Search Results for: amee


Technology for Good – episode thirty two with SAP’s Sameer Patel

Welcome to episode thirty two of the Technology for Good hangout. In this week’s episode we had SAP‘s Sameer Patel as the guest on our show. Sameer and I are members of the Enterprise Irregulars group – a loose group of analysts and vendors with an interest in enterprise software. Previous Enterprise Irregulars who have guested on the show include David Terrar, Craig Cmehil, and Jon Reed.

There was a problem which wasn’t apparent to us during the show and that was that the video from my side never showed up in the recording. I suspect that’s because I was using a beta version of Chrome, but anyway, the audio, and Sameer’s video feed was recorded, so all’s well.

This week we didn’t get through all the stories we had lined up, ‘cos we had such a good discussion around the ones we did manage to fit in!

Some of the more fascinating stories we looked at on the show, included the growing number of technology companies who are abandoning ALEC, IBM’s new concentrating solar array which can create clean water, as well as solar power, and a new smartphone app which will help visually challenged users to read.

Here is the full list of stories that we covered in this week’s show:






Data Centres








AMEE lands funding – Green is the new black!

Where there's muck, there's brass

Photo credit nickwheeleroz

I just received news that AMEE has landed funding. We have mentioned AMEE already a ton of times on GreenMonk, but that is because they share our open-source philosophy and they are Green. In fact, AMEE CEO Gavin Starks is the one who came up with the MegaTom concept!

From the press release:

AMEE, the World’s Energy Meter, has secured substantial Series A financing from leading VC funds in the USA and UK.

AMEE is a web-based service (API) that combines measurement, calculation, profiling and transactional systems, representing emissions data from 150 countries and regions. As a neutral data aggregation platform, AMEE’s vision is to enable the measurement of the “Carbon Footprint” of everything on Earth. AMEE aims to assist with the development of energy and carbon as a global currency, assisting governments and companies that need to account for and trade internationally in CO2 emissions.

The collaboration between O’Reilly Alphatech Ventures (OATV), Union Square Ventures (USV) and The Accelerator Group (TAG) will enable AMEE to expand its reach by enhancing its data, and extend globally.

The AMEE platform is already used internationally by many organisations including; UK Government (Defra/DECC), Morgan Stanley, Google, Radiohead, Nesta, the Irish Government, the Welsh Assembly, the Energy Saving Trust, BRE, Sun Microsystems, plus numerous other IT, business services and software companies.

Gavin Starks, Founder and CEO of AMEE commented, “AMEE’s growth over the past 12 months has been quite remarkable. We are delighted to have the financial and strategic support of such experienced investors to take our business forward.

AMEE’s is driving change by increasing the accuracy and transparency of emissions and consumption in a manner that has not been achieved by any legislation, market or service to date. We have developed and demonstrated a forward-thinking and innovative business model. It is based around neutrality, scale and collaboration. This reflects the dramatic changes that will impact our societies, their financial and social systems in the years to come.

The execution of the Climate Change Act in the UK last week, combined with President Elect Obama’s forward-looking Federal Cap & Trade statements are indicators of the scale of change approaching us.”

Bryony Worthington, Head of International Policy at AMEE added, “As one of the authors of the UK Climate Change Act, I am delighted to be bringing dedicated solutions to industry and consumers. The time to act is now.”

Mark P. Jacobsen, Managing Director of O’Reilly AlphaTech Ventures (“OATV”), commented: “AMEE’s vision to aggregate all of the energy data in the world fits OATV’s mission to invest in stuff that matters. With the recent sea change in America’s political climate, we look forward to AMEE bringing its platform-based data service to clients in the States.”

Ablert Wenger, Partner at Union Square Ventures, commented, “We believe that emissions information is critical to better decision making by individuals and companies. We are excited that AMEE’s service helps to substantially improve the timeliness and accuracy of emissions measurement.”

Great news, congrats Gavin and team. With the slew of funding announcements in the Green space, despite the trying financial times (because of…), Green is quickly becoming the new black!


GreenMonk interviews AMEE and thinks about collaboration!

Gavin Starks, founder and CEO of AMEE, is one of the speaker’s presenting at this year’s [email protected] Green IT conference on November 26th. GreenMonk are a sponsor of the conference, hence our interviewing the speakers in the run-up to the conference.

We have written about AMEE several times before on GreenMonk because we are strong believers in their philosophies.

