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Electric Vehicle Charging Sparks Cisco Employees to Reduce Carbon Footprint

James Lynch’s Nissan Leaf bolts down a shady street in San Jose, California, hardly making a noise as it zips between lanes at 40 miles per hour. With the quick flick of the transmission and a forceful press of a foot, the powder-blue car jumps ahead on the smooth pavement with the force of a small sports car. This isn’t a Mustang, though.

It’s an electric car, and James Lynch is one of thousands of Cisco employees worldwide committed to reducing their gasoline consumption and carbon footprint by changing the way they drive. Cisco is supporting employees like James by installing more electric vehicle (EV) charging stations on its campuses worldwide.

A row of electric cars charges at Chargepoint stations on Cisco's San Jose campus

A row of electric cars charges at ChargePoint stations on Cisco's San Jose campus

Cisco joined the U.S. Department of Energy’s Workplace Charging Challenge in March 2013, contributing to a national goal of achieving a tenfold increase in the number of employers offering workplace charging in the next five years. More than 55 companies have joined the Workplace Charging Challenge. According to the Department of Energy, there are 8514 public charging stations and over 20,000 charging outlets available to electric vehicle drivers in the United States.

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Taking the CUE to Reduce Carbon Emissions

May 3, 2013 at 10:00 am PST

More and more businesses these days are taking steps to reduce their carbon emissions.  (Cisco is one of them, as the company met a 25% greenhouse gas reduction goal last year and subsequently upped it to 40%.)

There are several compelling reasons for doing so – some philosophical and others pragmatic.  Here are a few:

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Happy Earth Day! How Are You Contributing?

April 22, 2013 at 11:32 am PST

earth dayDid you know that you could keep approximately 19 pounds of carbon dioxide emissions out of the atmosphere for each gallon of gas you don’t use? By itself that may not seem like a big number, but for those who commute 5 days a week, 20 days a month and around 260 days a year, that is a lot of carbon emissions.

Telecommuting has become increasingly popular at organizations around the world. Many are developing formal programs and seeing the benefits of increased employee productivity, improved morale and business continuity.  The Association of Commuter Transportation (ACT) reports that 83 percent of the Fortune 100 companies allow employees to telework, including companies such as Google, Microsoft, Genentech and Starbucks.

That’s not all, in fact Read More »

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Location, Location, Data Center Location

January 4, 2012 at 10:00 am PST

I spent a recent weekend helping a friend load his belongings into a moving van, in preparation for relocating his family from California to Texas.  Sometime between lifting my end of a sofa and carrying boxes that apparently contained his collection of concrete blocks, we talked about his search for a new home.

Although there are certain amenities he would like his new house to have, the biggest influence on his choice of residence is the old real estate axiom location, location, location.  He has a child in preschool and a good job, so you can guess his priorities:  something near a highly rated school, not too far from work and where property values are apt to rise over time.

Location is a critical consideration for Data Centers, too, although for different reasons.  Read More »

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Energy Efficiency Makes Two Kinds of Green

March 23, 2011 at 10:00 am PST

Would you believe you can have yourself a pretty successful business upgrading office buildings with more energy-efficient light bulbs and timers to switch off heating and cooling systems after hours?

I worked as a newspaper reporter for much of the 1990s.  I wrote an article in 1993 about how the city of Santa Clarita in Los Angeles County had hired a firm to retrofit its field services office with new lighting, timers and other energy-efficient solutions.  The improvements were expected to save about $70,000 per year.

What always intrigued me about the story was that the company that performed the upgrades not only allowed Santa Clarita to incrementally pay for the improvements out of the savings from lowered utility bills but also guaranteed those savings would more than offset the price tag of the improvements in 5 years.  If the savings didn’t materialize, the company would pay the shortfall back to the city.

Everyone wins.  The company performing the upgrades gets paid for doing the upgrade work, the city saves money on its utility bills for years to come and the environment is better off due to reduced energy consumption and associated carbon emissions.

Now, consider that modern Data Centers can have power densities 50 to 100 times those of conventional office buildings.  How much greater green - both financial and environmental kind - can be had by saving energy in those environments?  With that in mind, here is an overview of several strategies being implemented in Data Centers to make them greener.

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