By Heather Clancy – ZDNet. I tend to be a Pollyanna-esque sort of journalist, looking for optimism and positive news wherever I can find it. So, my list of green technology “predictions” (if you can really call them that) is strictly focused on the things that I hope will happen in the year-to-come. Yes, of course, these are things that are also at least somewhat likely to happen, based on my read of current events. There is no particular order to this list.
#1: Makers of renewable energy technology and energy storage technology team up on more commercial-scale projects.
One of the biggest complaints about renewable energy continues to be the intermittent nature of sources such as the sun and the wind. One of the biggest concerns associated with electric vehicles surrounds “range” anxiety and how far one of these cars can travel on one charge. With that in mind, I’d like to hear more about practical applications of energy storage technologies in 2011, ala the joint project by International Energy and Princeton Power Systems that I wrote about in this blog from September 2010.
#2: Energy-efficient lighting technology booms as businesses invest.
The trends in cleantech venture capital pointed to an accelerating interest in energy efficiency projects throughout 2010. Many businesses are moving first to address the efficiency of their lighting, which you might consider the low-hanging fruit in terms of corporate sustainability projects. A survey I reported about last spring is a leading indicator: More than half of facilities managers believe that green lighting technology will show a quicker return on investment than pretty much any of their green technology options.
#3: Solar adoption continues to outpace expectations.
A new update from the Solar Energy Industries Association reports that the U.S. solar photovoltaic industry has grown an average of 69 percent annually for the past decade. 2010 was a record year for installations — before the third quarter had even ended. At the last count, 530 megawatts of capacity had been added in the United States by that time, compared with 435 megawatts for all of 2009. I think that the emergence of new cost-effective residential options that are more “plug and play” to install (like what Clarian Power is developing) along with another extension of the Department of Treasury Section 1603 program will help fuel another breakout year in 2010.
#4: Electric cars finally find a following with “average” Americans.
OK, let’s be real. So far most of the electric car or electric hybrid options — ala the Tesla — have been available in the United States have been far from accessible to most of us. But all bets are off now that the Nissan Leaf and the Chevrolet Volt have hit the market. One big factor, according to a new report on electric vehicles from Pike Research, will be the programs the many of the big rental car companies — including Avis, Hertz and Enterprise — to incorporate electric vehicles into their rental fleets.
#5: More businesses embrace formal policies for handling electronic waste.
Earlier this week, I interviewed the president of systems integrator Valcom, Chuck Birmingham, about this very topic. Valcom is allied with CloudBlue, which is a company that handles recycling, refurbishment and reuse of older technology. Birmingham reports that more and more midsize and enterprise companies are adopting more detailed electronic waste (e-waste) policies. Valcom now receives an average of two proposal requests per week. “They want to be able to get rid of the old at the same time they are deploying the new,” he says. One thing that will definitely be a continuing story. The emergence of certifications (ala e-Stewards) that companies can rely on to know that their technology is being disposed of securely (from a data destruction standpoint) and responsibly (as in, items aren’t being sent to landfills or exported to countries where they might do environmental damage).
#6: Mega-Enterprise XYZ cites energy efficiency as key factor in cloud sourcing decision.
Power and cooling considerations have become a key consideration in data center design decisions, so much so thatGartner is predicting a major overhauls in the design of new data centers over the next five years. Gartner outlines five ways that businesses can reduce power consumption, which in turn will improve data center efficiency. My belief is that these considerations will play a big role in whether or not companies build a new data center — or turn to the cloud to add desired new computing capacity. Increasingly, power management and energy-efficiency best practices are things that it might be worth sourcing from an expert, rather than developing them in-house.
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You may be interested in the following books on Green IT:
Green IT: Reduce Your Information System’s Environmental Impact While Adding to the Bottom Line
This groundbreaking work offers a complete roadmap for integrating environmentally sound techniques and technologies into your Information Systems architecture. Green IT explains how to adopt a business-driven green initiative and provides a detailed implementation plan. You will find strategies for reducing power needs, procuring energy from alternative sources, utilizing virtualization technologies, and managing sustainable development. Case studies highlighting successful green IT projects at major organizations are included. Keep your IT department and your organization in the green–both environmentally and financially–with help from this comprehensive guide.
The Greening of IT: How Companies Can Make a Difference for the Environment
The Greening of IT offers clear, business-focused coverage of both the benefits and roadblocks of moving to green IT. Lamb discusses internal organizational obstacles, as well as regulations, energy cost shifts, and utility rate incentives that can help companies move towards green IT. You’ll find specific how-to guidance on everything from measuring energy usage and optimizing data center cooling equipment through leveraging virtualization. Lamb also presents detailed, up-to-the minute green IT case studies – including utilities, universities, and companies of all sizes, worldwide. He concludes by previewing emerging trends in green IT and identifying “on the horizon” opportunities businesses should be monitoring and preparing for.
Foundation of Green IT: Consolidation, Virtualization, Efficiency, and ROI in the Data Center
In Foundations of Green IT, a team of leading Green IT consultants presents the detailed technical information data center professionals need to systematically identify the right improvements, implement them, maximize savings, and accurately calculate business value. Marty Poniatowski and his team present comprehensive case studies reflecting their unsurpassed Green IT experience, complete with detailed implementation diagrams and performance information. You’ll find independent, detailed coverage of solutions from HP, VMware, EMC, Cisco, and other leading vendors, with optimized sample designs and realistic ROI projections. Whether you’re a CIO or IT director, architect or administrator, if you want to improve IT efficiency, this is your definitive resource.
Three comprehensive, start-to-finish case studies - Analyze current environments, set goals, define implementation plans, and calculate ROI for:
- Server and desktop consolidation and virtualization
- Data center backup/recovery/archiving, including replication
- Networking, including VoIP background
Plus practical coverage of these Green IT topics:
- Designing data centers for greater efficiency and lower power usage
- Leveraging cloud computing
- Consolidating Microsoft SQL Server instances
- Reducing PC-related power usage and waste
Green IT For Dummies
Green technology is not only good for the environment; it’s also good for your bottom line. If your organization is exploring ways to save energy and reduce environmental waste, Green IT For Dummies can help you get there.
This guide is packed with cost-saving ways to make your company a leader in green technology. The book is also packed with case studies from organizations that have gone green, so you can benefit from their experience. You’ll discover how to:
- Perform an energy audit to determine your present consumption and identify where to start greening
- Develop and roll out a green technology project
- Build support from management and employees
- Use collaboration tools to limit the need for corporate travel
- Improve electronic document management
- Extend hardware life, reduce data center floor space, and improve efficiency
- Formalize best practices for green IT, understand your company’s requirements, and design an infrastructure to meet them
- Make older desktops and lighting fixtures more efficient with a few small upgrades
- Lower costs with virtual meetings, teleconferences, and telecommuting options
- Reduce your organization’s energy consumption
You’ll also learn what to beware of when developing your green plan, and get familiar with all the terms relating to green IT. Green IT For Dummies starts you on the road to saving money while you help save the planet.