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Avoid the Rush. Test Drive Demand Side Management Now

I once heard a sage piece of advice for two-income families who plan to become single-income families: test drive the one-income lifestyle. While you still have both your jobs, stash the income from the job you’re considering dropping and try living on the income you intend to retain. See what changes you’ll need to make while you still have some margin for experimentation and adjustment. This “test drive” lets you find the perfect RoI for your family before the change takes effect. 

Thinking about it, the same piece of advice is good for business and residential customers who plan to use demand side management (DSM) to cut energy costs. A key feature of the smart grid, demand side management lets utility customers cut energy costs by shifting energy consumption to times when power costs less. While off-peak pricing may not be available from your utility now, it will be in the future. And it can make a big difference in your energy costs and your carbon footprint. But taking advantage of DSM requires planning, and that’s something you can start right away. Working with an energy Demand Response (DR) expert such as EnerNOC ( to plan your DSM program is immensely helpful, but first do some homework on your own.

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Modeling Your Efficiency

We’ve recently embarked on an logical extension of the Advanced Services we’ve been providing for efficiency assessments for the last 24 months.  Our Facilities Design Specification Service is uncovering some interesting new approaches to energy efficient data center design.  Since you only get a very finite window of opportunity to make changes to an environment like a data center, modeling is key.

We use 6sigma from Future Facilities for highly detailed thermal modeling and good old Visio for everything else.  However, we are using with great success an intermediary application, Google SketchUp. Hats off and many thanks to the Google crew for giving this incredibly powerful yet simple tool away.  While we do use the pro version, most of our customers can use the free version to simply convey design intent.  Say goodbye to whiteboards.

You may have already used it and most likely have seen the 3D buildings in Google Earth.

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Energy Management in the Data Center – New Report

imageA good report was issued last week from The 451 Group, written by Andy Lawerence. They issued another insightful report last year called Eco-Efficient IT and appear to be an analyst body spending some real cycles on digging past the Green veneer. While we’ve not purchased this most recent report “Data Center Management and Energy Efficiency Software“, the executive summary is worth the very simple registration process. Without giving too much away there are a few key points I thought worthy of highlighting:1) There are already as many as 9 distinct approaches to energy management in data centers2) Traditional organizational structures are being challenged3) The business case is already very attractiveOn this last point, there is a lot of room for real financial savings with very little capital expenditure. To simplify for the sake of blog’eese; the way we are assessing it in the team I lead for Energy Management Services is as follows: Read More »

Affecting Change in the Corporate World

A Guppies PerspectiveThere is an old saying, “you catch more flies with honey.” This especially applies in the US where we enjoy a representative democracy. While this political system moves slowly, it does move. Given the corporate sway on this political system, one could argue that influencing large corporations is as important as governments today. To that end I’ve prepared some points that might help my fellow environmentalists better influence a company like ours to accommodate a particular agenda:1. Corporations are publicly traded. Therefore any corporation you want to influence must show fiscal responsibility (aka profit). Find a way to make the connection between what a corporation sells or could sell and your particular agenda. I have developed several examples under the planning tools section of Cisco’s Efficiency Assurance Program that tie economics to CO2. In the case of global climate change, there are no better business cases out there for environmentalism than energy efficiency and brand recognition.2. Deliver your message in a professional manner. Professionals in any field are called that for a reason. They are either good at what they do or have been around long enough without making any career limiting mistakes. I hold the environmental community to the same standard. Spend the time to author a solid plan (mirroring a typical business plan format is a good start) that makes defensible claims on the cost of environmental impacts in current and/or future forms, then link it to the business in a meaningful way. If you’ve already done this and a Corporation doesn’t bite… guerilla tactics won’t help. Persistence and adaptation will. I have a Green collar today by picking small battles that can be won while marching towards a larger plan. Read More »

Green Counts: One Million Acts and Growing

How “green” are you? Chances are you’re already helping the environment with things you do every day. If you recycle at home, use a refillable coffee cup, or even telecommute one day a week, you’re doing your part to help the planet. And Cisco wants to help show you how.
In October 2008, Cisco launched One Million Acts of Green in Canada to show that individual, organizational, and community acts of green add up to something significant. The program asked everyone in Canada for an act of green. It could be small, like recycling. Or something bigger, like installing solar panels. The site’s calculator, designed by GreenNexxus, shows the positive impact in greenhouse gases saved.
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