From the AMEE website:

AMEE is a neutral aggregation platform to measure and track all the energy data on Earth. This includes aggregating every emission factor and methodology related to CO2 and Energy Assessments (individuals, businesses, buildings, products, supply chains, countries, etc.), and all the consumption data (fuel, water, waste, quantitative and qualitative factors)

Because AMEE provides standardised access to emissions factors and methodologies you have to think they are a natural partner for many companies/organisations and indeed they currently count the UK govt, the Irish govt, Google, Radiohead and Morgan Stanley among their users!

Thinking about my recent trip to San Antonio for the SAP for Utilities conference, AMEE would seem an obvious choice to help SAP with their Energy Capital Management program.

AMEE keeps global factors and methodologies updated and maintained as a managed service, saving its clients time and resources, so there is logic for SAP to use AMEE for this service, for example.

Since AMEE also enables its clients to add their own methods, AMEE’s API approach is a valuable consolidation platform.

Collaboration could help stimulate new markets that cross-over between smart-grids, business footprinting, consumer initiatives, and policy trends. AMEE could support and compliment the aims of the Lighthouse Council, by extending the reach and demonstrating best practice.

This would enable (controlled) data mining and benchmarking in a collaborative environment, whilst maintaining privacy.

A collaboration between SAP and AMEE could demonstrate thought-leadership and generate new data marketplaces. It would also present a tangible way to accelerate reductions and efficiencies through data portability and by increasing transparency in the system.

The output could inform corporate strategy and government policy. This may be particularly timely and relevant to the new US administration.


Chasing AMEE, EdenBee and the Carbon Account

As I am sure you all know by now Greenmonk is a fan of Amee, the carbon caculator’s carbon calculator – or “the World’s Energy Meter” as it styles itself. AMEE is a back end service for carbon data, with the data freely available under a CreativeCommons Attribution and Share-Alike license. Credible? Tesco, the world’s second biggest retailer, and DEFRA, the UK’s EPA, are both heavily involved. AMEE an Exemplary Open Service. And being an environmental API as well, its an Exemplary GreenMonk Service.

I realised this morning, having been invited to an interesting new social networking service called EdenBee, that I now basically use AMEE as a yes or no. If someone approaches me with news of something that has a carbon calculator that isn’t AMEE-based my default is pretty much total lack of interest. Nice related conversation here.

Later in the day someone pinged me to look at The Carbon Account.  Like EdenBee it passes the AMEE-test. I will wait until people start inviting me before I check it out though.Nice to see the “ingredients” listed – that is, what open source technologies support the site.

The only thing AMEE needs to fix is the URL. Come on guys you’re the world’s electricity meter…


Repak launch Carbon Calculator using AMEE

We here at GreenMonk have written about AMEE several times in the past because we really support what they are doing (quick reminder – they enable any climate campaign to use a common standard for Carbon-Footprint Profiling and Measurement, for more, check out their FAQ).

Recently I’ve been delighted then to note that Repak have started to use AMEE’s services. Repak are an industry funded organisation based in Ireland. Repak was created to help grow packaging recycling in Ireland and to aid businesses comply with their legal obligations to fund the recovery and recycling of the packaging on the goods or services they supply, as set out in the Waste Management (Packaging) Regulations 2007(pdf).

Repak have just launched an easy to use household Carbon Calculator using AMEE’s backend. Answer a few quick and easy questions and you are presented with a report outlining your current carbon footprint.'s Carbon Calculator

As well as estimating your carbon footprint, you also get a comprehensive series of recommendations on ways to reduce your CO2 emissions with handy information and tips such as:

  • turn down your thermostat by just one degree – each degree drop can reduce your bill by 10%
  • think about the temperature on your immersion heater – can you reduce this by a degree or two?
  • as much as 15% energy (and CO2) savings can be achieved by turning down the brightness and contrast levels on your TV
  • a laptop, on average, consumes around 30% of the power of a desktop, whilst in ‘on-mode’.
  • a well-filled A-rated dishwasher load once a day will be more efficient than many kitchen sinks full of hot water, or a running tap, to wash many dishes
  • digital radios consume up to 5 times the energy of a traditional analogue radio.
  • travelling by rail will result in about a third of the CO2 emissions of the equivalent domestic or short-haul flight in Europe. A similar journey for two people in an average-sized car would result in under two thirds of the CO2 emissions compared with flying

This is a really cool resource to help people realise the impact their day-to-day activities are having on the environment. More importantly though the calculator goes the next logical step and gives practical advice on how to reduce those Kgs of CO2.


AMEE – The World’s Energy Meter

Sometimes you have to pimp something, just because its great to know you’ve been involved. The slogan above, which I helped with, has now been formally adopted by AMEE, an organisation I have written about before here.  So what is the news? Momentum, and an appearance at next year’s ETech.

