Big Blue Goes Green

August 22, 2008 at 10:06 am Leave a comment

IBM announced on Monday a plan to launch a consulting practice for reducing energy and water usage at businesses by using networked sensors and data analysis software. The group, code named “Green Sigma”, is based on the Lean Six Sigma management strategy that was originally designed to focus on operational efficiency and customer requirements.

Green Sigma’s mission started as an in-depth analysis of a company’s water and energy usage, both at its own facilities and also its supply chain partners. The concept worked so well that IBM is now piloting the method at two of its own facilities as well as with two of its customers’ organizations.

The goal of Green Sigma is to isolate areas that have the best potential for saving energy or water usage. The plan calls for selectively placed sensors on water pumps or machinery to measure usage. The data collected is imported into IBM designed software and the data is presented in an easy-to-read dashboard.

By tracking detailed usage and taking conservation measures IBM was able to significantly reduce consumption. By implementing a telecommuting program, for example, aside from the reduced use of water and electricity, IBM lessened gasoline consumption by an estimated 8 million gallons. The efforts saved the company $310 million.

At its Dublin, Ireland, operation, IBM kicked off a similar program and was able to improve its energy efficiency by 20 percent.

Green business is big business to IBM. With energy and water costs on the rise, the increased overhead is pushing companies to be more efficient. However, there are other reasons for companies to reduce greenhouse gas emissions or undertake corporate social responsibility (CSR) initiative. Many heavy polluters, such as utilities, are anticipating climate regulations in the next five years. Meanwhile, according to a recent survey of CEOs, consumers are demanding more eco-savvy products.

“Consumers are increasingly active and activist about where they put their money,” said Dave Lubowe, global leader of IBM’s operation strategy practice, “Just giving money to charities (through CSR) isn’t enough anymore. That means that not only is it the right thing to do, but it also makes economic sense. I think that’s a really important trend.”

By briansrapier

[via CNet]

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Entry filed under: Business, Conservation, Emerging Technologies, Energy, Environment, Fuel Economy, Information Technology, Informational, Research, Starting a Business, Technology. Tags: , , , , , , , , .

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