21 Jan Visions: One company's approach to green best practices
Editor’s note: When it comes go “going green,” there are best practices surfacing every day, and the California-based Advanced Micro Devices is considered an industry thought leader on green business. In this interview with Larry Vertal, AMD senior strategist, he describes his company’s approach to best green practices and products with Laurie Benson, president of Inacom Information Systems.
Benson: First of all, what are the trends in the industry regarding going green?
Vertal:The IT industry has begun to realize that being environmentally responsible is not an “add on,” but rather it is a key factor in running a smart business in today’s market. Whether a company is looking to save costs by becoming more efficient in its operations, or is ready to take the next step of driving efficiency and environmental responsibility into its products, the benefits are clear – saving costs on energy bills or discovering new competitive differentiators.
For several years now, AMD recognized its end-user customers have a critical need to reduce power and cooling costs, ranging from the data center to the desktop. This demand spurred AMD to design “no sacrifice” technology that delivers better performance with reduced power consumption. But this is only part of the equation, as AMD’s manufacturing sites also develop and implement strategies to assess the environmental impact of all materials involved in the manufacturing process while minimizing global-warming emissions. This design and manufacturing combination has not only saved our customers money in terms of their energy bills, but it has also driven demand for AMD’s products and [is] helping us grow market share.
In the server market, the need for efficiency is critical. AMD recently commissioned a study of the costs associated with data center energy consumption, and found that worldwide over $7.2 billion is spent every year powering our servers. This is quite a challenge, as the growth of our IT economy and associated infrastructure is not going away. As far as trends we see to address this challenge, two we’ve worked closely with the industry on are virtualization and power management.
These trends are a welcome sign for both our customers’ operational costs as well as the reduction of global environmental impact and greenhouse gas emissions. In the desktop/notebook market, we’re seeing an increasing trend of consumers being conscious about power management – which is an issue AMD has worked tirelessly on in both the commercial and consumer markets with our PowerNow! Technology.
Benson: What are some ways CIOs are acting on these trends? What are some examples of successful green strategies?
Vertal: As mentioned above, we’re seeing our customers implement a variety of strategies, ranging from virtualization to power management in the data center. One of AMD’s customers, Affordable Internet Services Online (AISO), is a great example of a company implementing “green” strategies to make a positive impact on its bottom line. For example, AISO implemented the AMD Opteron processor in its completely solar-powered data centers, and within six months saw an increase in performance while reducing the overall energy needed. By saving money on costly solar panels, the company is able to grow and in fact recently moved to a new location to manage its predicted massive growth. And the benefit of a decrease in the use of cooling systems further drives toward the goal of reducing the taxes on the environment in order to conduct business on the Internet.
Benson: What is AMD doing as a thought leader to make an impact on our environment?
Vertal: For several years now, AMD recognized its end-user customers have a critical need to reduce power and cooling costs, ranging from the data center to the desktop. This demand spurred AMD to design `no sacrifice’ technology that delivers better performance with reduced power consumption. But this is only part of the equation as AMD’s manufacturing sites also develop and implement strategies to assess the environmental impact of all materials involved in the manufacturing process while minimizing global warming emissions.
Alongside our efforts to prioritize energy efficiency in its product design, AMD has also worked to bring its ecosystem of partners and customers together around the shared goal of reduced power consumption in IT. One example of our leadership is seen in AMD’s work to establish the industry group, The Green Grid, dedicated to discovering real-world solutions to IT power consumption.
AMD’s efforts to green our global facilities are also worth noting. A few examples include:
• AMD’s Lonestar Campus, which opens in early 2008. AMD is promoting economic development and environmental protection in Austin, Texas, building a new campus which will serve as a model for sustainable development. The site will use 100 percent renewable energy from Austin Energy’s GreenChoice program. Lone Star will employ day-lighting for energy conservation. The site will also include the feature of rainwater harvesting.
• AMD’s Dresden, Germany Fab 36 and Fab 30 wafer fabrication facilities use natural gas-fueled trigeneration technology for electricity, heating, and cooling, which are 30 to 45 percent more efficient than conventional systems.
• AMD has a goal to reduce absolute perfluorocarbon (PFC) emissions by 50 percent by 2010 relative to a baseline year of 1995. This goal supports the World Semiconductor Council’s worldwide goal of a 10 percent reduction in PFC emissions by 2010. In 2004 AMD set a goal to reduce greenhouse gas emissions 40 percent by 2007 against a baseline year of 2002. Compared to an adjusted 2002 baseline, AMD has decreased normalized emissions by more than 50 percent, and we have already achieved our 2007 goal.
Laurie Benson is the president and CEO of Inacom Information Systems. She will accept information about best environment practices at firstname.lastname@example.org.
This article previously appeared in the Inacom Information System’s newsletter, and was reprinted with the company’s permission.
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