If all the energy data in the world were accessible, what would you build?

The Climate Change agenda has created an imperative to measure the energy profile of everything. As $trillions flow into re-inventing how we consume, we have a unique opportunity to start with open data and open systems. AMEE ( is an open aggregation platform for energy and CO2 data, algorithms and transactions. We aim to dramatically accelerate change, because we need to.

AMEE is a neutral aggregator of reliable carbon data, for use by commercial and noncommercial groups. Active users include: the UK Government, Google, Morgan Stanley and The Royal Society for the Arts.

Developer API keys are available, and we’ll be showing some of the applications.

Nice One Gavin. I hope I am there to see you present.

In other conference news I am pleased to report that GeeKyoto has a great idea for a London green geek unconference thingie.

Since this post is on geeKyoto any theme would be related to the topic of climate change, sustainability and other technical and green issues.

So I would like to ‘announce’ geekGreen2008. Announce in the sense that here is an idea, here are my thoughts on what such a conference could be.

Here is the pitch:

geekGreen2008 – radical ideas and stories in the time of climate change.

Venue: Well to be decided and has lots of dependancies but it is going to be UK based, at least for the first (only?) one. My initial take was for London. Interesting2007 was held at the Conway Hall in Holborn. The main theatre can hold 300 people and it has a nice stage. It also has an interesting history. Where else? Well RIBA has been suggested as has the ICA, and maybe somewhere like the BFI on the South Bank has some interesting spaces. In fact the South Bank would be interesting because Cape Farewell are currently in residence there and Cape Farewell is a project that I would love to see a part of this.

Outside of London though still has possibilities. Of course the ideal location would be the Eden Project in Cornwall, though somewhere like the Centre for Alternative Technology would also be a possibility.

So there you have it. No date or location decided yet but I want to play for sure. What about you? Go sign up at Mark’s blog. Make a contribution.

Picturecredit jessiebarber


Introducing AMEE, the avoiding mass extinctions engine

Its a core Greenmonk idea that open data will be crucial to the success of environmental initiatives. We need a scientific, commons-based approach, rather than proprietary data, in order to work effectively on the really big (and really small) problems.

A great example of this kind of thinking is AMEE, the somewhat scarily named Avoiding Mass Extinction Engine, which is a an open source back end data service for calculating carbon footprints. One of the really interesting elements of the AMEE model is the fact the UK public sector is getting involved in the shape of DEFRA, and Hertfordshire Council. The Royal Society too.

AMEE uses the GNU Public License and Creative Commons Attribution Share Alike licenses to ensure its data can’t be strip mined. What’s not to like? Certainly it would make a great deal of sense if competing Carbon Calculators out there used the service rather than build their own models and databases. I wrote up AMEE in a bit more detail over at GreenForge.


Can we hack open source cloud platforms to help reduce emissions – my Cloudstack keynote talk

This is a video of me giving the opening keynote at the Cloudstack Collaboration conference in Las Vegas last December. The title of my talk was Can we hack open source cloud platforms to help reduce emissions and the slides are available on SlideShare here if you want to download them, or follow along.

Be warned that I do drop the occasional f-bomb in the video, so you might want to listen to this with headphones on if there are people nearby with sensitive ears 😉

And I have a transcription of the talk below:

Good morning everyone! I’m absolutely astounded of the turn out at this time on a Saturday morning. I said to Joe yesterday evening, I think it was, that I reckoned it would be just me and the AV guy here this morning but now you’ve turned up. That’s a fantastic, phenomenal. Thank you so much. I hope we make it worth your while. My talk, Joe mentioned I’m from RedMonk. RedMonk is an analyst firm. I work on the green side of a house, so I’m all about energy and sustainability. I’m talking about using open source cloud platforms to measure and report energy and emissions from cloud computing.

A couple of quick words about myself first. As I said, I lead analyst energy and sustainability with RedMonk. You can see there, my blog is on My Twitter account is there. My email address is there. My phone number is there. Please don’t call me now. I’m using the phone as my slide forwarder. SlideShare, I’ll have this talk up on SlideShare shortly.

Also, a couple of companies I’ve worked with. I worked to the company called “Zenith Solutions” back in the mid-’90s. It’s a company that I set up in Ireland. As we called it at the time, it was a web applications company. Web applications at that time morphed into SaaS, “Software as a Service.” Back in the mid to late 90s, I was setting up these Software as a Service Company, so I knew a little bit about cloud. Then Chip Electronics was an ERP company, but it was a Software as a Service delivered ERP. That was around 2002. CIX, the other company that’s there.

