Posts Tagged ‘Bright Green’

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Energy and Cost Savings through Green ICT

June 16, 2010

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Tim Miles is Associate Director on the IT Team in Manufacturing and Services’ Office of Technology and Electronic Commerce and covers the U.S. software and IT services industries.  He and his colleagues work with other ITA units and U.S. Government agencies on domestic and trade policy issues that affect the U.S. IT sector and provide counseling to U.S. IT exporters, especially small and medium-sized companies.

Information and communications technology (ICT) has become a significant source of energy consumption.  ICT equipment now makes up about 5.3 percent of global electricity use and more than 9 percent of total U.S. electricity demand.  The International Energy Agency (a unit of the Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development in Paris) predicts that the energy consumed by ICT worldwide will double by 2022 and increase three-fold by 2030 to 1,700 tera (trillion) watt hours.  This will equal the current combined residential electricity use of the United States and Japan and will require the addition of nearly 280 giga (billion) watts of new generating capacity over the next twenty years, presenting a great challenge to electric utilities throughout the world.

On the other hand, ICT also enables greater energy efficiency.  It has played and will continue to play a critical role in reducing energy waste and increasing energy efficiency throughout the economy.  U.S. businesses have realized that the rising cost of energy is a pressing issue and have begun to invest in Green ICT.

 The goal of Green ICT is to increase environmental sustainability throughout the entire ICT life-cycle along the following four complimentary paths:

Green use — reducing the energy consumption of computers and other information systems as well as using them in an environmentally sound manner

Green disposal — refurbishing and reusing old computers and properly recycling unwanted computers and other electronic equipment

Green design — designing energy-efficient and environmentally sound components, computers, servers, cooling equipment, and data centers

Green manufacturing — manufacturing electronic components, computers, and other associated subsystems with minimal impact on the environment

The adoption of Green ICT principles and practices in industry can help U.S. manufacturers become more cost competitive and contribute to reducing our nation’s energy dependence.  Energy-efficiency studies show that a combination of improved operations, best practices, and state-of-the-art technologies can bring significant energy and electricity cost savings.  For example, employing simple power management techniques, by adjusting settings to “standby or sleep” mode when personal computers or printers are inactive during business hours, can achieve at least a 20 percent reduction in electricity consumption and result in average savings of $50 per year for each PC.  This means that power management of the 108 million desktop PCs in U.S. organizations could net around $5.4 billion.

More Information

The U.S. Department of Commerce’s Office of Technology and Electronic Commerce (OTEC) participated in a session on Green IT at the Manufacturing Extension Partnership’s National Conference in Orlando on May 5th.  OTEC’s Green IT presentation focuses on the impact that IT has on energy consumption and the role of Green IT in energy-efficiency and carbon abatement. It also provides a review of best practices and examples of the energy and cost savings that can be achieved through Green IT.  Click here for the presentation. 

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U.S. Firms Shining Bright (Green) in Copenhagen

December 14, 2009

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Frank Carrico is the Regional Senior Commercial Officer at the U.S. Embassy in Stockholm, Sweden. He has also served the U.S. Commercial Service in Iraq, Brazil, Ukraine, Japan, and Germany.

Following Secretary Gary Locke’s whirlwind schedule on December 11th – featuring a breakfast for Bright Green companies hosted by the American Chamber of Commerce in Denmark; a bilat with Sweden’s Trade Minister Ewa Björling to discuss the EU Presidency and cleantech cooperation; and a long evening with the World Business Council for Sustainable Development – the “Bright Green” program began very early Saturday morning long before the trade show doors opened.  The Commercial Service’s (CS) Bright Green team helped the Secretary meet U.S. exhibitors, give remarks at a morning reception hosted by GE, visit with CS staff at the “Commerce/FedEx Meeting Place”, and formally open Bright Green with remarks focused squarely on the value of U.S. technology for mitigating climate change and for increasing jobs in the cleantech sector.

After the morning departure of the Secretary and his team, CS personnel turned full attention to the business of helping U.S. firms make the most of their time in Copenhagen, spending two hectic days coordinating matchmaking for our 40 U.S participants and partner companies with visiting Governors, foreign companies, officials, and royalty.  CS staff based in Copenhagen and colleagues from Stockholm, San Francisco, Lisbon, Oslo, the Hague, Helsinki, and Washington, DC, worked together to provide dynamic networking for all participants.  A detailed Cleantech Program Guide was widely circulated to COP15 delegates and the press to highlight the many exciting U.S. companies offering cleantech solutions.  The Governor of Washington, Chris Gregoire, was introduced to her State’s companies and updated on a May 2010 Swedish trade mission which will visit her State.  U.S. Ambassador to Denmark, Laurie Fulton, followed with a reception on Saturday evening for U.S. firms participating in Bright Green and their special guests.  Networking continued in full force throughout Sunday on the event floor at Bright Green, featuring special visits by NOAA Administrator Jane Lubchenco; Director of White House Science and Technology Office, John Holdren; and Energy Secretary Steven Chu.  Throughout the event, FedEx and CS personnel worked with U.S. companies and visitors to explore additional ways these companies could succeed in the European market, especially by participating in a planned April cleantech trade mission.  U.S. Ambassadors Matthew Barzun (Sweden) and Bruce Oreck (Finland) were also able to meet with the U.S. Green Building Council and GE executives to explore expanding cleantech programs for U.S. companies active in the European Union.

Finally, it was Sunday evening – at last the Bright Green team relaxed for a late meal together.  The mood was positive and the conversation still focused on how to help the companies who had participated at Bright Green; we all agreed to correspond at length on contacts and results.  Our hope is that many of these firms had concrete results, and we certainly intend to stay in touch and follow up.

