Finnair: Awesomeness by Carbon Calculator (never say never)

Just the other day I say we wouldn’t be covering Carbon Calculators unless they ran on AMEE. Wrong. This afternoon I got a link from Joseph Simpson at MovementDesign and it got me thinking. I have no idea why a thinktank dedicated to the future of movement wouldn’t actually blog the link rather than sending it to me, but that’s the web for you. Wired has a story about Finnair. Wired gives them props for not being defensive about emissions, but that’s not what jumped out at me. What I like is the fact Finnair is showing customers the potential carbon impacts of different journeys through different hubs.

It’s a simple application, but it’s pretty cool. Just load in your departure and arrival city, and the calculator returns the total distance of your trip, the amount of fuel used per passenger, and the amount of CO2 generated by that fuel. To calculate the per passenger number, Finnair looks at typical load factors for their different flight segments (long haul flights tend to be 85% full, leisure flights 95%, etc.), and also takes into account what type of plane is being flown on each route, since fuel efficiency varies depending on model. And, with typical Scandinavian thoroughness, Finnair has designed the calendar so that you’re able to see how emissions are impacted by connections at various Finnair hub cities.

Its that last function which interests me most, in some respects. Now if we could just get Finnair to integrate with AMEE at the back end and dopplr, the travel serendipity platform, at the front end for trip-planning, then we’d be cooking with… uh… a wind-powered oven. Exciting times. I would love to know what the implications are for trips through different hubs. I am pretty sure Heathrow, with its circling, and fuel-burning on the ground is just awful. Computers and augmented intelligence are going to redefine travel in the new energy era.


Cool IBM Green Data Center Blog: This is how we roll.

When I logged into my monkchips WordPress console today I noticed an inbound ping from a new blog called The Raised Floor, which got my legacy boy senses tingling. Sure enough when I got over there it was clear that we’re talking about data centers, from the people that invented the concept (and yes I do mean Big Blue). I particularly like the picture they have used for their banner, with a classic black and white shot of a mainframe room, with the floor raised… and green grass underneath. Like so:

The content is pretty solid right out of the gate – although there are some gaps. Asking whether tape vendors are pitching green, for example? You’d have to be underneath that raised floor not to have come across a tape vendor wrapping itself in the green flag. LTO, one of the sponsors of the ComputerWorld UK Green Zone, is a good example.

But its the quality of people involved that caught my eye: notably one John Patrick. Who is John? Only the guy that Louis Gerstner gives much of the credit for encouraging the company’s long march to open standards. John can probably claim as much credit as anyone for helping to change the basis of the IT economy from raising barriers to entry, to one that succeeds on the basis of lowering barriers to participation. He is a good pal of Irving Wladawsky-Berger, another one of IBM’s most important change agents of the last century. I am not a fan of John’s politics, particularly, but if he sees the importance of greener technology then I certainly have his back. As Hero Nakumura would say – This Is How We Roll.

The blog is going on my blogroll. I look forward to some great content. I leave you with an excerpt.

IBM is leading by example. One of their “green” projects is consolidating 3,900 servers onto 30 new top of the line mainframe servers. The result is not only more compute power but dramatically less use of electrical power and space. One of IBM’s customers went from 300 servers to six. The University of Pittsburgh Medical Center consolidated 1,000 servers onto 300 and saved $20m in costs while freeing up datacenter space for more hospital beds.

Datacenters have been popping up everywhere — most of them built before 2001. The datacenters are very large rooms full of many different kinds of equipment — designed in the same way they were decades ago — like a kitchen where the stove puts out more heat so you turn on the air conditioning to cool down the entire room. The chef is comfortable and others in the room are freezing. IBM is designing datacenters for customers where cooling “zones” are specific to the type of equipment in each zone. Green datacenters not only save space and energy but also benefits the environment overall. In the past the electric bill has been allocated as overhead to all parts of the company. Redesigns are saving many millions of dollars. With the huge growth of energy for the IT infrastructure the CFO is reallocating energy expenditures from general overhead to the CIO so they can see what IT is really costing.


The Daily Dump: Great Idea, Slightly Dodgy Name

Kris yesterday pointed to the DailyDump, an Indian startup trying to encourage composting. I like the way its setting out to mix high and low tech, taking advantage of Indian labour costs to get networked things done.

“Composting pots and vessels made of biodegradable terracotta in a variety of shapes and sizes can be purchased on the website, which features a guide to help customers choose which is right for their needs. Rakes, spoons, spatulas and other supplies are also available. The website offers extensive information and tips, such as what items can and can’t compost. Consumers who lack the time or desire to care for their composting pot can select a weekly, fortnightly or monthly service plan, with a Daily Dump ‘servicewalla’ dropping by to take care of maintenance: cleaning pots, adding dry leaves and stirring the compost. Those who don’t mind doing their own maintenance can opt out of the service plan and call Daily Dump when they have an issue that needs to be addressed by a professional.”

That’s the charm- a website and a “servicewalla”… We’re going to see some really interesting business models come out ofIndia, that’s for sure.  Sadly I can’t find the link to that story about dabbawallahs. You don’t have to automate everything for efficiency, just the right things.

We’re lucky enough in Hackney that the council’s recycling service runs to compost as well, so we already have a council-taz supported compostwalla. But private, rootsy, solutions to public problems are always interesting. For a bonus link WorldChanging has the story too.

I wonder what an open source water improvement project could learn from the business model, given WorldChanging also points out:

“They also encourage the development of micro-enterprise by training young people in compost pot design, composting and service.”