Sustainability & the role of IT – Rich Lechner’s Energy & Efficiency Keynote at Pulse 2009

Rich Lechner is IBM’s VP for Energy and Environment. He gave this presentation at the Pulse 2009 conference last week. I thought it was so good I asked him for a copy to put up on SlideShare – he very graciously agreed, so here it is.

There were some amazing statistics in the talk. Here are just a few of the highlights for me from the deck –

Slide 8:

In 2001, there were 60 million transistors for every human on the planet… by 2010 there will be 1 billion transistors per human. In 2005 there were 1.3 billion RFID tags in circulation…… by 2010 there will be 30 billion

Slide 10:

Our personal information footprints will grow 16 times between now and 2020

Slide 13:

an estimated 170 billion kilowatts are wasted by consumers each year due to insufficient power usage information

Slide 15:

Forty-five percent of traffic on the busiest New York City streets is circling the block looking for parking …congested roadways cost $78 billion annually in the form of 4.2 billion wasted hours and 2.9 billion gallons of wasted gas

Slide 17:

U.S. CPG companies and retailers lose $40 billion annually due to inefficient supply chains

and Slide 19:

In the U.S., a typical carrot has traveled 1,600 miles, a potato 1,200 miles, a beef roast 600 miles …grocers and consumers throw away $48 billion worth of food every year

Slide 21:

Industry accounts for about 22% of freshwater usage today …the combined direct consumption of five food and beverage giants in 2007 was enough to serve the daily basic water needs of everyone on the planet

and Slide 42:

42% of IBM’s employees do not regularly come into an office saving $100M annually in real estate costs
Last year IBM saved $97M in travel costs by using online collaboration
Process improvements in the chip making process in Burlington, VT are saving 20M gallons of water, 15 thousand gallons of chemicals and over 1.5M kilowatts of electricity annually….achieving $3M in annual savings and increasing manufacturing production over 30%

What part of the presentation did you find most interesting?

[Disclosure – IBM paid my travel and expenses to attend Pulse 2009]


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 it@cork 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.


Carbon account, meet lifestreaming. Lifestreaming, meet carbon accounting!

Some of the places I publish

I come from a Social Media background. I use blogs, Social Networks, Microblogs, Photo Sharing sites, Video Sharing sites, Livecasting apps, Social bookmarking sites etc. everyday. I generate a constant stream of updates about things happening in my life which can be followed via RSS or on my Friendfeed page (a feed aggregator) or on the individual sites.

Cool. Interesting enough I hear you say. So what? Well, lets just park that for a second.

Carbon accounting is rapidly coming down the line. Already we are seeing companies like BT and Verizon requiring lower carbon footprints from their suppliers. This is because carbon accounting will take supply chains into account.

Carbon accounting will be incredibly granular and will attempt to take everything into account in the life-cycle of goods and services. This will include electrical power usage, road mileage and air miles alongside expenses and financial returns.

To get buy-in from staff, reporting total power and energy usage will have to be made as simple as possible so that it doesn’t interfere with the natural flow of people’s work.

This is where lifestreaming applications come in. Encourage the people in your organisation to use applications like blogs, Twitter, Flickr, Dopplr, et al. Then you can capture that output and route it through the carbon accounting software and ta da! carbon usage information accounted for.

Obviously it won’t be as easy as that, but if your employees are using Twitter, say, set up your company’s carbon account software with a Twitter account. Then instruct staff on how to message the software with what you are doing at any point in time i.e. “@bt-carbon-accounts – putting on the kettle for a cup of coffee” or “@ibm-carbon-accounts – hot today, setting the aircon to 19C”. This would also be especially useful for capturing the carbon footprint of people working from home.

IBM’s master inventor Andy Stanford-Clark has already done some work in this area. His house has a Twitter account and regularly sends updates like:

the phone is ringing (mobile)
electricity meter reading: 32100 KWH
outside lights turned off
outside lights turned on

etc. to Twitter automatically!

Will carbon accounting software and its requirement for constant inputs from all levels of business bring lifestreaming applications into the Enterprise 2.0 fold?