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Green Building Takes Root in Copenhagen

December 14, 2009

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Keith Curtis is a senior Foreign Service Officer currently based in the U.S. Commercial Service’s Office of International Operations. He is the Commercial Service’s senior advisor on energy efficiency and renewable energy.

The atmosphere in Copenhagen is charged with activity.  Nobody is saving on personal energy – and everyone seems to be filled with a passion to make their point and make things happen.  At the U.S. Presence Center at Bright Green, the International Trade Administration (ITA) was making its point bright and early at the 9:00 Green Building Seminar and the 10:15 Bright Green, “Solutions at Your Doorstep” panel discussion.  Bringing the momentum of the Green Build Road Show to Copenhagen, we laid out for the delegates, NGOs, and students the wide and deep variety of everything going on in the States on Green Buildings.  The audience seemed to especially like the story of the Greening of the Empire State Building as told first hand by Clay Nesler, VP of  Johnson Controls (did you know Johnson Controls produced the first commercial thermostat?).  He described how the tens of thousands of windows would be replaced and lighting and installation changed office by office in the ¼ mile high icon of the American Industrial Age so that when done, they would be using 37% less electricity.  Roger Platt, VP of the US Green Building Council talked about how Green Building was spreading around the world, and the Department of Energy talked about how it was creating the first net-zero (uses no electricity from the Grid overall) large scale commercial building for their National Renewable Energy Laboratory, in Golden, Colorado.

The Green Building panel was followed by a second discussion organized by ITA to explain the wide range of bio-fuels, energy efficient manufacturing, and renewable energy technologies that the U.S. is delivering to the world. Kirsty Mac Donald of Intel talked about the modernization of the grid and all the intelligent hardware that will go into homes and vehicles.  Did you know that every wind turbine has a half a dozen IT chips in it?  Honeywell told how their bio-fuels are now being tested in regular commercial airlines for trans-Atlantic flights.  The audience was curious and impressed, but the students, who sported T-shirts saying, “How old will you be in 2050?” added a special sense of urgency to the challenges we were all talking about, although the industry presentations pointed them to ways that U.S. technology is already creating real change and reducing our reliance on fossil fuels.

And we heard our second Cabinet official, Secretary of the Interior Ken Salazar, speak to a full house as we looked forward to hearing our own Secretary Gary Locke speak tomorrow.  There is certainly a lot going on already at the COP15 even before the 100 Heads of State arrive.

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The Green Build Road Show Hits the National Renewable Energy Laboratory

November 6, 2009

(This post contains external links.  Please review our external linking policy.)

Frank Carrico is the Regional Senior Commercial Officer at the U.S. Embassy in Stockholm, Sweden. He has also served the U.S. Commercial Service in Iraq, Brazil, Ukraine, Japan, and Germany.

We’ve had a great stop in Denver.  Our Commercial Service office here, under expert guidance from Paul Bergman, coordinated an in-depth visit to Department of Energy’s (DOE’s) National Renewable Energy Laboratory (NREL) today.  While on the road, the Commercial Officers are not only highlighting market opportunities in Europe to the sustainable building clients we meet, but we’re learning an incredible amount about the green technologies that make the United States a global leader in this area.  That’s why we’re at NREL.

We’ve had briefings on NREL’s programs that were focused on development and commercialization of new technologies in building energy efficiency, biofuels, and alternative power production, with particular emphasis on integrating innovative photovoltaics to yield lower and more competitive cost of production of solar cells for kilowatt hours (Kwh) of energy.  NREL is DOE’s only laboratory of its twelve research facilities that is focused on developing energy efficiency and renewable energy technologies (EERE).  A critical part of the lab’s mission is the acceleration and transfer of NREL technology into existing energy markets.  NREL’s Partnership Development programs for its industry partners foster the integration and application of NREL’s R&D.  These programs are allowing nascent renewable energy companies to accelerate entry into the private marketplace; become cost-competitive; work with worldwide partners in renewable energy; and, expand markets in the U.S. and overseas.

NREL’s $460M budget for 2009 includes $110 million of funding from the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act which is being used to increase collaboration through Cooperative Research and Development Agreements (CRADA) and to expand international cooperation with foreign governments.    Most recently, NREL has become a founding partner of SolarTac Technology Acceleration Center for establishing a major commercialization center in Aurora on the outskirts of Denver for integrated photovoltaics and energy efficiency technology commercialization. Other founding partners include SunEdison, Xcel, and Abengoa Solar of Spain.  NREL expects that at least 30 companies will become part of SolarTac within the next year.

Commercial Officers and Specialists offered suggestions on how our domestic and international offices could assist NREL and DOE with its work in overseas markets and to open international markets for U.S. companies working with NREL on innovative technologies.  DOE is already working with CS Stockholm and Copenhagen on special presentations at its Bright Green trade event in December in Copenhagen during the UN COP-15 Climate Change negotiations.

Commercial Service Senior Commercial Officerss speaking with Colorado Governor Bill Ritter

Commercial Service Senior Commercial Officerss speaking with Colorado Governor Bill Ritter (right). (Photo Department of Commerce)

Following our whirlwind site visit at NREL, Paul Bergman and the CS office took us downtown for a special visit with Governor Bill Ritter.  Each of us had the chance to introduce our work in our markets to the Governor and to explain how we could help with increasing export sales for Colorado companies.  In particular, we had the opportunity to explain how the Fedex-sponsored April trade mission to Europe would be especially valuable for Colorado companies.  The Governor promised that his office would follow up with us on the trade mission and will explore closer cooperation on our export programs.

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