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IBM Saves $30m in Energy Costs in One Year

IBM saved $29.7 million in energy expenses and conserved 272,000 MWh of electricity in 2010, according to the company’s 2010 Corporate Responsibility Report.

The report says that in 2010, IBM’s energy conservation projects saved an amount equal to 5.7 percent of its total energy use, beating a corporate goal of 3.5 percent. Besides saving electricity costs and consumption, these projects avoided 352,000 million BTUs of fuel oil and natural gas and more than 139,000 metric tons of CO2 emissions.

Since 2008 IBM has saved over $50 million on electricity and conserved 523,000 MWh of electricity, the report said.

IBM said the savings were achieved through an ongoing program involving 3,100 conservation projects at more than 350 IBM facilities in 49 countries. The company aims to eliminate 11 million MWh of energy through these continuing efforts by the end of 2012.

IBM says that its energy conservation goal recognizes only projects that actually reduce or avoid operational energy consumption, not cuts in consumption due to downsizing, the sale of operations or cost avoidance actions, such as fuel switching and off-peak load shifting.

In 2010, IBM cut energy-related CO2 emissions by 11.5 percent from 2009 levels, which the company attributes to energy conservation and renewable energy procurement. The company’s procurement of renewable energy equaled 11.2 percent of its total electricity use in 2010.

IBM technologies used in the energy reduction efforts include one that produces real-time, 3D images to pinpoint so-called “heat sinks” and cooling leaks; virtualization technology to ensure that servers operate at peak efficiency; and analytics software that manages electricity consumption across data centers. These same innovations are included in IBM Smarter Buildings products sold to clients, IBM said.

In 2010, IBM deployed its Smarter Building technology at its Armonk, N.Y., headquarters and selected buildings at its Rochester, Minn,, site. The technology is expected to yield a five to eight percent annualized energy cost reduction. IBM has plans to install Smarter Building solutions at additional locations during 2011 and 2012.

Some examples of IBM energy saving initiatives in 2010 include:

  • 165 locations modified HVAC systems or operating schedules to reduce 40,300 MWh of electricity use and 83,000 MMBTU of fuel use, and save $4.9 million.
  • 290 projects at 90 existing data center locations reduced energy use by over 32,000 MWh, saving more than $3.2 million.
  • 208 locations implemented projects to match building lighting and occupancy schedules or install more efficient lighting systems, reducing 17,200 MWh of electricity use and saving $1.9 million.
  • Virtualization technologies consolidated multiple workloads from servers and storage systems, reducing energy use by more than 75,000 MWh in 2010.

IBM’s global energy management program is run by a team of more than 40, who have created best practices checklists setting minimum expectations for building systems and operations including controls and equipment for lighting, HVAC, central utility plants (CUPs), compressed air, data center and IT systems, cafeterias and office systems. All sites using more than 2,000 MWh/year of energy must complete the checklists, perform a gap analysis and develop an energy conservation implementation plan a minimum of every three years.

In other 2010 environmental results, IBM:

  • Reduced water use in the manufacturing process by nearly two percent
  • Recycled 79 percent of non-hazardous waste
  • Completed a multi-year program to eliminate perfluorooctane sulfonate and perfluorooctanoic acid compounds from its chip manufacturing processes.
  • Set new requirements for all 27,000 of its suppliers to implement a corporate responsibility and environmental management system, set environmental goals, and measure and disclose their performance
  • Announced a hot water-cooled supercomputer design that consumes 40 percent less energy than comparable machines
  • Refurbished and remanufactured about 820,000 units in 2010, or approximately 15,800 units per week. Of these, 88.5 percent were prepared for reuse and resale.  IBM says that less than 1 percent of processed equipment goes to landfills.

In other IBM news, the company this week will coach five start-ups that have developed software designed to analyze large volumes of data. They include EnvEve, a wireless sensor network and tailored analytics platform that gives organizations real-time information on the environment and physical infrastructures.

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