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Firms aim to save computer electricity

June 13, 2007|From Bloomberg News

Six of the largest U.S. technology companies, led by Google Inc. and Intel Corp., are starting an initiative to save electricity in personal computers, which waste half of the power they get from the wall socket.

The goal of the Climate Savers Computing Initiative is to save $5.5 billion in energy costs yearly, the companies said Tuesday. The group, which also includes Microsoft Corp., Hewlett-Packard Co., Dell Inc. and IBM Corp., also pledged to limit its purchases to energy-saving equipment.

The companies published a study detailing the electricity waste, which, if eliminated, would cut carbon dioxide emissions by 54 million tons a year. That equals the output from 11 million cars or about 20 coal power stations.

"Even these modest steps we are describing as an industry can have enormous impact," said Patrick Gelsinger, the head of Intel's unit that sells computer chips to businesses.

The program, which will offer a badge for computers that consume less power and educate people about how to use machines more efficiently, was announced by company executives at an event at Google's headquarters in Mountain View, Calif.

Electronic Data Systems Corp., Lenovo Group, PG&E Corp. and World Wildlife Fund also are part of the group.

The project builds on the U.S. government's Energy Star ratings, which require companies to upgrade their machines to save energy. Making power supplies more efficient will add about $20 to the cost of a PC, Gelsinger said. That will be recouped in savings within two years, he said.

The group aims to boost energy efficiency by 50% by 2010, Gelsinger said. One way to cut consumption is software that puts computers to sleep when they aren't in use. That feature is disabled on about 90% of machines today, Gelsinger said.

Google, Intel and the other companies will promote the program to reward organizations that participate. For example, Google will channel Internet users to the websites of participating companies.

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