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Trading Up to Lower Carbon in Bangalore

March 25, 2014 at 8:00 am PST

Electric trading markets that allow consumers to procure blocks of energy directly from generation providers have existed for a long time, but have tended to be in areas with highly stable distribution systems with access limited to large consumers.  Customer segmentation within electricity markets has therefore been limited, with utilities defining tariffs and establishing service reliability based on customer type: residential, commercial, or industrial.  However, technology platform enhancements have enabled smaller consumers to participate in electric trading markets and enabled system operators with a less stable grid to provide this service.

The result is that consumers, and not just the utility companies, can define the characteristics and pricing for their electric service. 

For Cisco, this change is allowing us to purchase electricity in one of our most important, but least reliable and highest-carbon locations — Bangalore, India — in a new way that reflects our requirements for availability and environmental impact.

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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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