AltaTerra Research Sees Growing Interest in Carbon Reduction Strategies for Data Centers

A changing regulatory environment is prompting new long-term thinking about carbon among data center operators. Turnout for expert panel reveals growing interest in strategies for reducing data center carbon emissions.
Oct. 27, 2009 - PRLog -- A recent flurry of carbon regulations at the state and federal level, and pending legislation such as the cap-and-trade bill passed by the U.S. House of Representatives, will directly—and indirectly—impact data center operators. This was the general consensus of an expert panel on “Data Center Strategies for a Carbon Constrained Future,” which was moderated by AltaTerra Research during the Silicon Valley Leadership Group’s recent Data Center Energy Efficiency Summit. More than 400 participants attended the summit in Sunnyvale, California on October 15th, and many of them crowded into the room where the panel was held.

For IT-intensive businesses, carbon is becoming another important factor in the data center energy cost and efficiency equation. When location, carbon intensity of local power sources, and data center efficiency are combined, carbon emissions from a given server configuration can vary by a factor of ten. In the face of a changing regulatory environment, this remarkable range in carbon emissions performance is prompting new long-term thinking in data center location, sourcing, and upgrade strategies.  

Panelists included Christine Page, Director of Climate and Energy Strategy at Yahoo!, Andy Broer, Senior Manager, Infrastructure Critical Environments at Cisco, Mark Thiele, Director of Business Operations at VMware, and Ben Machol, Program Manager for Clean Energy and Climate Change Office at the U.S. EPA. Don Bray, co-founder and President of AltaTerra Research, organized the panel and moderated.

“For me, the biggest take-away was the interest,” said panelist Mark Thiele, Director of Business Operations at VMware. “I really expected us to be in a room one-fourth full, with people checking their BlackBerrys. I had several people come up to me later expressing their interest in the subject matter and enthusiasm for the panel.”

The Silicon Valley Leadership Group (SVLG) launched the Data Center Energy Efficiency project in 2007, in response to the need to curb data center power consumption, which is increasing at a tremendous pace. Between 2001 and 2006, power consumption doubled. Without significant changes, it is expected that consumption will double again by 2011. Annual SVLG Data Center Energy Efficiency summits in 2008 and 2009 have shown that this trend is not inevitable, by providing objective, peer-reviewed case studies of cost effective energy efficiency solutions for data center operations.

AltaTerra Research has conducted focused research on carbon management solutions, including “Carbon Management Solutions: Business Value through a New Lens,” which was published earlier this year. Additional research on IT-specific carbon reduction solutions and strategies is currently underway, and due out in December.  

About SVLG
The Silicon Valley Leadership Group (SVLG) is organized to involve principal officers and senior managers of member companies in a cooperative effort with local, regional, state, and federal government officials to address major public policy issues affecting the economic health and quality of life in Silicon Valley.

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About AltaTerra Research:
Founded in 2007, AltaTerra Research is an international research consultancy dedicated to corporate environmental sustainability and commercial markets for clean technology solutions. With custom research and consulting services, industry research reports and executive events, AltaTerra helps business leaders make informed decisions on green business. Current topics include commercial solar and green power, the corporate carbon footprint, and environmentally-friendly product strategy. More information is available at
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Tags:Svlg, Yahoo, Cisco, Vmware, Epa, Data Center, Carbon Footprint, Carbon Emissions, Carbon Regulation, Altaterra Research
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