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    LEED - the Logo Program for a Green Data Center? Not necessarily

    The popularity using LEED to identify Green Data Centers has been interesting to watch.  I had the opportunity to take the LEED exam and add LEED AP to my business card.  But, this is where my renegade/contrarian side kicks in.  I saw the exam as a waste of time, having a LEED associated with what I work on.

    Why am I negative on LEED?  Because it is a Logo program where if you meet the criteria you get a logo you can have on your building.  A good demonstration of the problem is in this FastCompany article.

    The problems are several. Critics argue that the USGBC ignores important geographical differences, attaching as much importance to water conservation in Washington as in Arizona. For that matter, every feature on the LEED checklist is awarded the same value--so a builder gets the same credit for installing a bike rack as for harvested-rain cooling, regardless of their true impact. But the biggest issue is cost. Design and construction reviews required for LEED certification can cost many thousands of dollars.

    These are all good points, and the biggest one I agree with is cost.  Why is LEED so popular in the Data Center industry.  Because of the money made by the people who promote and market LEED.  What is the ROI on LEED?  People convince you LEED Silver isn't enough, Gold is the new minimum, and you should go for Platinum.

    Uhhh? What is the ROI?  For the consultants, it is an awesome ROI, spending more time in billable hours discussing alternatives to get more points.  Customers feeling like they are getting something as they get another point for waterless urinals and bike racks - key features that are required data centers. :-)  A lower water use cooling system doesn't count as much as waterless urinals even though the water use is probably 10,000 times more.

    What happens if you did what Cornell did and built to LEED standards but didn't get certified?

    A Different Shade of Green

    A Different Shade of Green

    Certifiable Cornell's Alice Cook House, the first of five nearly identical dorms.

    Knockoff Construction of a new dorm, Hans Bethe Hall, which has the same green specs but won't be LEED-certified.

    Cornell asked that question.

    That's why some are looking for ways to circumvent the official process. By the time Cornell University completed the first of five nearly identical dorms in 2004, it had paid $300,000 in consultant and submission fees to get LEED status. Now, it's using that building as a blueprint for the other four--each featuring vegetated roofs, spaces with natural light, and a glycol heat exchanger. They're certifiable, just not certified.


    “If one designs with LEED standards, the resulting building will save you money while almost secondarily helping the environment. A savvy businessperson could only make one choice. ” --Lisa L. Reeves

    On Earth Day when LEED data centers are a top topic. I am not going to contribute to listing those data centers that make others feel like they need to spend a bunch of money to put a LEED logo on their building.

    I've watched this go on for years when I worked at Microsoft and had various roles in Windows Logo Programs.  Microsoft was able to work the system as vendors knew their customers expect a Windows Logo on the box.  Which is a masterful demonstration of using a Brand to market to customers.

    Windows Logo Program


    Windows Logo Program: Overview

    The Windows Logo Program is designed to address the current and future market needs of customers using the Windows platform. The Windows logo signifies the compatibility and reliability of systems and devices with Windows operating system. It gives customers confidence that your product is thoroughly tested with Microsoft-provided tools and ensures a good user experience.

    The Windows Logo Program helps partners to innovate and bring a premium experience to market, thereby improving their ability to increase market share. The program strives to continuously improve its processes, responsiveness, and partner satisfaction.

    LEED is a marketing program.

    Imagine how greener a data center would be if the same amount of money spent for LEED certification was spent on reducing the overall environmental impact.  But, there is no Logo for this.  Just the satisfaction you used your money for a better purpose than being LEED certified.

    Click to read more ...


    Emerging Market Data Centers, what should they look like?

    The Economist has a 14 page section on Emerging Markets and points out the pace of business innovation.

    A special report on innovation in emerging markets

    The world turned upside down

    First break all the rules

    Easier said than done

    Grow, grow, grow

    Here be dragons

    New masters of management

    The power to disrupt

    A special report on innovation in emerging markets

    The world turned upside down

    The emerging world, long a source of cheap labour, now rivals the rich countries for business innovation, says Adrian Wooldridge (interviewedhere)

    Apr 15th 2010 | From The Economist print edition

    IN 1980 American car executives were so shaken to find that Japan had replaced the United States as the world’s leading carmaker that they began to visit Japan to find out what was going on. How could the Japanese beat the Americans on both price and reliability? And how did they manage to produce new models so quickly? The visitors discovered that the answer was not industrial policy or state subsidies, as they had expected, but business innovation. The Japanese had invented a new system of making things that was quickly dubbed “lean manufacturing”.

    This special report will argue that something comparable is now happening in the emerging world. Developing countries are becoming hotbeds of business innovation in much the same way as Japan did from the 1950s onwards. They are coming up with new products and services that are dramatically cheaper than their Western equivalents: $3,000 cars, $300 computers and $30 mobile phones that provide nationwide service for just 2 cents a minute. They are reinventing systems of production and distribution, and they are experimenting with entirely new business models. All the elements of modern business, from supply-chain management to recruitment and retention, are being rejigged or reinvented in one emerging market or another.

