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Data centers, power distribution companies and construction firms all try to conserve energy
Following a greener path

The messaging solution notifies customers any time that the power company is telling NNPPD to shave power off its peak and any time NNPPD is nearing its peak load. As a result, Abraham estimates that NNPPD was able to shave load 64 percent during premium "red days," resulting in savings not only during. those days but also for the next year's rates.

"Our communications enabled us to control our customers' power usage better than utilities that use equipment to control customers' power usage," Abraham says.

Small savings add up

Different types of equipment use different levels of power. A color printer, for example, warms the color ink every 15 minutes. A small electric clock, while running constantly, uses much less power over the course of the day even though the printer might be in actual use only 30 minutes out of the entire day, says Michael Deane, VP and chief sustainability officer for Turner Construction.

The company, which touts itself as the nation's largest green construction firm, is dedicated to conserving power throughout its operations. To that end, the company joined the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) Climate Leaders, an industry/government partnership that works with companies to develop comprehensive climate change strategies. Deane, because of Turner Construction's EPA involvement, was invited to speak at a ThinkEco conference last year.

ThinkEco's products include:

  • A "modlet," short for modern electric outlet, which is a retrofit outlet that monitors the energy use of plugged-in appliances and equipment and automates the energy use of the individual user by determining personal on/off schedules based on historical usage.
  • ThinkEco Power Manager, which enables IT and facility managers to universally view plugged-in equipment from the micro to the macro throughout a building or even cubicle to cubicle.

Intrigued, Deane had ThinkEco install five modlets at a Turner Construction site. They measure power usage and provide data about when the device is in actual use and when it is dormant but still drawing energy. From that information, Deane was able to adjust on/off schedules, which saves about $50 over the course of a month.

Savings multiply

While $50 isn't much, Deane points out that Turner has offices across the world. So $50 per office per month would result in thousands of dollars of savings over the course of a year. It's unknown how soon the company will see savings anywhere near that level, however. Deane admits he has a sales job to do with company executives to get wide deployment of the modlets.

As demand for power continues to increase and prices and green concerns continue to rise, these and newer knowledge management tools will provide increasingly important information for power conservation efforts. 

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