Using Software to Reduce the 2%

I’ve been a bit of an alternate energy nut since High School when I designed a solar-powered milk pasteurizer for a school science project and wrote paper after paper on geothermal energy. Now, years later, I’m excited to work for a company so strongly focused on using clean power in our operations and increasing the energy efficiency of our products.

Today, the Information and Communications Technology (ICT) industry accounts for approximately 2% of global CO2 emissions. If that 2% number sounds small, consider that according to Forrester Research, there are currently over 1 Billion PCs in use today and that number is projected to be 2.25 Billion by 2015.

Reducing the electricity used by notebook and desktop computers as well as servers used in data centers is a top product and sustainability priority at Intel.

On the product side, Intel introduced in January 2010 a new microprocessor family featuring technology that increases performance and reduces power consumption of new computers.

Creating products with built-in energy smarts has been years in the making. Back in 2008, Intel helped establish the Climate Savers Computing Initiative with the goal of improving computer energy efficiency and encouraging corporations to use the power saving features of their computers. In less than two years, hundreds of companies joined Climate Savers.

I’m really excited about one more way Intel is attacking the 2% of global CO2 emissions attributed to the ICT industry: energy-smart software running on modern, energy-efficient computers.

To help speed up the creation of energy-wise software, a team of Intel engineers from the Software and Services Group recently came up with the idea of creating a new tool to help developers and users of software measure the energy-efficiency of their code.

The result of their efforts, the Intel Energy Checker, is now available for free download on Intel’s whatif.intel.com web site. This site gives software developers the opportunity to play with Intel’s latest software research and technology and provide feedback. The Intel Energy Checker allows the software developer to write code that effectively manages computer resources for greater power efficiency and answer the question, “how green is my software?”

Check out the Energy Checker and let me know what you think.

2 Responses to Using Software to Reduce the 2%

  1. Kevin Bross says:

    Neil,
    I’m glad that you’re excited about the Intel® Energy Checker SDK With all the great advances that Intel is doing in processor design and manufacturing technology, it’s all too easy to lose sight of the important role software can play in improving the energy efficiency of a data center, an individual server, a desktop, or a mobile device.
    I think it’s also important for us to review what we’re getting for the energy that’s being put into ICT products and services. Although data centers, telephone central offices, and other concentrated groupings of ICT equipment can draw appreciable amounts of power, the users of that equipment get more and more value from that energy consumption. Much of the energy consumed by ICT equipment helps defray higher energy consumption by other activities. For example, videoconferencing can eliminate some energy otherwise required for traveling. Even basic communication devices like telephones save a lot of energy by moving bits rather than physical bodies. Similarly, automotive companies that can simulate dozens of impacts with computers can eliminate the cost/energy/natural resources that would otherwise be required to do the same level of physical crashes with actual vehicles. There’s an interesting paper (supported by Intel and other industry players) at http://aceee.org/pubs/e081.pdf examining the net impact of ICT–it’s worth a read.

  2. Neil,
    Welcome to the blogosphere! Thanks for taking the time to share your thoughts on the great software tools we have posted on http://WhatIf.Intel.com such as the Intel Energy Checker SDK. I look forward to reading your future blogs posts and continuing to lend my oh so subtle advice. :)