back to article When Green Computing attacks - hype or heaven?

Whether you think global warming is the biggest swindle of our time or our greatest threat, one thing's for sure - energy-efficient gear could save your IT department a lot of money. Some of the best new technology is being developed under the eco-warrior Green label, but you don't have to be an evangelist to want to save cash …


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  1. Martin Lyne

    I always..

    ..find it a little sad when you have to temper an idea that is "good" in the altruistic sense by adding "oh, it'll help us save money too". A good thing too, but killing poor buggers in foreign countries (or your own) should weigh a little heavier than a dented budget and mildly less-enthused shareholders.

    A conscience, who'd have it, eh?

  2. Anonymous Coward

    Efficient power supplies

    Here's my question in advance (I don't know if I'll be able to make it to the web thing).

    The new E85 efficient power supplies are only >=85% efficient when operating in a range of power outputs. If you look more closely at the specs for the good ones, then you'll find a graph showing efficiency against output power ... or even a whole series of graphs done at different ambient temperature. All the ones I have looked at have less than stellar efficiency when operating at <20% of rated power. E.g. a 500W rated power supply that is handling a load of 100W or less may only be 60% efficient. Now a typical office computer is probably fitted with a 300W to 500W power supply so that it won't blow up if you install a snazzy graphics card, an extra hard disk and a R/W DVD drive in addition to the CD drive that it came with ... and try to operate all of those at once. But in the real world hardly any office computers ever get any of those upgrades, so the maximum power needed is <100W, and almost all of the time, while the computer is idling between keystrokes of its carbon based lifeform of a user it is only using ~40W ... far away from the portion of the graph where the power supply is 85% efficient.

    So eventually to the question: Where can I get E85 power supplies that are rated at <100W that will actually be 85% efficient for the majority of the time that a low power machine is running?

    Bonus (but somewhat rhetorical) question: How long before the makers of E85 power supplies are sued for not being 85% efficient in any real world usage mode?

  3. Bob Bramwell

    How about greener software?

    Back in the old days programmers actually had to pay attention to the amount of code they were generating, how efficiently it ran and old fashioned stuff like that. Is it time for a revival? There is lots of talk about software bloat and the amount of hardware required to run newer operating systems, so it seems to me that a few billion computers worldwide running leaner software ought to be worth thinking about.

  4. Ishkandar
    Black Helicopters

    Green computing... based on the Barnum Principle - There's a sucker born every minute !!

  5. Brian Murray

    breadth of vision

    More efficient systems - absolutely. More conscientious users (turning off monitors etc.) - of course ... but these are fairly superficial aspects.

    I would love to see more people looking at re-architecting the IT approaches to address wastage (and hence save money). Why should we accept outrageously low utilisation figures when proven approaches now exist to address this?

    More importantly still, lets look at the opportunities which exist from leveraging IT solutions to make our business practices less environmental wasteful?

    ... I'm looking forward to what should be an innovative and challenging debate, rather than the usual small shifts from the norm. Lets address the cultural inertia which really blocks critical tranformations in this area!

  6. Paul M.

    Sanity at El Reg? Thank you.

    @ Martin Lyne

    Many more people will die in developing countries if the anti-growth global warming scaremongers get their way, because lifting people out of poverty saves lives. We can improve human welfare much more with real science tackling real dangers (eg, malaria) and not junk science.

    I applaud The Register for taking a sensible approach to this, and not preaching to us. Thank you.

  7. Paul

    bad terminology

    "environmentally friendly" is SO abused.... 99% of the time it means "less environmentally damaging that the common alternatives".

    e.g. since when can the manufacture of a computer be good for the environment? since when can using detergents and flushing them down the drain be good for the environment?

    things should be rated on their environmentally damaging impact, with 0 being neutral and -100 be a nuclear holocaust.

  8. Charles Manning

    Committed to being environmentally friendly


    I intend to get an environmentally friendly Prius and save the world by driving. I figure that I need to drive approx 500k miles in the Prius to undo the damage I inflicted on the world by driving a regular petrol burning 1300cc Corolla.

    As soon as I get the Prius, I intend to drive 500 miles each week end. Just get on the hiway and run 250 miles along the road then turn around and come home. That means that I should be able to be carbon neutral in about 20 years.

    This is going to be quite a heavy burden on week ends etc, but at least I will know I am doing my bit.

    Now I know I am just one and the Hummer drivers are many, but by setting an example, perhaps more will join my quest to make the air cleaner one mile at a time.

    I am a little bit concerned about what will happen when all the air pollution runs out. Will the Prius just stop working? I guess that is something that won't happen in my lifetime and something for the next generations of boffins to think about.

  9. Anonymous Coward

    More Bad Terminology

    It's well past time to drop 'eco - warrior' in favour of the much more accurate term 'eco - terrorist' since most of the pro man - made climate change idiots act more like terrorists ( undesirable, dishonourable ) than warriors ( honourable ), and with any luck the current orwellian anti - terror legislation may be brought to bear on all eco - something campaigners, leaving the rest of us to get on with our lives.

  10. storng.bare.durid

    F*** the next generation...

    ... who gives a crap. I want my 250kw V8, my SLI linked twin 8800 Ultras and fridge on my CPU... My kids will clean up the mess.

    On a serious note. We humans are selfish and have demonstrated thru' history time and time again we give a rat's arse about the future. How is it going to change now?

    As the first poster says, there are fundamental things we are doing wrong which already indicate the way we are going.

    "You are on the way to destruction"

    "Make your time"

    Wait till peak oil. Global warming may not exist... but peak oil... heh... it's going to wtfpwn all of us...

  11. storng.bare.durid

    Highway driving.

    @Charles Manning

    I liked your prius piece :)


    I have heard peeps say if you are actually driving on a highway, the PIUS is no better than any other 1300cc car mainly because the petrol engine has to be engaged then.

    If you drive a lot on a highway, you may actually be better off in a more powerful 4 cylinder or V6.

    If you're mainly city driving and you can afford the cost of a PIUS and whatever maintenance it requires... then maybe it's worthwhile.

    I'd get one but at the moment, I can't afford it :P

    And global warming? Again I will say I do not believe it exists. Pollution exists. Peak oil exists. All reasons to be frugal with energy and resources. but Global warming... I'll believe it when I see a penguin float past on an iceberg.

  12. Anonymous Coward

    And the world is flat...


    "And global warming? Again I will say I do not believe it exists. Pollution exists. Peak oil exists. All reasons to be frugal with energy and resources. but Global warming... I'll believe it when I see a penguin float past on an iceberg."

    You probably also believe that the world is flat, even though lots of respectable scientists, explorers and even photographic evidence would tell you that it isn't. "If I ain't seen it myself, then I does not believe it".

    I don't think there are any serious scientists (even the dissenters), who are still saying there is no climate change going on; the debate is about whether it is mankind that is affecting the change, or whether it's a purely natural phenomenon (or as is quite likely, somewhere in between).

  13. Nick Miles
    Thumb Up

    Highway driving in a Prius

    In terms of emissions when most of the driving is motorway based, my Baby Beemer 2 litre diesel is "greener" than a Prius. cheaper too.

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