efficacy of energy efficient systems when it comes to the environment, it's also about procurement. Already, an Energy Star specification for PCs has been ratified and, on the heels of that ratification comes an entire procurement ecosystem where, sort of like affirmative action, government agencies and maybe even the vendors they do business with will be required to purchase Energy Star-compliant PCs.
When he was called up to speak, Howard talked about the work he did on the PC front and how, for it's next challenge, ICF and the EPA are looking to take on servers. Right now, no Energy Star spec has been set for servers but the possibility of such a specification is being investigated and Howard is looking for feedback from any and all players who have something to contribute. But to get a more complete picture of what he's doing and what it means, check out the video.