Tag Archives: Green

Green Computing: An Economic Imperative

Fund Balance sees Green Computing as an essential component in economic planning for the coming decade and beyond. Many rare earth metals required for key components  of workstations, laptops and smartphones are growing scarce. China possesses the most significant deposits of these essential rare earth metals. The PRC government is actively buying up rights to deposits in Africa. It also has the most developed capacity to extract and deliver the ores, from mine to manufacturing floor.

We noted at Fund Balance recently Chinese government signals to trading partners and sovereign funds of its inclination to halt exports of rare earth metals. It is also worth noting in the areas of Energy Technology that China has near monopolies on key elements for Wind Turbines, Neodymium, and the batteries in the Prius, Lanthanum.

We urge all consumers and producers of networked, digital media to consider the economic consequences of failing to plan ahead for these contingencies now. So critical actions items:

— Supplies of many of the rare earths can be found in Alaska and Canada, lets lay out sustainable plans and methodologies now to protect the air and water of these ecosystems once mining for them begins.

— Accelerate investment in solar, thermal and even kinetic (powering your cell phone while you ride your bike)

— Encourage certifications, much like the LEED certifications, for software and hardware design and engineering praxis

We have tremendous faith that such scarcity will drive industry and academia to innovate in the areas of materials science, optical switching and other methods for powering computational and information technology obviating much of the need for rare earth metals. And indeed Physorg.com covers some exciting work in the area of nanotechnology and near-threshold computing.

But in the meantime lets plan for sustainable industrial action.

China outspends major powers in 2010 federal stimulus funding on smart grid projects

We have been covering China’s intensive and substanstial focus on Green Technology, Smart Grids and non-petroleum-based energy sources and supplies here at fund-balance.com since our launch in October 2008.

Now that a picture of national stimulus spending is emerging for 2010, its no surprise then to see that China will outpace the United States in this area, as detailed by Zprýme Research and Consulting. The report also notes that the U.K and France have roughly double the smart grid capacity as the U.S. and major U.S. industrial concerns such as IBM and Hewlett Packard are busy deploying these projects in China. Basically we can see that China has leapfrogged the west in the last two years. An example of what Thomas Friedman calls their “Green Leap” forward. –W.B.

Clean water and air in conflict with greater access to coal and electricity

Over the past few weeks we have seen communities increasingly turn away from unchecked development and new electricity access, especially from coal burning plants, in the name of preserving clean air and water supplies. Even if it means that short-term economic gain may be traded for a greater quality of life.

For example in two of the reddest of Red States, Alabama and Idaho, we have a number of stories citing how local citizenry are questioning and rejecting new coal burning electricity sources in the name of clean-air and water. Two pieces from the Birmingham News note how high rates of particulate amounts of pollutants in air discourage outside businesses from relocating and increasing investment. For example, where it reports: “According to Randall Johnson, director of the Alabama Surface Mining Commission, both conflicts result from a collision of trends.” These reports stand in contrast to the late 20th century argument that environmental protection impedes business activity and economic opportunity – as John Archibald points to in his column in the  Birmingham News.

The New York Times covers Idahoan rejection of greater abundance of electricity, and curiously how such abundances have brought price increases.

One trend that emerges to my mind is that people across the socio-economic spectrum are settling on a common notion: a willingness to accept less extravagant (or perhaps simply more judicious) living in terms of gadgets and electricity, in order to maintain their environs and sustain the eco -systems and -nomies they inherited.

From the Fund-Balance perspective the above calls up three important points:

We must move to encourage new energy sources with fiscal and monetary policy as a nation, not as a discrete set of political parties and factions

New industrial and intellectual capital formation is demanded to power the United States.

And lastly, there is no green-magic bullet, some degree of re-alignment of lifeways in our always on society is required.

Facebook Opens Green Data Center

SAN JOSE, CA — Fortune Data Centers’ San Jose facility earned the prestigious LEED Gold certification from the U.S. Green Building Council last week, six months after opening the green facility.

With the certification, Fortune Data Centers has joined a very small number of LEED-rated data centers; the company estimated that it is one of only five such buildings in the United States.

The eight-megawatt data center can also brag a gold-star tenant: internet phenomenon Facebook confirmed that it is leasing some of the floor space in the facility, part of an ongoing expansion for the website, all of which has gone to green data centers, according to Data Center Knowledge.

Related News & Blogs
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Green IT Hits the Mainstream in Data Centers

Fortune Data Centers’ facility earned kudos from not just the USGBC: San Jose Mayor Chuck Reed also lauded the company for helping the city meet its Green Vision goals, which include building 50 million square feet of green buildings, reducing the energy used per capita by half, and switching the remaining energy used to renewable energy by 2022.

Among the features of Fortune Data Centers’ San Jose facility that helped it earn LEED certification include:

• a Power Usage Effectiveness (PUE) ratio of 1.37 at full load, far lower than the industry average of about 2.0;
• Diverting 96 percent of construction waste from landfill, leading to the recycling or reuse of over 1,100 tons of materials;
• Setting energy efficiency guidelines for procurement of uninterruptible power supplies and other hardware within the building.

“We believe companies shouldn’t have to pay extra for energy efficiency, rather they should realize a reduction in costs,” John Sheputis, CEO of Fortune Data Centers, said in a statement. “Fortune and our tenants are collaborating to maximize efficiencies, and our tenants receive 100 percent of the cost savings that result from saving energy.”

Fortune Data Centers previously made news for earning a $900,000 rebate from its electric utility for the energy efficiency of its facility. The award came as part of an incentive program from Pacific Gas & Electric’s High-Tech Energy Efficiency program.