Sun to demo 'green' thin clients to the G8

UK managing director Trudy Norris-Grey will be extolling the virtues of Sun's sustainable computing strategy to conference delegates in Gleneagles

Sun will showcasing its thin client technology at the G8 conference this week in an attempt to highlight the environmental benefits of using more efficient PCs and utility computing strategies.

The company has sent a team to the conference, which begins on Wednesday, to install its Sun Ray thin clients in some of the main press and delegate areas. Sun's UK managing director Trudy Norris-Grey will also be visiting the conference to promote the company's sustainable computing message to the representatives and G8 leaders.

Sun claims that its Sun Ray thin clients require around 15W in comparison to the 300W for an average PC. The heat output is one-tenth that of a PC and considerably less environmentally sensitive material is required to during manufacture, the company says.

"This is the participation age — everyone involved in technology, whether they manufacture it or consume it, must act now and become more responsible in their attitudes towards IT, whether that’s recycling PCs, sharing code and best practice or challenging traditional purchasing models." said Norris-Grey.

Sun has met with representatives of US President George W Bush ahead of the conference to explain its approach to greener technology. Richard Barrington, Sun's head of public affairs and public policy, said that the US is playing catch-up with the UK when it comes to embracing a sustainable approach to computing. "The UK Primer Minister is firmly focused on climate change but the US needs to work at it a bit more," he said.

Barrington admitted that so far there is no real independent third-party research to back-up Sun's claims that thin-clients are a greener alternative to traditional PCs but claimed that the company would welcome such an investigation.

Despite pushing the thin client model since the early nineties Sun has failed to make significant headway with the technology, but extolling the environmental benefits may help as manufacturers and users have to deal with legislation such as the EU Waste Electronic and Electrical Equipment directive due to come into force in January next year.

Speaking at a recent Sun conference to promote sustainable computing, Jonathan Steel, director of analyst company The Bathwick Group, said that PCs in the UK account for 1 percent of country's total power usage.

He also said that more efficient approaches to IT need to be found as the technology industry could well be the next focus for the kind of activists who have targeted the tobacco or chemical companies. "We believe that if there is a bus trundling down the road towards you, it is better to get out of the way before it arrives," he said.