IBM's Lighting, Data Center Projects Reap $50M in Energy Savings

IBM's Lighting, Data Center Projects Reap $50M in Energy Savings

IBM sign CC-licensed by Patrick H~/Flickr

IBM has saved $50 million in the past two years through thousands of energy and efficiency projects around the world, the company says in its 2010 Corporate Responsibility Report.

Efficient lighting, better operating schedules for building systems and cloud computing are among the efforts that pushed IBM over a couple of its energy goals.

IBM is aiming to eliminate 1.1. million megawatt hours (MWh) of energy use by 2012, a goal set in 2009. By the end of last year, IBM exceeded its interim goal of cutting out 496,000 MWh by eliminating 523,000 MWh.

In the mid-2000s, IBM set a goal to reduce carbon dioxide emissions related to energy use by 12 percent, from 2005 to 2012. It has now surpassed that goal by reducing emissions 16.7 percent, more than doubling the 5.7 percent reduction it was at by the end of 2009.

Those savings came from a variety of efforts around the world. Last year, 299 IBM locations completed some 2,100 energy conservation projects, such as installing occupancy sensors lighting systems that are more efficient in 208 locations and modifying HVAC systems at 165 locations. The company's actions last year alone accounted for nearly $30 million of the $50 million saved since 2008.

Outside of building controls, IBM also undertook data center projects to use less energy, less equipment and monitor facilities better. Turning more to cloud computing, IBM deployed 55 servers with cloud software, which would have equalled 488 physical servers, saving $1.3 million.

IBM has also been using technology developed by its IBM Research arm that shows heat sinks and cooling leaks in data centers with real-time, 3D images. The company also continues to use analytics software to manage energy use in data centers.

IBM's energy conservation program, which now involves more than 3,000 projects, has since 1990 avoided almost $400 million in energy expenses and 5.4 million megawatt hours of energy.

Outside of energy, IBM's latest report also looks at water, recycling, employee volunteerism and corporate donations.

Last year, IBM recycled 79 percent of the nonhazardous waste it created, reduced manufacturing water use by almost 2 percent, and remanufactured or refurbished 88 percent of products it processed for recycling.

IBM sign CC-licensed by Patrick H~/Flickr