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Google, Intel Lead Latest Green Charge

A coalition of computer firms led by Google and Intel have undertaken yet another initiative to reduce PC power consumption and cut down on greenhouse gases.

The Climate Savers Computing Initiative brings together quite an assortment of participants: Google , Intel , Dell , EDS, the Environmental Protection Agency, HP , IBM , Lenovo, Pacific Gas & Electric, Microsoft , the World Wildlife Fund, and more than 20 other companies.

Google has put its vast sums of money where its mouth is. It has installed a massive solar panel installation at its Mountain View headquarters and uses fuel-efficient vehicles to shuttle employees around the campus. Now it wants to lead the charge for other aspects of computing.

The initiative calls for improving the power efficiency of both desktop and server computers. A typical desktop PC wastes over half the power delivered to it, according to a blog posting by Bill Weihl, Google's Green Energy Czar.

With more efficient power supplies and DC-to-DC converters, and power-management features turned on, that same desktop PC would save as much as 80 percent of the energy it currently consumes, he claimed.

The initiative's energy efficiency benchmarks will initially follow the EPA's Energy Star guidelines but eventually exceed them. The 2007 Energy Star specifications require that PC power supplies meet at least 80 percent minimum efficiency. The Climate Savers initiative would require a minimum of 90 percent power efficiency by 2010.

The Climate Savers Computing Initiative will cut greenhouse gas emissions in an amount equal to removing more than 11 million cars from the road or shutting down 20 500-megawatt coal-fired power plants, said Pat Gelsinger, senior vice president and general manager of Intel's Digital Enterprise Group, in a statement announcing the initiative.

The Climate Savers Web site contains information on what interested parties can do, either as individuals or as a company. It also has information on how to enable and use the power-saving modes on a computer, which can reduce the amount of energy consumed by up to 60 percent.