    Coincidentally, a Microsoft friend who is based in China just introduced me to a clean energy entrepreneur in China.  We had a quick conversation on the opportunities for data center innovation in emerging markets, and it got me thinking about the Economist articles more.

    Here is the latest ClustrMaps showing the WW readership of GreenM3.  The readership is significant in emerging market countries.image

    One of the other articles I liked is "First Break the Rules"  To be innovative requires a willingness to break the rules.  Which many times is a forbidden approach in enterprises.  Consider the post I wrote on the Social Security Administration.  An insider said, the SSA is evaluating hot and cold aisles, and is not convinced it will work.  I don't expect to be doing any work with the SSA any time soon.  :-)

    First break all the rules

    The charms of frugal innovation

    Apr 15th 2010 | From The Economist print edition

    GENERAL ELECTRIC’S health-care laboratory in Bangalore contains some of the company’s most sophisticated products—from giant body scanners that can accommodate the bulkiest American football players to state-of-the-art intensive-care units that can nurse the tiniest premature babies. But the device that has captured the heart of the centre’s boss, Ashish Shah, is much less fancy: a hand-held electrocardiogram (ECG) called the Mac 400.

    The device is a masterpiece of simplification. The multiple buttons on conventional ECGs have been reduced to just four. The bulky printer has been replaced by one of those tiny gadgets used in portable ticket machines. The whole thing is small enough to fit into a small backpack and can run on batteries as well as on the mains. This miracle of compression sells for $800, instead of $2,000 for a conventional ECG, and has reduced the cost of an ECG test to just $1 per patient.

    Can you imagine taking this same approach to data center systems?

    I am looking forward to discuss what Emerging Market Data Centers should look like.

    Click to read more ...


    Redmond High teacher wins $25,000 NEA Green Prize in Education, thinks Green is built on simple solutions

    Sometimes I wonder if the challenges to green the data center is the confusion companies have in approaching the problem.  PUE as simple as it is as a metric can be confusing to a novice on where to start.  To be greener requires change.  Change requires a motivation.  What is the motivation for green?

    In Seattletimes, there is an article about a Redmond High School teacher who won the $25,000 National Education Association award for Green Prize in Education.

    Redmond High environmental-science teacher wins $25,000 Green Prize

    Mike Town, who teaches environmental science at Redmond High, was presented the inaugural $25,000 Green Prize in Environmental Education from the NEA Foundation on Monday. The award was delivered by a grandson of undersea explorer and filmmaker Jacques Cousteau.

    By Katherine Long

    Seattle Times Eastside reporter

    Teacher Mike Town listens Monday before receiving the NEA Foundation's inaugural Green Prize in Public Education.

    Enlarge this photo


    Teacher Mike Town listens Monday before receiving the NEA Foundation's inaugural Green Prize in Public Education.


    Cool School Challenge: The "Cool School Challenge" program can be downloaded for free at

    When he was a boy, one of Mike Town's heroes was Jacques Cousteau, the French explorer and filmmaker whose "Undersea World of Jacques Cousteau" brought the beauty of the marine environment to viewers around the world.

    So it seemed fitting that when Town was awarded a national environmental-education prize Monday, it was delivered by one of Cousteau's grandsons, Philippe.

    Here is a quote from Philippe Cousteau.

    “The guiding philosophy of Mike Town's Cool School Challenge is that big changes start with small steps. His program provides a simple process that enables students, working together with their teachers, to proactively reduce greenhouse gas emissions of schools, making a world of difference in their own communities," said Cousteau.  "The natural environment is a leading interest of many students and their teachers, but there are few resources to support them. If we truly want to save what my grandfather called our water planet then we must arm youth with the knowledge, skills and tools to take action to do so. Mike Town’s program is a great step toward this.”

    Cool School challenge takes an approach asking for the motivation.

    Conceptually modeled after the U.S. Mayor’s Climate Protection Agreement, the Cool School Challenge aims to motivate students, teachers, and school districts to reduce carbon dioxide and other greenhouse gas emissions schoolwide. At the heart of the Cool School Challenge is the philosophy that big changes start with small steps, and that taken together, simple individual actions create a world of difference.

    This project was the unanimous choice as the winner.

    The NEA Foundation created the Green Prize in Public Education to recognize and showcase an outstanding public school educator or program that best advances social and environmental responsibility, improves student learning, and can be replicated. Town was the unanimous choice of a prestigious panel of national leaders from the environmental, education, business, and philanthropic sectors.

    Mike's passion is to leverage and be a multiplier.

    The shaggy-haired Town, who describes himself as "an old hippie who happens to be an educator," decided to become a teacher because "it has this multiplier effect" — by teaching young people, he said, his passion for the environment can reach many more.

    Here is a Google Map of other schools who have joined the program.


    Could the same approach be used to green data centers?  Most likely yes.

    Click to read more ...


    OSIsoft expands Sustainability program, hires EPA ENERGYSTAR's Andrew Fanara

    There have been some interesting changes in the data center industry as executives move to Microsoft, eBay, and Apple.  OSIsoft bagged the latest knowledge transfer, getting EPA ENERGYSTAR's Andrew Fanara to join their company.