CIX is a data center company that I founded in 2006 in Ireland. I kind of know a little bit about cloud both from the software and from the hardware side. I’ve setup a data center and I’ve also setup software companies dealing with cloud stuff. Like I say, a little bit of the background in it. I know what I’m talking about, not that much, but I’ll bluff it.

This is a report. It’s a graph from a report that came out just a couple of weeks ago. It’s from WSP Environmental and the NRDC. Basically, what they’re saying in this report, it’s a long report, the link is at the bottom there. As I say, this talk will be on SlideShare, so you can link on the link in SlideShare and get straight to the report. What the report is saying basically is that cloud computing is green. There have been a couple of reports like that which have said that. Most of them have been tainted before now. There was one that Microsoft helped put out, obviously Microsoft have got a foot in the game so you kind of wonder about that one. There was another one that was put out by the Carbon Disclosure Project, but it was paid for by AT&T. That was highly suspect. This one’s actually quite good. They’ve done quite a bit of work on it. You actually have to take it seriously unlike the previous two and it does seem to suggest that cloud computing is green, and that’s good.

Previous ones, as I say were suspect. The issue with this that I have and it’s a small issue, but this issue or this report is a really good report but it’s speculative. It says cloud computing should be green. Probably, is green. Maybe green, but they’re not working on any hard data and that’s where we’ve got a serious problem with cloud computing.

Taking a step sideways for a second, this is a guy called Garret Fitzgerald. Garret Fitzgerald was a politician in Ireland in the ’80s and ’90s. He died last year. A very unusual politician because he was one of the very few politicians who actually have integrity, very well-know for his integrity. He was also not just known for his integrity, but he was an academic. He came from an academic background. He worked in Trinity College Dublin as a statistician, so he was a data guy.

Now, in the mid-’40s, the Aeroflot, Russian Airline Company, it was at ’47 I think or ’49, for the first time, published their flight schedule. They’d never done this before. They published their entire flight schedule, their global flight schedule. Garret Fitzgerald looked at this, analyzed it and figured out he could know by going through this in detail, he could figure out the exact size of the Aeroflot fleet down to the number and types of planes they had in their fleet, and this was a state secret.

This was nothing that had ever been published before, but by analyzing their schedules, he worked it out and he published it, and as a result, the KGB had a file on him because they thought he was a spy.

Two things about this slide, first is you do a creative common search on Flickr for KGB, and this is one of the images you’ll find. It’s got a KGB logo and his got a cat, so you got two memes right there. A, the internet is fucking awesome and B, well the main thing to take away from this is that there is no such thing as security by obscurity. Hiding your data will not work. Somebody will figure the damn thing out. That’s where we’ve got a big issue with cloud computing because there is absolutely no transparency in cloud computing.

This is a blog post that I’ve put up. If you follow greenmonk, which is where I blog at, you’ll find there’s a ton of blog posts on this very topic, the lack of transparency in cloud computing. I have done blog posts about it. I’ve given webinars about it. I’ve hassled people about in the space. The SalesForces, the Rackspaces, I’ve hassled them all.

Recently, the New York Times picked up the story. I’m not going to say it has anything to do with me, they actually run a really good story. Again, the link is at the bottom there. One of the things that they have mentioned in that story — please do go and click on that link and read that article. It’s a really good article.

One of the things they have mentioned in that article is a McKinsey study. In that McKinsey study, they say that globally for data centers, somewhere between six percent and 12%, depending on the data center, somewhere between six percent and 12% of the power going into the servers in the data centers is used for computing. The other 88% is used for elasticity. It’s used to keep them going in case there’s a burst of activity, so 88%, if we take a conservative look, 88% of the power going into those servers is the E in Elastic Cloud, horrific waste.

Do you think that people’s often mistake in this area, is people often equate or conflate energy with emissions, and that’s a mistake. They are not the same thing, not at all. The reason they are not is because if you take the example of — for example, the Facebook Data Center in Prineville, Oregon, a fabulous data center. They’ve opened sourced it, the whole open compute project. They’ve opened sourced the entire building on this data center.

The data center, if you know anything about data center statistics, there’s a metric for data centers called the PUE. The PUE is the Power Usage Efficiency. The closer you are to one, the more efficient you are. Facebook’s data center comes in around 1.07 or 1.08, depending on time of the year on usage and stuff like that, but it’s in and around 1.08. It’s almost unheard of efficiency, 1.5 is kind of average, 2.0 is older data centers, and 3.0 is dirty. This is 1.07 or 1.08.

