The Heads of Dell and HP Know that Energy Savings Mean Real Money

It never takes long to find something compelling in the WSJ. I read George Ander’s column and it hit a point I’ve been making for years: That the environment is becoming more of an economic than a social issue–and that is how we are going to truly solve this big problem. I have said that the market is the most important factor in getting people to adopt green policies and work harder to put effort into things like recycling and energy efficiency. The words came from two luminaries in the computer world, Michael Dell and Mark Hurd of HP.

The point Anders makes is that the amount of energy a computer uses has become a salable point, and the amount of power huge racks of servers suck down is an important expense to be trimmed. But it’s all coming about in the traditional way industrial innovations evolve…slow, inevitable progress, not giant blockbuster break-throughs. “Instead of championing radical responses to high energy prices, their companies rely on constant tinkering with existing technology, knowing that prosaic efficiency gains add up.

“Major computer customers began banging the table in 2005, demanding that manufacturers focus more on power consumption…it’s among their top three concerns now, it used to be seventh of eighth.”

While these chairman are happy to talk about their progress, such as the fact that new Dells use $23 instead of $1oo per year to operate, when the real progress comes, Anders speculates these sly foxes will clam up. That’s because they won’t want to share their secrets with the competition.