IBM will team with Con Edison to encourage data center operators to reduce their energy consumption, the two companies said today. IBM said the relationship will be the first step in a broader effort to work with utility companies on energy efficiency initiatives.
Con Edison, the utility serving New York City, will work with IBM to promote awareness of energy efficiency among its customers, including IBM carbon audits and a related program to help companies earn energy efficiency certificates that can be converted into cash. IBM also said it had extended its energy audit program beyond the data center, offering customers the ability to assess their energy efficiency in their office space and branch locations. The partnership was announced at the Edison Electric Institute's annual meeting in Toronto, which began yesterday.
The announcement didn't include new financial incentives from the utility for companies that reduce their data center energy consumption, a move taken by California's PG&E, which has offered rebates to customers who implement virtualization or air-side economization. But IBM said its initiative with utilities will include "helping customers monitor and verify progress, and applying for incentives that reward energy reduction."
Last November IBM launched a program to perform energy audits on customer data centers, with savings recognized in Energy Efficiency Certificates (EECs). In addition to documenting the before-and-after measurements and energy savings, the credits can be traded for cash in a burgeoning market for energy certificate trading.
IBM will partner with Neuwing Energy Ventures, which will conduct the audits and help companies sell their EECs. IBM said the program provides a way for customer to benchmark data center efficiency and document their energy savings.
IBM has now expanded that program so customers can earn certificates for reducing energy consumption in office lighting systems, cooling requirements, monitors and printers.
"ConEdison wants to encourage reducing energy consumption in the marketplace enabled by new technologies and best practices," said Rebecca Craft, Director of Energy Efficiency Programs, ConEdison. "We are pleased to partner with IBM through their Project Big Green initiative to raise awareness and encourage and motivate client implementation. The ability to accurately monitor and verify the efficiencies gained is especially important as environmental regulations emerge which could have a significant effect on our large and small data center customers. Energy Efficiency Certificates, certified by companies like Neuwing Energy, are a positive initial step to the measurement of complex projects verification of results."