Unfortunately, although it’s extremely efficient — this is Facebook’s numbers here, 1.08 plus their computing power has declined by 38%, but the problem with that is, this data center is powered by company called PacifiCorp. PacifiCorp are the local utility in Oregon, in Prineville where this is based.

PacifiCorp mines 9.6 million tons of coal every year. It doesn’t matter how efficient your data center is. If you’re mining 9.6 million tons of coal to run your Facebook data center, it’s not green. I don’t care how efficient it is. It’s not a green.

It’s not just Facebook, it’s not just Prineville, Dublin, in Ireland, I’m Irish — guilty. Dublin has become a center for cloud computing as well. All of the big companies are there. Microsoft is there, they got their big Live servers there, Google are there, Amazon are there, they’ve all got data centers there. Ireland, unfortunately, gets 84% of its electricity from fossil fuels. Again that’s not very green. It’s not just Ireland, the U.K. is another big center for cloud computing in London, and again, over 90% of the electricity in the U.K. comes from fossil fuels. This is really, really bad stuff.

Now, if you look at this chart, this is why I say that the PUE which is in the middle column here, isn’t a whole lot important because as I said, if you look at the bottom row there, it’s got a PUE of three I said that was really dirty. Top row, PUE of 1.5 is at the average, middle row PUE of 1.2 kind of in the middle, but if you look at the power source coming into these putitive data centers, so your typical one, the top line, typical one has a supply carbon intensity of half a kilo per kilowatt hour, that’s pretty standard. If that has a data center PUE of 1.5, then you’re getting simple math, 0.75 a kilo per kilowatt hour. If you have a good PUE of 1.2, but with coal fired power coming at 0.8 of a kilo per kilowatt hour, you’re now looking at IT carbon intensity of 0.96.

Look at the bottom line, a PUE of three, one of the dirtiest data centers you can get, but it’s powered almost all by renewables, it’s not all because it’s got a 0.2 kilograms and a PUE of three, it still comes in at an IT carbon intensity of 0.6, which is far better than the 1.2 PUE or the 1.5 on typical. The take home message from this slide is that it’s the source of the electricity is what determines the carbon footprint of your cloud, not the efficiency of your data center.

Now, if we look at some of the cloud providers that are out there today and if I left anyone out, apologies, I just stuck these logos up based on the availability of the logos. It’s not an any kind of research or anything but that.

If we look at the cloud providers that are out there, these ones are semi-clean. If we look, for instance, at Rackspace, they have a data center in the U.K. which they claim as 100% powered by renewables. Now, they haven’t given us a whole load of data, but let’s just take the word on it. If you go with Rackspace and you go with their U.K. data center it’s supposedly 100% green, we’ll see. Google, Google have done a really good job on investing in renewables. They spent almost a billion dollars on buying into Windfarms, power purchase agreements with big Windfarms the whole thing. They’ve gone out on a serious limb, in terms of renewables. I’m pretty positive about them. They’re still doing a lot of the old buying carbon credits and stuff like that, but they got old data centers that they need to top up with carbon credits.

Green Cloud is an interesting one. Green Cloud are company that bill themselves as an AWS replacements, dropping AWS replacement and why they are cool is because — pun intended.

They’re cool because they’re based in Iceland. The electricity grid on Iceland is 100% renewable, its 30% geothermal, 70% hydro. The entire grid is a 100% renewable energy and it’s baseload energy and what’s even more interesting about it, as a grid is, there are 300,000 people living in Iceland, that’s it — 320,000. They’ve realized that they got this energy infrastructure and way more energy than they can every use, so they decided to invite people who need lots of energy. I’m not talking about data centers. I’m talking about Aluminium Smelting Plants.

So, they got Aluminium Smelting Plants in Iceland. These guys take up 500 megawatts at a time. A big data center is 50 megawatts. They’re 10 times the biggest data center you’ve ever come across, in terms of the power utilization. They are on all day, everyday, 24/7, 365, it’s a flat line. Any electricity grid you look at, if you look at the demand curve, it goes like that everyday. Peaks in the morning, when people get up, peaks in the late afternoon when people come home from work. Iceland, the flat line all the way. It is the only country whose electricity grid is just flat all the time. It’s always on. It’s always flat. There is no movement in it or whatsoever. It is the most reliable electricity grid in the world. It’s also one of the cheapest. It’s also 100% green.

If you are looking to site a data center, I recommend Iceland. Greenqloud are based there, and as I say, their Cloud is obviously 100% green. We’ll come back to them.

