I was eco-responsible before before
Not like a friend who endeavored to live so that everything
required for life, from food to energy to clothing, could be produced on a single plot of land a
few meters square. No, I’m the type of "green" who doesn’t want
to give up anything, but hears his mother’s voice: don’t waste,
leave some for the next person (or the next generation).
Power from Sun – the real sun
and rolling blackouts of 2000-2001 hit us
here in San Diego before the rest of the west.
Day after day while working I kept a window open on the
CalISO system status page
to anticipate blackouts. It was obvious
then, well before the Enron revelations,
from the way generating capacity went offline when demand
neared capacity that somebody was gaming the system.
We bought a rooftop photo-voltaic generating system sized
to meet our household needs over the course of a year.
Economically it was about a break-even proposition
amortized over the life time of the solar panels verus
the current price of electricity per kW-hour.
We didn’t give up anything, like cutting off appliances to stay
within a power budget on a cloudy day.
We stayed connected to the grid, spinning the meter backwards
to sell electricity back to
during the day when they
need it most, and buying it back at night when they have
idle generating capacity. Win-win.
Mostly it was insurance, that even if the Electric Robber Barons
continued their looting, our price was fixed. We could leave
our lights on and thumb our noses at Ken Lay. In the worst
case, if the
grid did become too unreliable we could always buy batteries
and cut ourselves off the grid.
We weren’t interested in the
in 2003 – too small
and too slow. But in 2004 it got really interesting, with as
much interior room, as much acceleration, and better carrying
capacity than my full size V6 sedan. Since a few hundred
thousand people figured this out before I did, there was
quite a waiting list, and I ended up with a 2005 model.
Power Efficient Computing
Sorry, I don’t mean Sun UltraSPARC T1. What would I
do with over 50,000 transactions per second in my home?
Go over to
Rich McDougal’s cross reference
if you want to read about CMT.
This is about how I picked a PC from my buddies at HP.
My goal really wasn’t power efficiency; it was quiet.
Power makes heat, heat needs fans, fans make noise,
noise doesn’t belong in my home.
I already had an old
that did everything fine,
except it sounds too much like a lawnmower when it runs.
It has an Intel Pentium III chip; you know, back before
they started really pushing the clock rate and the power.
So I started by looking at chip power consumption and
I picked an
processor which had
good performance per watt, and nice power management
These features were supported by
upon which my desktop
operating system was based.
Several PC vendors used that chip, but colleagues recommended
and they were right.
That PC is so quiet that often if the screen is blacked
out you can only tell it’s running by spotting the
green pilot light.
Little Green Data Center
about running a Sun Fire T1000 powered by
the solar panels on his house. His PV system looks about
the same size as mine, but I generate a lot more electricity
(3 kW DC, about 2.2 kW AC on a sunny day) – just an advantage
of living in San Diego California instead of Hamburg Germany
If he only cared about staying within a 1 kW power budget,
Thorsten could build a home data center populated with
processors: 6 watts at 40 MHz.
Remember when an 040 was a fast machine?
Remember when Macs didn’t have fans?
No wonder power consumption of data centers has grown so dramatically.
But maybe he doesn’t want to give up anything either, like
thousands of transactions per second.