ComputerWorld: Discovery is #2 Green-IT User in U.S.


Discovery owns TreeHugger, so reporting on this story is a bit delicate. We'll limit ourselves to saying that we're proud of what Discovery is doing, with its LEED headquarters, with its groundbreaking upcoming 24/7 green TV channel Planet Green (in the meantime you can check out the Planet Green website), with its IT department, and many other things.

To keep some objectivity, we'll just quote ComputerWorld: "Discovery's approach is ahead of the curve. A recent Forrester Research Inc. survey found that just 15% of U.S. companies have green-IT plans [...] The company conducts regular audits of its server, storage and network equipment to make sure everything is fully utilized. It has consolidated storage into a single shared pool [...] and it used virtualization software to reduce its server count from 850 to 535 physical machines. Disk-to-disk backups have replaced backup tapes, eliminating the need to transport those tapes off-site."Some more highlights from the ComputerWorld piece:

Discovery did the right thing by focusing on an audit first, since abandoned servers are a common problem. "Many companies have servers that are running but not doing anything," Mines says. He says companies should focus on this and other "quick wins" -- such as unblocking air vents and adding blanking panels in data center equipment racks to optimize airflow -- before moving to bigger projects, such as server consolidation and virtualization.

Kline followed that same strategy on the cooling side. The company sealed up server racks, moved to a hot aisle/cold aisle design to optimize airflow and then installed high-efficiency chillers. But it also saved energy by simply raising temperature set points. Many data centers are overcooled, so settings can often be turned up without causing problems [...]

Discovery says that energy savings have approached 20% since the data center was re-engineered, high-efficiency chillers were installed, and server, storage and networking equipment was consolidated. [...]

Outside of the data center, Discovery has encouraged workers to telecommute and teleconference. [...] In 2004, Discovery installed teleconferencing systems to cut down on business travel. [...] The business uses networked printers, all of which are on the lightest print setting by default. Many printers are also set to print double-sided pages, and Kline is pushing to expand that. [...]

for the electricity Discovery consumes companywide, it purchases offsets in the form of wind-power credits from Pepco Holdings Inc., a local utility. "What we can't reduce or recycle, we offset," Laque says.

Overall, Discovery cut its energy bill by 27% in its headquarters.

Wondering who's #1 according to ComputerWorld? Highmark Inc.
::Top 12 Green-IT Users: No. 2 Discovery Communications LLC

See also: ::Discovery Headquarters Get LEED Platinum, ::TreeHugger Acquires Discovery Communications
Photo by Michael Graham Richard

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