Amazon put out this report earlier this year where they said that, “Both their Oregon and their GovCloud were a 100% carbon free”. That sounds nice. Unfortunately, when you actually ask them about it, so this is Bruce Durling, a guy I know in the U.K. He asked Jeff — it’s a story for this 100% green claim that it’s just going out. Jeff says, “You know, we don’t share any details about it, but I’m happy to hear you like it.” Bruce comes back and says, “How can we verify if this is true, there are lots of different ways to claim zero carbon.” And then you’ll just hear cricket chirps, nothing, no data, and no response. Bruce isn’t the only guy, several people took Jeff up on this asked him, “What’s the story with your claim for 100% green in these two clouds? “Nothing, nothing.” And it’s appalling that they are not talking because this is the kind of stuff we need to know. There is no data coming at of a lot of the cloud manufacturer or cloud providers.

Looking again at the cloud providers I’ve mentioned, if we look at some of the ones who are providing some data. If we look, for example, at SAP, SAP has got a really good sustainability report that they release every year. In fact they release quarterly even better. Unfortunately, the only data, they give us about their Cloud, is that eight percent of their carbon emissions are from their data centers. That’s as granular as it gets. We know no more about their carbon emissions, about their Cloud than that.

If we look at Salesforce, Salesforce go a little further. Salesforce have got this carbon calculator under site which is interesting. If you choose as I did in this screen shot, you can see I chose — I was based in Europe which I am. I decided to say I was in a company of 10,000 plus, and I decided to say, “Look, I’m going from on-premise to Salesforce. So, they tell me, “Fantastic! You’re going from on-premise, 10,000 plus based from Europe you’re going to save 86% and 178 tons of carbon by moving to Salesforce, but of course that’s complete horse shit because Europe is not homogenous.

If I’m based in France, 80% of the energy in France is nuclear. If I’m based in Spain, which I am, 40% of the energy in the Spanish grid comes from renewables. There is no way that if I move my on-premise from France or Spain to Salesforce that I’m saving 178 tons of coal per annum. In fact, if I move to Salesforce, my carbon emissions are going to go up not down because Salesforce’s data centers are in the U.S. which is 45% coal or they’re in Singapore. Singapore is — if memory serves 93% fossil fuel so there is no way moving to Salesforce from a lot of the European countries is a step on the right direction in terms of green.

The other thing that they have — you can click on the link at the bottom of this as well on the Salesforce site. This is where they have your daily carbon savings. There are two problems with this, the first is — this screen shot was a couple of days ago and you could see they’re talking about the 13th of September is the most recent date, so it’s two months or more out-of-date. The second is they’re talking about carbon savings, which is bullshit made-up number. What they should be talking about is actual carbon emissions because they can just make up the carbon savings because it’s basing where you’re from. Like I say if I’m in Spain and my carbon savings are at a zero going to Salesforce. They should be talking about emissions not carbon savings of completely the wrong metric.

I talked about Greenqloud. Greenqloud, have this on their site which is nice. You log into Greenqloud — over the righthand side is part of your dashboard, you get your carbon figures. They are as well, and this is a conversation I’m having with them at the moment, they are also talking about the CO2 savings, they’re not talking about actual emissions. There are emissions obviously, if you’re working with Greenqloud, their CO2 footprint is negligible because it’s Icelandic, but there is that carbon expended between your laptop or your desktop and going to them. There is carbon put out there but it’s negligible compared to mostly of the other providers. The difficulty with this, as they say, is they’re talking about CO2 savings not CO2 emissions. I’m hoping to get them to change that.

Why don’t the Cloud providers provide this data? There are number of reasons. I’m speculating here. I don’t know. I’ve asked them, they’ve all said different reasons. One of them I’m going to think is competitive intelligence. They don’t want people to know what their infrastructure is. They don’t want people to do the Garret Fitzgerald and reverse engineer, to find out what it is they’re actually using to power their facilities. Another is maybe they don’t actually want people to know how much CO2 they’re pushing out. It’s not a happy story.

The other is, in fairness, there’s a lack of standards out there about cloud companies reporting emissions because how do you report emissions around cloud computing? Do you do it at CO2 per flop? What’s the metric? We don’t know, no one is doing it yet so we don’t know.

Peter Drucker, the management guru, is famous for saying, “If you can’t measure it, you can’t manage it.” That holds true. That does hold true for everything, and particularly in this space.

I’m going to go through a quick recap of 2012 and this is not going to be pleasant. This is an image taken from the U.S. Drought Monitor in September but it’s even more so now. So far, U.S. agriculture has loss $12 billion just in Q3 because of drought. It’s not just drought, there’s been massive wildfires globally, not just in the U.S. There’s been massive floodings everywhere, not just the floodings, but also a new report came out in the last week, and again the link is at the bottom, which says that, “Sea level rise globally is actually 60% higher than had been previously calculated.” They had thought sea levels were rising two millimeters per annum. It turns out sea levels are actually rising 3.2 millimeters per annum.

