Can you Feel the Energy Efficiency?

I was in a late night IM session with Microsoft's Lewis Curtis and we were discussing Power Management.  In my past life as a Microsoft employee, one of my jobs was program manager and software evangelist for Windows 2000 power management feature so I know the features, and even though Windows Vista and Windows Server 2008 have improved their power management capabilities. I wonder if they're still missing the target.

The problem is if you save let's say 50% of your energy consumption on your laptop because it sleeps/hibernates more aggressively, does the user feel like they are saving energy? The Toyota Prius works, because the Dashboard gives you real time feedback on how efficient you are. As a Prius driver you can make a conscious decision on how energy efficient you are.

So, is what is needed is an energy efficiency user interface?  Addressing the issue of "Can you feel the energy efficiency?"

On the desktop, the one company who I think may do this would be Apple. They have ability to develop the HW, modify the OS, make BIOS changes, and the hardest part make sure the drivers work in the right way. Plus Steve Jobs will do something if he thinks it feels right. It's not logical, but it sells the user experience.

What do you think the UI should be for the Data Center?  Is it Power Usage Effectiveness, PUE? Do the users care about PUE, or do they need something else because PUE works for total data center operations? I want to discuss this with a few who have energy monitoring in data centers to get their opinions.

OK, a few confessions came up when I was writing this.

  1. I worked on the Mac Portable while at Apple. (PC World rated the Macintosh Portable as the seventeenth worst tech product of all time)
  2. I don't own a Prius.  But, I only drive 3,000 miles a year for the past 15 years.  So, my environmental impact would be bigger if I bought a Prius and didn't drive it much.
  3. In hindsight, I could have done a much better job on Win2K power management features.
  4. I need to work on my blog post for greenest thing I've done.