Tech companies go for the green

This week, a consortium led by big tech kahunas Google and Intel kicked off an effort to reduce the power use of the approximately 250 million personal computers and servers manufactured each year. Participants that signed on to the Climate Savers Computing Initiative — including IBM, Hewlett-Packard, Dell, Sun Microsystems, Microsoft, and Yahoo! — have agreed to halve new machines’ electricity use by 2010. While costs may go up by $20 or so per computer, machines will also be more reliable and quieter, and consumers will quickly make up the difference in electricity savings and possible utility rebates, say backers. The consortium expects that their efforts could save $5.5 billion in electricity costs by 2010 and reduce greenhouse-gas emissions by 54 million tons annually — not insignificant, as computing is estimated to be the source of about 2 percent of worldwide GHG emissions. Guess tech companies have recognized that reduced energy use has “net” benefits. Ho ho!