We have had more than 2000 heat records in June alone of this year in the U.S. alone, the sea ice — I got a chart here, you can look it up afterwards. I’ve got another chart here you can look it up afterwards, and I got an image here. It’s hard to see, but that’s the polar ice cap in September 13th when it was at its minimum.

The orange line outside that is the 30-year average at that time for the sea ice extent. It’s almost 50% less than what it should have been at that time. It’s scary. It’s scary stuff because when we lose the arctic and we’ve lost 50% of it this year, when we lose the arctic, you got a feedback mechanism because when you don’t have the ice to reflect the heat, you’ll got the water taking in the heat, and it gets hotter and it’s a feedback mechanism so the ice underneath melts as well, so you no longer have multi-year ice.

You got methane emissions, that’s literally methane coming from underneath the ice from organisms that had been frozen, but because everything heated up a little bit. They started producing methane. Now, another report out in the last week in the UNDP says, “The thawing of the permafrost is going to cause us enormous problems and it hasn’t been taken into account previously in any of the climate models.” None of the IPCC reports, up until now, have taken permafrost thawing into account because they think it was going to be significant. Suddenly, they’re realizing that the thawing of the permafrost is decades ahead of where they thought it would be. This is serious stuff because this could be 40% of the global carbon emissions soon, not good. It’s a big feedback mechanism again.

So okay, the Cloud. The hell is that going to do with cloud? I get it. Cloud isn’t responsible for all these emissions. I know that, but it’s responsible for some of them, at least two percent of the global carbon emission is coming from IT and that’s a 2006 Gartner figure(ph). So, it’s likely, significantly higher at this point.

What’s that going to do with open source? Why are we here? Well, I got to think that we’ve got this open source cloud platforms out there. There are a significant number of developers in the room. I think it’s entirely possible that people in this room could start writing patches for the open source cloud platforms that are there, so that the Cloud providers no longer have an excuse to say, “Oh, we can’t do it because it’s not in the software.”

If you guys start writing the software for them, start doing the energy emissions, reporting, and measurement software writing those patches for the open source global platforms. Then suddenly, it gets in to the core. It starts being deployed back out to the companies that are using these platforms.

This is the company called AMEE. Interestingly they’re a U.K. start-up, not really a start-up, they’re around four years now, but they named the company AMEE as the “Avoiding Mass Extinction Engine.” They don’t boast about that, but that’s where they got the name. They are an open source platform for carbon calculation. They’ve got open APIs. If you guys want to do this stuff, work with the AMEE open APIs because they’ve got all the data.

Then, as I say, it gets thrown back out to the client companies of the open source cloud platforms and then we’ve get serious traction. This is what we need to have happen. By the way, there’s a company called Mastodon C. I mentioned AMEE already. There’s another company called Mastodon C out there, who has a dashboard already in place, showing us the carbon emissions of the various cloud providers. It’s not great. They’re guessing it because the cloud providers aren’t reporting it. They’re guessing it based on the location of the cloud companies and utility companies who provide them with their energy but it’s better than nothing.

One other thing I should mention and I don’t want to be totally negative, but this should scare the fuck out of everyone in this room. PricewaterhouseCoopers, not known as being green, agitators, activists, there are the largest of the big four accounting companies. They came out with this report two weeks ago. It’s their carbon report. They come out with it annually. This report tells us that between the years 2000 and 2011 globally, our carbon emissions went down by 0.8% every year. That’s good, 0.8% reduction carbon emissions year on year.

The trouble is we’ve decided we want to keep our global warming figures. We want you to cap the warming at two degrees centigrade. Beyond that, it starts to get very hairy. The temperature has already gone up 0.8 of a degree centigrade, so we’ve got 1.2 degrees left.

According to PwC, the only way to keep this at two degrees is to reduce our carbon emissions not by 0.8%, as we’ve been doing, but to reduce our carbon emissions 5.1% every year between now and 2050. Six times the carbon reductions we’ve been doing for the last 11 years, every year for the next 38 years. So, sorry to be on a bit of a downer, but I have some good news.

