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Trading Up to Lower Carbon in Bangalore

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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Cleaner, Greener Set-top Boxes Under a Landmark Voluntary Agreement

chowjBy Joe Chow, VP & GM, Cisco Connected Devices BU

The Set-top box sits at the heart of our home entertainment centers, providing hours of enjoyment for the best of what’s on television. Over the past few years, it has become clear that we can do better when it comes to reducing set-top-box energy consumption.

That’s why Cisco has engaged in a robust dialogue with energy advocates, television providers, other equipment manufacturers and, ultimately the Department of Energy (DoE), to see if common ground could be reached on the energy efficiency of set-top boxes. Today, we are pleased to announce that a voluntary agreement has been forged.

This agreement preserves the highest quality consumer television experience, while making significant reductions in energy usage and greenhouse gases. This is a landmark agreement, which saves consumers money, protects the environment, and provides regulatory certainty for manufacturers and providers alike. That’s what I call a win-win-win.

Here’s what the agreement will do:

This agreement will save consumers at least $1 billion annually in energy costs, it will save 500 megawatts of energy every year (enough energy to power 4 million light bulbs all year round) and will prevent five million tons of CO2 emissions per year.

It commits PayTV providers to deploying energy efficient set-top boxes to at least 90% of all subscribers nationwide. Additionally, Cisco and other manufacturers are committed to design, build and provide set-top boxes and multifunctional gateways that meet stringent energy efficiency requirements, while maintaining the ability to provide the anytime, anywhere, any device video experience consumers have come to expect.

Cisco is proud of this agreement, and we look forward to providing our customers with cleaner and greener set-top boxes, so we can all return to our regularly scheduled programing.

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Accelerating the shift to renewable power

When we announced Cisco’s new environmental sustainability goals, one goal continued to require the most clarification from both internal and external stakeholders:  having our corporate electricity emissions factor at half of the International Energy Agency (IEA) world average.

This goal, and it’s delicate wording, perhaps only makes sense to us sustainability nerds who are immersed in the Greenhouse Gas conversation…

Given the recent market report from the IEA on renewable energy, I thought a post would be useful to explain the reasoning behind this goal, and how it helps both Cisco and the planet by including this goal in our efforts.

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Taking the CUE to Reduce Carbon Emissions

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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Sniffing Out a Data Center’s PUE

Power Usage Effectiveness or PUE, is the most commonly used metric in Data Centers today.  Data Center industry organizations tout it, major companies brag about their scores, and energy efficiency certifications use it in their ratings.

Despite how thoroughly it has been embraced, though, it’s not without flaws.  In my opinion, they mostly stem from the fact that PUE is more complicated than it looks.  Although calculating the metric is a relatively straightforward exercise, the resulting score doesn’t tell you anything about the factors that influenced it.  Hence why it’s a bad idea to compare PUE among Data Centers.

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