Big Data, Small Carbon Footprint

Moving from paper-based systems to digital solutions can improve productivity, increase efficiency of employees and reduce waste and error. Despite these benefits, a shift to digital done incorrectly can have detrimental impacts on the environment. Elements of virtualization such as data centers, processors, and globalized supply chain transportation systems can create a large carbon footprint that proves unsustainable for the environment. Fortunately, your agency does not have to choose between advanced technology and environmentally friendly technology.

HP has a two-part strategy to use cutting-edge technology to make their operations sustainable and “green.” HP is improving the energy efficiency of their own data centers and asking the same from its supply chain partners.

HP recently partnered with the Department of Energy to build a liquid-cooled supercomputer in the recently opened ESIF (Energy Systems Integration Facility) research center, according to Silicon Angle. “With a peak performance of 1.2 quadrillion calculations per second, it’s hailed as the world’s largest computing capability dedicated solely to renewable energy and energy efficiency research,” the blog added. Recently, HP worked with Intel to create a chip that reduces electricity consumption by as much as 33 percent.

However, as HP began researching their carbon footprint, executives realized that their company was accountable for the energy efficiency of their partners as well. HP made a commitment to improving their sustainability and asked their partners to do the same. According to Greenbiz, “HP became the first high-tech company to set specific greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions reduction goals across its suppliers and business partners and an aggressive one at that: 20 percent by 2020, compared with 2010 levels.” For example, HP worked with supply chain partners in China to develop a product transport freight route that carries one-thirtieth of the carbon footprint associated with airfreight.

How was HP able to convince their partners and executives to adopt this strategy? In addition to help the environment, these initiatives also reduce cost. For example, HP developed the “EcoPOD” data center for eBay that has reduced both carbon emissions and cost. Silicon Angle notes that EcoPOD deployment cost “up to 75 percent less than traditional systems while consuming only a small fraction of the electricity. Together with the Bloom Energy Servers, the EcoPOD helps eBay slash carbon dioxide emissions by 49 percent and increase the availability of its web services.”

HP’s initiative shows that in the future software will not just have to be advanced and powerful, it will also have to be cost effective and sustainable. Fortunately, with advanced HP technology, this future is attainable.

What is your agency doing to reduce environmental impact and costs?

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HP’s mission is to invent technologies and services that drive business value, create social benefit and improve the lives of customers — with a focus on affecting the greatest number of people possible. Check out their HP for Gov group on GovLoop.

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