This is Jim Hagemann Snabe. Jim is the co-CEO of SAP. I had a conversation with him in Madrid last week about this very topic and about… they are a cloud provider, I was asking him, “Why the hell aren’t you talking? Why aren’t you giving us your numbers? It wasn’t something he was aware of, it wasn’t something he had thought about, and Jim is actually a good guy. He’s actually a sustainability guy. Anytime you hear him talk, in the first three, four minutes of his talk, any talk he gives, he’ll bring up sustainability. Maybe sideways, he’ll talk about resource constraints or something, but he’s always thinking about this. When I brought this up with him, he was blown away because it hadn’t occurred to him at all and he said, “Tom you’re absolutely right, this is a space I want SAP to lead in.” Hopefully, something will come out of that, but it’s not just that.

This is Robert Jenkins. Robert is the CEO of CloudSigma, a Swiss-based company who are a Cloud Company. I’ve had conversations with him about this as well, and he is talking again about doing this also, about opening and being transparent about their emissions, so we’re getting some traction now in the space. Finally, Greenqloud, Greenqloud’s CEO is a guy called Eiki and I’m not going to try to pronounce his surname because it’s Icelandic and it’s just completely unpronounceable. Eiki has given me permission here today, to announce on behalf of Greenqloud that Greenqloud, because they are a CloudStack customer or user, and they have this energy on emissions stuff already built-in.

In Q2 of next year, they’re going to contribute their code back into CloudStack. So, for me, I think that’s a serious win because then it gets distributed back out. For me, that was a highlight of my last couple of week’s work, just getting Eiki to agree to in Q2 next year contributing that back into CloudStack.

So, that’s it. That’s me. Adding emissions, metrics and reporting to cloud computing will help reduce emissions. That’s it.


Tendril courting developers for its cloud-delivered energy app platform

Green Carrot energy usage app

Last August Tendril, a US-based energy platform company, announced that they were opening their API’s and launching an energy application developer program. The idea is to allow developers to build on Tendril’s cloud platform and to deploy the developed applications on Tendril’s Tendril Connect cloud platform.

For developers this is an opportunity to develop applications addressing the energy challenge and have them deployed in a ready-made marketplace of up-to 70 million addressable households. Similar to the Apple App store, Tendril offers co-marketing opportunities for developed applications.

Tendril provides developers with, not just the API’s, but also comprehensive documentation with a “Try it Now” capability as well as a discussion forum (so far lightly used) to have questions answered.

Tendril has also been promoting this initiative to developers by participating in Hackathons in San Francisco and more recently in New York. In conjunction with the New York Hackathon, Tendril ran a contest to see who could come up with the best apps using their API’s. The winner, eMotivator, won $3,000, while 2nd placed Green Carrot (screenshot above) won $2,000 from Tendril and another $1,000 from the Hackathon organisers for ?best user experience?.

And I note that Tendril are listed as one of the Participating Organisations in the London Green Hackathon being organised by AMEE this coming weekend.

Of course, if Tendril really want to talk to developers, they should also be attending our RedMonk Monki Gras conference in London next week (Feb 1-2)! I’m not sure what the collective noun for developers is (I asked on Twitter and received the following suggestions – batch? class? scrum? repository?), but whatever it is, there’ll be a shedload of them there!

One of the interesting things about the Tendril open API initiative is that it should stimulate lots of creativity in the Smart Grid space. So far, as Tendril CTO Kent Dickson noted in a call with me the other day, no-one knows what the Smart Grid killer app will be, but crowdsourcing the ideas is far more likely to lead to compelling results.


HomeCamp 3 – hacking for smart homes, smart energy, and free beer

We had big plans for HomeCamp in 2010, but facts seem to have got in the way. What with Chris joining CurrentCost, and my wife and I having a second child- we didn’t have as much time to apply to the event as it deserved, or the community for that matter. Which is why I am very pleased to announce that we will be homecamping in London on December 13th from 4pm onwards.

We have some great presentations planned, from the likes of AMEE, and IBM.

That’s right. IBM in the home? Surely some mistake? Not so- Andy Piper will be coming along to tell us more about how hackers are using lightweight messaging technology from IBM in all sorts of sustainability/home hacking apps. Given I had my doubts IBM would really go after a pervasive, volume market, led by developers, I am really looking forward to this one…Dave Bartlett from IBM likes to say A Smarter Planet begins with A Smarter Building. Well, perhaps sustainability begins at home. Maybe Andy can tell us how a Smarter Planet begins with a Smarter Home.

But more importantly than great speakers is a nice venue to hang out, catch up on all things homecampy, and drink some beers. Extra special thanks to one of the stalwarts of the homecamp community- Mike Beardmore – for sorting out the venue.

So if you’re interested in home automation protocols and standards, demand response, energy management, the future of smart grids, the role of hackers and alpha geeks as leading indicators for emerging markets, and so on, then HomeCamp is the place to come – you can sign up here. We’d love to see you.