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How HP Is Leading the Charge Against Data Center Energy Inefficiencies

By Munther Salim


An article in the New York Times last week raised important questions about high energy consumption by data centers. In my previous post, Building the Green Data Center: the Key Initiatives and Guidelines, I argued that the NYT’s criticisms of the industry need to be balanced by a view of the tremendous efforts behind Design-for-Environment of new facilities and greening of legacy ones.


In this post, I’ll look at some of the contributions HP is making in this area.


We address energy consumption on two fronts: with the products and services we offer, and within our own operations. Over 1,000 HP products sold around the world carry eco-labels, meeting stringent energy-efficiency requirements. Within the company, we use collaboration tools for long-distance meetings that simulate face-to-face conferences, which helps us to cut down on business travel and lower CO2 emissions. HP has a long history of innovating ever more efficient IT hardware, from servers to PCs to printers and smart printing management. 


Generally, 2011 IT hardware is 60% more efficient than 2005 hardware!  From a data center optimization perspective, HP has a long track record of consulting, designing, and optimizing more efficient data centers, in terms of IT configuration inside the data center as well as the building envelope and site selection. For example, HP consolidated its own data centers’ internal IT operations from 85 to 6 highly efficient data centers. And we’ve worked with clients to reduce the footprint of trade data centers by over 12,000 m2 over the last few years.


In the last few years, HP designed some of the world’s most efficient facilities — which are considered innovative data center designs by many industry experts and analysts — including over 25 LEED, Green Globes and Energy Star certified facilities.   


HP Labs has been at the forefront of several key research areas. Sustainability innovation was paramount in developing our net zero energy data center vision in late May. This innovation will find its way directly from the lab to the client.


HP is the only technology company contributing to the development of ISO 50001 standards for energy management.


HP has worked with the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency since 1992, when the ENERGY STAR program was launched. Since then, many of our products have met ENERGY STAR requirements, including PC products, printers, televisions, servers and data center solutions. In addition, HP has been a consultant to the DOE Save Energy Now initiative mentioned in my previous blog, as well as the Singapore National Environmental Agency to help develop their most recent green standards.


Many HP products meet other stringent, global eco-label qualifications, including Germany’s Blue Angel, Taiwan Green Mark, Japan PC Green Label, China Energy Conservation Program (CECP), IT Eco Declaration, Sweden’s TCO ’03, Korea Eco-Label and Canada’s Environmental Choice. In addition, HP has numerous products registered at the silver rating with the Electronic Product Environmental Asset Tool (EPEAT), an online procurement tool that helps customers select computing products based on their environmental attributes.


HP’s Personal Systems Group — Imaging and Printing Group at the time— led the development of the California power supply regulations that have been adopted by several countries.


Finally (and typical of many large corporations), HP has been confronted with a number of energy management challenges of its own, such as operating thousands of facilities in 170 countries. HP has set a goal for absolute energy reduction of 20%. Additionally, we have over 1,000 direct first order suppliers (“Tier I”), and tens of thousands of indirect, second order, suppliers. We’ve put a process in place to collect and report supplier emissions, and now we’re working to train suppliers on energy efficiency.


In total, HP has spent hundreds of millions of dollars on energy initiatives with thousands of separate energy, water and waste service providers. We invested $11 million in 2010 alone. We project this investment will return over $30 million in savings over three years. In 2010, HP projected 16% reduction in total energy through various companywide initiatives such as consolidation, quadrupling the number of collaboration studios worldwide, virtual collaboration, implementation of renewable technologies across the real estate portfolio, employee engagement, reuse/recycling and smart packaging.


You can tap into our expertise: Learn how HP Critical Facilities Services can help you improve efficiency and sustainability for your data center.


Check out responses to the New York Times article from these HP bloggers:


Richard L. Sawyer: Data Center Generators: Hidden Assets


Bill Kosik: Yes, Data Centers Are Energy Hogs, But Here's How We're Making Huge Efficiency Gains


Munther Salim, Ph.D., C.E.M., LEED GA, is Global Energy and Sustainability Leader with HP Critical Facilities Services.

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About the Author
Editor and writer with 12+ years experience in the corporate software and technology sectors.

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