IBM's 8 million square feet of data centers are enormous banks of servers that process transactions and store websites and information. They require huge amounts of energy for their electricity needs and the air conditioning needed to keep the servers cool.
IBM expects to save money from these efficiency measures and reduce their global warming pollution at the same time. Dubbed "Project Green," it will include heavier use of "virtualization" technologies that lets one computer handle the operation of multiple machines. It will also include the launch of a new liquid-cooling system that captures power in off-peak times and stores it for peak use.
Christopher Mines, a Forrester Research analyst, told the Associated Press:
"I think this is a strong effort by IBM to pull the pieces together. People are aware of the environmental impact of their IT (information-technology) shop, but many of them aren't doing anything about it so far. I think that's going to change."The $1 billion is being reallocated from other areas and is not an increase in the company's investment or capital expenditure plans. However, IBM does point out that this massive effort reflects the energy concerns and priorities of its customers.
The savings will be substantial: IBM expects to save more than 40 percent of its energy for an average 25,000 square foot data center. That's about 7,400 tons of carbon dioxide emission each year or more than 5 billion kilowatt hours of energy.