According to Jeremy Jaech, CEO of Verdiem, PCs represent 40% of the energy consumption of a buisness's IT department. What's worse is that on average, 66% of the time that a PC is turned on and running, no one is actually at it using it. Verdiem is on a mission to change these facts and make PC energy use far more efficient. Jaech sat down with us to talk about where businesses are at in terms of getting serious about efficiency, and Verdiem's role in it all.A Quick Background of Verdiem
You might know that on the consumer side, Verdiem offers a free software download called Edison that helps your personal PC run more efficiently. But they have a waaaay bigger system for businesses called SURVEYOR. Two years ago, we did an interview with Verdiem's previous CEO Kevin Klustner that will tell you all about it. It's this system that gets the most focus because the biggest dent comes in changing whole companies. But, Jeremy Jaech came on the scene in November and rather than rehash the product, we wanted to talk about what's going on in corporations now that the economy has tanked and we have a new administration in Washington.
Companies Shifting Layout to Help Efficiency
Jaech confirms that companies have indeed shifted how they function in order to address energy efficiency issues. A few years ago, Verdiem dealt with facility managers, and IT was considered a road block to implementing software. In 2007, however, companies started creating sustainability teams. Now, there's been another major shift and Verdiem now usually deals directly with IT for putting software in place. Companies have empowered, and put the responsibility on, their IT departments to save major dollars in efficiency. This is also the case in facilities managing data centers.
Three Factors for Corporation Shift
So why the change? Jaech points out three major drivers. First, he says, came a cultural shift. Companies recognized the growing consumer awareness of environmental issues, and want to be perceived as green. But that's not enough to push them into big changes. Next came a shift in political winds. Companies feel that with the new administration, energy policies will be coming back. They want to be prepared for any regulations, standards and policies that might be presented to them from government. But there's one more factor that is the real catalyst. Money.
The economy tanked, and if 66% of the energy going into PCs is wasted because they aren't being used, and if 40% of an IT department's energy bill is going towards running computers and monitors, then there's a whole lot of room to save money. Verdiem's SURVEYOR software starts to look really appetizing, since SURVEYOR deals specifically with PCs and monitors, and is a well tuned, customizable software system. Companies that tend to hold the biggest interest are those with PC intensive services, such as banks, insurance companies, or phone companies like AT&T.;
Verdiem and the Stimulus Package
Corporations are the only ones noticing SURVEYOR. The government has also become a big possible client. While Verdiem already works with a small handful of government agencies, green IT is now part of the stimulus package and the government could become a big client – which would be good news to tax payers who foot the bills. Speifically:
$2.5 billion for energy efficiency and renewable energy research, development, demonstration and deployment activities (biofuels, geothermal, water, wind, solar, and efficiency projects will be deployed to demonstrate and improve our use of renewable energy), including $50 million for efforts to increase the energy efficiency of information and communications technologies
$3.1 billion of EERE funds for State Energy Program for additional grants that don't need to be matched with state funds, but the act only allows such grants for states that intend to adopt strict building energy codes and intend to provide utility incentives for energy efficiency measures.
Another $4.5 billion to the U.S. General Services Administration (GSA) to convert federal buildings into high-performance green buildings, which generally combine energy efficiency and renewable energy production to minimize the energy use of the buildings.
SURVEYOR hopes to be a big player in the government's efforts to get energy efficient.
Does the Efficiency Awareness Pass Down to Employees?
We asked Jaech about employee perception of the software – if they take notice of it and perhaps become more energy conscious themselves. Jaech said there are two kinds of company attitudes Verdiem sees that impacts how much exposure employees get towards energy efficiency in the work place.
Verdiem can adjust how visible the software is to employees, and has seen that those companies being aggressive about energy efficiency changes and going green typically want their employees to see the changed settings. However, those who are more tentative about taking steps towards PC efficiency will want to hide the new settings from employees.
Ultimately, that probably means a slower savings all around, since we already know that when people are aware of how much energy and products they consume, they'll cut back. Companies who don't want their employees to know they're working on making PCs efficient could be missing out on savings in other areas.
More on Energy Efficiency Changes
New York Times on Energy Efficiency
Quantifying Energy Efficiency's Potential In Developed And Developing Countries
Massachusetts Unveils Ambitious Renewables and Energy Efficiency Bill