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Near-Sighted Or Far-Sighted? Just Stay Focused

When victory or a major step in the right direction is in reach, focus is critical. Take, for instance, last summer. Gas prices were sky-high. Oil was approaching $150 a barrel. You couldn’t turn on the TV or surf the internet without some story about conservation, plug-in hybrids, wind farms, or the like. Bookstores created ‘green’ sections. Momentum around environmental sustainability was beginning to build. But then, gas prices started to drop, and old habits began to resurface. We lost our focus. Skip ahead to the present, and some of the most forward-looking projects are now in jeopardy. Just last week, James Kanter from the New York Times blogged about falling prices for permits to emit carbon dioxide and governments putting green-focused efforts on hold. According to Kanter, the economy is to blame. But views like that are limited—or at the very least, blurred. Investment in green can actually open up new economies. As the Seattle Times recently reported, President Obama’s proposed stimulus package includes more than $25 billion for energy-efficiency projects. And, according to the White House website, the Obama administration intends to invest $150 billion over the next 10 years in climate friendly energy and deployment initiatives. They believe such an investment can create five million new jobs and stimulate the economy. But let’s get more granular and zero in on what businesses can do today to weather the economic turbulence. In the past, companies have had to choose between doing what’s right for the environment and what’s right for the company. That choice is now irrelevant. With smart technologies, such as what Cisco is introducing at Networkers Barcelona, organizations can approach their IT infrastructure in more strategic, environmentally sustainable ways that can significantly reduce their operating expenses. We’re talking about green intelligence here—a shift from always on to always available; greater impact on bottom line, less impact on the planet. Add to that the ability to better see and control your energy and you begin to see the potential for even greater successes beyond your network—economically and environmentally. It just takes focus and a change from doing things the same old way. If you’d like to learn more about what Cisco is doing with green technology, visit our environmental sustainability website. Or, click here to learn more about what we’re announcing at Networkers Barcelona.

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7 Comments.


  1. Choosing to do what is right for your business and what is right for the environment don’t have to be mutually exclusive. I’d encourage anyone that hasn’t read Hot, Flat, and Crowded”” by Thomas L. Friedman (ISBN: 978-0-374-16685-4) to take the time to read this stimulating book. As you consider Friedman’s message, think too about how your organization can actually operate MORE efficiently and profitably through investment in energy efficient IT solutions. Keep in mind the highly relevant impact of these IT driven solutions – IT accounts for less than 2% of the overall global energy expenditures, but it has the ability to impact far more than its 2%… by controlling devices beyond the “”network edge””, including building facilities. It is only when we integrate these many networks into a single, intelligently controlled ecosystem that we really realize the impact of “”the network is the platform”” in the context of energy management.”

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  2. Mark Leary

    With apologies to Robert Browning… A network’s reach should not exceed its grasp. Just as we strive to connect more and more resources to our networks, so too must we also strive to control the use — and abuse — of these networked resources. What are we talking about here? Servers. PCs. Phones. Mobile Devices. Sure, but don’t stop there. Let’s look at a more basic level. Let’s look at energy as a networked resource. In the data center, the energy discussion goes hand-in-hand with discussions of servers and storage devices and networking equipment. How about the office? Or the bank branch? Or the classroom? Or the warehouse? All are networked and all use energy — and lots of it. According to Gartner Group, energy costs account for 30% of a bulding’s operating costs and about 20% of the Greenhouse Gas emissions of most developed countries. Electronic devices, power equipment, lighting, heating, and air conditioning all drive energy demand — and costs. Proper control over energy provides support for not only our environment, but also our economy and all the organizations and households looking to survive and succeed within both. As we extend the reach of our networks, let’s make sure we also have a firm grasp over every — and I mean EVERY — network resource. Be energy wise!

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  3. I think the solution is simple. Oil is a limited energy resource while solar is a reusable energy resource. With the amount of energy being used daily worldwide through millions of different infrastructures, it is time for companies to get energy smart. Companies, especially enterprise, have to now work not just for its business but for the environment in which it operates. In essence, energy resources will rise and companies expenses will rise 2 fold, 3 fold, and at times 4-5 folds. By going green you knock out two birds with one stone: lowering expense, and saving for the future. That sounds like a reasonable company goal to me, wouldn’t you say?Great blog Marie!–Navid

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  4. Marlowe Fenne

    During a recent family discussion on how to reduce power consumption in our house, one of my daughters suggested watching less TV. After a wave of pride swept over me, we did some research on just how much power and money the US would save if everyone did this. Turns out it’s a big number.According to the National Cable and Television Association, there are 112.3 million household television sets in the US, and according to the EPA, they consume approximately $4.5 billion in electricity annually (or 61 billion Kilowatt hours). By coincidence, that’s about the same amount of power used by data centers throughout the US.Ironically, while we’re reducing power usage in our homes, power consumption in data centers doubled between 2000 and 2006, and it’s slated to double yet again between 2006 and 2011, according to the same EPA study. So while we’re using more efficient light bulbs and appliances, our personal and corporate “need for speed” is countering some of these efforts, and costing a fortune in the process.So how do we align our efforts and put our data centers on the same sort of power diet our homes are on without sacrificing performance, and what difference would it make? There are already many well-documented practices for making IT more green,For example, even simple measures outlined by one EPA plan could reduce power usage in data centers up to 55 percent. That’s an annual power savings of $1.6 billion, and a reduction of up to 47 million metric tons of CO2 by 2011. It could forestall the building of up to 15 new power plants. If more advanced recommendations were followed, data center power consumption could actually decrease by 60 billion kilowatt hours, saving $4.1 billion, and avoiding an additional 38 million metric tons of CO2. All the new capabilities outlined at Networkers increase the ROI of these plans even more!We all need to carefully consider how to do our part – both professionally and personally – so that our kids inherit a better environment in the long term, and so we can actually save up some money to send them to college in the short term. The more we look, the better we understand how interdependent and connected our personal and corporate lives are, on an individual, and on a global basis.

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  5. Shashi Kiran

    Isn’t it amusing that when you flip the switch off””, you vote for life preservation?It’ll be an interesting journey.”

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  6. sir, interested to know more about solar power projects. thanking you,warm regardsharikumar.,

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  7. Harikumar, thanks for your interest in our Ecolibrium blog.You asked about solar power projects. Here in California recently, one particular incident indicates that a sharpened focus is required in order to ensure success. Voters rejected the massive Measure B solar project for Los Angeles, a seemingly perfect solar city, not because of technology shortcomings but because of process breakdowns.And another point worth noting: First Solar’s takeover of all the outstanding solar projects of technology provider OptiSolar could be an indicator of solar industry consolidation to come. With wind and geothermal momentum building in many parts of the world, especially in the US, solar faces some stiff challenges on both the business and technology fronts. On the plus side, solar power systems — both large- and small-scale — have made significant improvements in efficiencies and aesthetics over the last few years. Combine these advancements with rising governmental support (US stimulus package) and business incentives (renewable energy credits) and the future looks bright for solar power. We just need to stay focused and not be thrown off by low oil prices or the current economic storm.

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