    OSIsoft® delivers the PI System®, the world’s leading highly scalable and secure infrastructure for the management of real-time data and events, and for connecting people with the right information, at the right time, to analyze, collaborate, and act. With more than 14,000 installations across oil & gas, power & utility, pharmaceuticals, data center, chemical, pulp & paper, metals & mining, and other process industries, the OSIsoft PI System® is the flexible foundation for establishing a culture of continuous improvement at the plant, across the enterprise, and throughout the value chain. Leveraging the PI System, companies improve asset performance, increase energy efficiency, mitigate risk, centralize knowledge, and optimize production to drive profitability and remain competitive.

    To green the data center there are a few people who I try to have regular conversations with and one of them is Andrew Fanara.  While skiing a month ago, Andrew let me know he was thinking of leaving the EPA to join the private sector, and was talking to a variety of companies that were interested in leveraging his experience in the data center industry. 


    We discussed many different types of companies that could use Andrew's skills and provide a good environment to work on developing new methods  For example, a place where he could be more innovative and react faster to market and technology changes.  #1 suggestion is to work at place that allows him to leverage his existing business network and make it stronger, and more influential.

    One of the companies he was talking to was OSIsoft.  I've known the OSIsoft executives about 5 years.  And, have had the pleasure of going to the last four OSIsoft user conferences which is where I met Mike Manos.  Even though Mike and I overlapped at Microsoft, we didn't connect until OSIsoft had an executive summit to discuss the energy industry.

    I think highly of the OSIsoft capabilities, but to give Andrew another perspective, I called in a favor and had him talk to a Microsoft executive who could compare OSIsoft's capabilities as a technology partner vs. others. The Microsoft executive confirmed that OSIsoft is one of the top software vendors in the energy industry and are leaders in energy efficiency enabling better use of natural resources.

    Many data center insiders are sad to see Andrew leave the EPA, but I see this as a great step in knowledge sharing.  There will be new people who will take over Andrew's responsibilities and energy efficient data centers will continue with future specifications for storage and data center buildings.  Andrew will take what he has learned at the EPA, and apply it to private industry.

    At OSIsoft his new job will entail working on sustainability (green) programs through OSIsoft's global customer base which is currently at 14,000 installations, enabling Andrew to get his "hands dirty" with in depth projects.

    More than 14,000 customer installations
    • 65% of Global 500 process and manufacturing companies use the PI System
    • 100% of the Global Top 5 Producers use the PI System
    Strategic alliances


    We would sometimes joke we eat dinner out more often (at data center events) than with our spouse and we'll be having our next dinner meeting in a week at OSIsoft's user conference Apr 26 - 28.

    This year the Users Conference focuses on how real time information is the currency of the new decade, and we have a packed agenda that covers this in depth. We start with a great series of executive keynotes about innovation and solving real business problems-click on the titles to read the details.

    Congratulations to OSIsoft and Andrew Fanara for connecting in an exciting area - corporate sustainability.

    Click to read more ...


    Carbon footprint of a Tweet, Energy/Tweet approx 100J, CO2 0.02 grams

    Earth2Tech reports on the Energy per Tweet.

    How Much Energy Per Tweet?

    By Katie Fehrenbacher Apr. 19, 2010, 12:00am PDT 1 Comment

    2 0

    Every time you send out 140 characters over the social application Twitter, how much energy does that consume? According to some back of the napkin calculations from Raffi Krikorian, a developer for Twitter’s Platform Team, each tweet sent consumes about 90 joules. That means each tweet emits about 0.02 grams of C02 into the atmosphere.

    For the roughly 50 million tweets sent on average per day, that’s the equivalent of 1 metric ton of CO2 per day. (1 metric ton of CO2 looks kinda like this).

    Raffi Krikorian's passionate talk on energy use of a tweet starts at 2:50 into this video.  It is only 5 minutes long.

    Apr 15

    From #chirp: Energy / Tweet ≈ 100 J ±  something / Tweet

    Last night at Chirp, I gave an Ignite talk entitled "Energy / Tweet".  Taking a few liberties, some assumptions, and running all of Twitter in development mode on my laptop, "energy per tweet" comes out to about 100 J / Tweet.

    You can catch me talking (and introduced by @brady) starting at 2:50 in this video:

    You can also just get the slides here:

    Excuse this comment, but it illustrates the passion Raffi has as at 8:10 he says we can be less of a "planet fucker."

    This is the kind of thinking that is going to get people thinking what is the carbon impact of code just like Microsoft posted last week.

    eBay understands the energy per listing.  Google understands the energy per search.  Twitter understands the energy per tweet.

    Do you have energy consumption for your IT services?

    Twitter knows it has to be more energy efficient look at its growth.

    The new numbers blow past Pingdom’s stats. Some of the highlights:

    - In 2007, around 5,000 tweets were sent per day.

    - By 2008, the number grew to 300,000 tweets per day.

    - By 2009, around 2.5 million tweets were sent through Twitter every single day.

    - Tweet growth shot up by 1,400% in 2009, reaching 35 million tweets per day by the end of the year.

    - As of now, Twitter sees 50 million tweets created per day.

    Great Job Raffi for waking up your development community on the energy / tweet.

    Click to read more ...