Google, Intel launch energy efficiency program
By Leonard AndersonTue Jun 12, 9:03 PM ET
Web search leader Google Inc. and semiconductor maker Intel Corp. launched a broad-based program on Tuesday to introduce more energy-efficient personal computers and server systems to save energy and reduce greenhouse gas emissions.
Called the Climate Savers Computing Initiative, the new program has signed on computer makers Dell Inc., Hewlett-Packard Co., IBM, Lenovo Group Ltd., software maker Microsoft Corp., the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency and more than 25 environmental groups, companies and universities for the energy savings campaign.
The program will set new efficiency goals for computers and software tools that manage power consumption.
It comes at a time when Silicon Valley has made clean technology a priority as it seeks to play a greater role in reducing the harmful effects of climate change attributed to global warming.
Google co-founders Larry Page and Sergey Brin have thrown capital behind numerous environmentally friendly ventures, including the installation of one of the largest solar energy systems to power their sprawling headquarters.
The program requires a 90 percent efficiency standard for power supplies, said Urs Holzle, senior vice president of operations at Google.
More efficient computing could trim the use of electricity that now is being wasted as heat, which in turn, especially in large server centers, requires more power for air conditioning.
Today, the average desktop PC wastes nearly half of its power and the average server wastes one-third of its power, Holzle said.
A 90 percent standard would cut greenhouse gas emissions by 54 million tons a year and save more than $5.5 billion in energy costs, he said at a meeting at Google's headquarters in Mountain View.
The program also includes the World Wildlife Fund, which licensed the initiative from its WWF Climate Savers program, and California utility PG&E Corp., which offers rebate programs for energy savings products.
The climate program will follow the EPA's Energy Star guidelines for energy efficiencies in computers, home appliances and other devices this year to introduce the initiative.
Energy Star standards currently require that PC computer power supplies hit at least 80 percent efficiency and that would rise to a minimum 90 percent by 2010 under the new climate initiative.
Higher efficiency will raise the price of a personal computer by $20 and a server by $30, said Pat Gelsinger, senior vice president and general manager of Intel's Digital Enterprise Group, adding that more efficient systems would pay for themselves in lower energy costs.
Shipments of personal computers should rise 12.2 percent this year to 256.7 million as customers buy more laptop PCs, market researcher IDC said in a report, increasing its forecast from an earlier 11.1 percent.