green cloud technology

The Cloud Changes Everything

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The concept of cloud computing dates back to the 1960’s, though it wasn’t widely known among consumers until much later. Amazon launched their Amazon Web Service (AWS) in 2006 that offered cloud computing to customers. Microsoft has been working with cloud technology for years as well. Today, Google, Apple, and countless other companies are providing some type of cloud experience, such as computation, storage and services, usually as a metered service. The Cloud has changed the way we conduct business, as well as our lifestyles. Often seamlessly, without us even knowing.

It is ground breaking, the extent that “green cloud technology” is changing our way of collecting data and addressing environmental sustainability. Monitoring soil moisture so farmers know when to irrigate, reducing water consumption by as much as 50%. Monitoring air quality that will alert people with asthma where higher levels of contamination are located. If you are not familiar with this fascinating technology, GreenBiz sponsored this video at a State of Green Business Forum. The presenter is Rob Bernard, Chief Environmental Strategist for Microsoft, who is responsible for defining and implementing the global strategy for the company’s environmental efforts.

Taking green cloud technology a step further, the link below describes work IBM, Cisco, and Microsoft are doing that will bring to us Green Cloud Cities.  Continue Reading →




The Smarter Building

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One of the problems we encounter today when defining sustainability initiatives is that most everything associated with the environment, from energy efficiency to social responsibility, is in a fundamental state of flux –­­ constantly changing, ever evolving. While expanding our knowledge and, consequently, our concerns associated with environmental stewardship, we witness organizations and corporations vying for a sense of place arrive by the busloads, and they also leave by the busloads. The boundaries and parameters become blurred, often with conflicting messaging. With the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), U.S. Green Building Council (USGBC), as well as other organizations, promoting smart growth and social responsibility, a heightened awareness will be focused toward building technology and automation. As we assimilate the data and establish our goals, this emerging technology will become a more relevant and active participant in the way we will provide sustainable buildings that integrate into sustainable communities.

However, in order to provide truly sustainable buildings, we should ask the question: is being green enough? Is a green building the same as a sustainable building? Although the terms are generally accepted as being interchangeable, one could legitimately argue they are not the same. On one side, according to the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA):

“Green, or sustainable, building is the practice of creating and using healthier and more resource-efficient models of construction, renovation, operation, maintenance and demolition.”

On the other side, consider the fact that we’ve been successfully creating green buildings for some time now and though we’ve made great strides, for a multitude of reasons, we’ve also fallen short of our expectations. To meet the above stated goals, as sustainable professionals we need to embrace a well-coordinated and expanded process. The state of the art of buildings is that they aren’t just green, but “smart” ­­ structures that go beyond simple resource efficiency and indoor air quality, built with the latest technology for building controls and automation.

Enter smart buildings.          Continue Reading →