Green Computing is a term to describe efforts to reduce the amount of energy produced by information technology hardware. Reducing power consumption has become increasingly important as agencies work to trim costs and consolidate older federal data centers. In January 2008, a FAR amendment was published that requires agencies to purchase more energy efficient computers, monitors and laptops.
At many government agencies, managers have made a decision. Instead of continuing to purchase high cost mainframes they have chosen instead to deploy multiple lower-cost x86 servers. This has lead to the installation of multiple different low-cost servers in many government sites, which can actually boost power consumption costs.
The increased system performance of modern servers, plus a migration toward high density computing, and proliferation of low-cost servers have actually exacerbated the machine density and energy consumption problem.
Government solution providers, including hardware manufacturers and IT systems integrators increasingly are pitching blade systems as one solution for trimming government IT power costs. The idea is that blades have multiple discreet servers, but share a single power supply, fan, co-processor and backplane connection.
The problem is, it takes a large number of blade installations in order to see a benefit from such a migration.
Here are some other things that can be done to reduce data center power consumption:
- Migrate toward a virtualized environment and use virtualization software to reduce the number of physical servers
- Investigate energy-efficient cooling architectures and new air conditioning systems
- Investigate whether just changing your system power supply units will help reduce power consumed.
Sun Microsystems arguably leads the green computing charge. In Sun's Open Work platform, employees do not have dedicated cubicles, or computers, and simply plug in to shared environments. It created an executive role around green computing, with David Douglas as the VP of Eco-responsibility. Sun even hosts an event for the topic, called Sustainable Innovation.
Other GovIYTwiki pages on this topic
- USDA energy topics
- Executive Order 13423 which sets goals in the areas of energy efficiency, acquisition, renewable energy, toxics reductions, recycling, renewable energy, sustainable buildings, electronics stewardship, fleets, and water conservation
In December 2007, the Office of Management and Budget (OMB) published a proposed policy letter requiring agencies to use registered products from the Electronic Product Environmental Assessment Tool (EPEAT), when purchasing personal computer products (laptops, notebooks, monitors and personal computers).
In January 2008, the Office of Federal Procument Policy (OFPP) published a proposed policy letter and an amendment to the Federal Acquisition Regulation (FAR).
The Congressional Quarterly produces a series of Congressional Quarterly Green Sheets that offer analysis and details on legislative action related to energy and environmental policy.