Computer Sector Cooperates to Save Energy

Desktop Computer
The CSCI is working to promote more energy-efficient computers.

A new effort to unite computer manufacturers, retailers, and consumers in energy conservation was launched in Silicon Valley, California, on June 12. More than 35 organizations including computer manufacturers, chip makers, environmental groups, energy companies, retailers, and government agencies have joined to form the Climate Savers Computing Initiative (CSCI), which aims to reduce power consumption by computers by 50 percent by 2010.

Dell, Google, IBM, Microsoft, Pacific Gas & Electric, the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), and the World Wildlife Fund are all among the initial signers of the agreement. The Alliance will set high standards for energy-efficient computers and components and encourage adoption of this equipment by businesses and individuals. The program will also promote greater use of power management tools, which turn off computers or switch them to low-power modes during periods of low activity.

“Today, the average desktop PC wastes nearly half of its power, and the average server wastes one-third of its power,” said Urs Hölzle, Google’s senior vice president for operations at Google and a Google Fellow, according to a CSCI press release. “The Climate Savers Computing Initiative is setting a new 90 percent efficiency target for power supplies, which if achieved, will reduce greenhouse gas emissions by 54 million tons per year–and save more than $5.5 billion in energy costs.”

Participating manufacturers must agree to build products that are at least as efficient as EPA’s Energy Star guidelines. Businesses that sign-on must promise to use high-efficiency systems for most of their corporate desktop PCs and volume server purchases. Individuals are invited to support the movement by pledging to buy energy-efficient computers and using the not-yet-posted list of free online tools that can help individuals tune their systems to use less energy.

Efficiency standards of the CSCI are set to grow. While the 2007 Energy Star standard requires that power supplies for PCs meet at least 80 percent minimum efficiency, by 2010 the minimum for participants in the initiative will be 90 percent. Volume servers will be required to improve efficiency from 85 percent to 92 percent by 2010.

This story was produced by Eye on Earth, a joint project of the Worldwatch Institute and the blue moon fund. View the complete archive of Eye on Earth stories, or contact Staff Writer Alana Herro at aherro [AT] worldwatch [DOT] org with your questions, comments, and story ideas.