Reducing power usage and consumption is one of the best, easiest and immediate measures we can take while politicians wrangle through their greedy needs. Two large corporations that, along with IBM, have set up internal goals and business models based on selling and promoting green products are Google and Cisco. Two tools released by the aforementioned that have the power (pun intended?) to affect everyday electricity usage both at home and at work are Google’s PowerMeter and Cisco’s EnergyWise.
Google’s PowerMeter is a tool that Google has released free and made available to consumers in partnership with power utilities and government agencies. It provides probably the most useful way to monitor electricity usage. By giving access to and showing near real time stats on electricity usage it can help any body get a picture on when and how much power he or she is consuming at home and to help him or her plan and manage usage with a better understanding of what uses more and what uses less power. Google has a few partners lined up and more jurisdictions and local power producers will follow sooner or later. For this to work a local utility must install smart meters and also get on board with google.
Cisco’s EnergyWise is a set of tools that Cisco has integrated into its catalyst switches and routers with the aim of better monitoring their power usage and then managing their consumption and even turning them off when idle. This tool can manage, via set policies that include such criteria as device priority and location, other compatible devices (IP phones, PCs, etc.) on the network as well and using a new domain naming system to gather information on all those devices. All the information gathered can then create a bigger picture for analysis over time. It is an open architecture that enables other devices, built by others, to hook into it and make it more widely usable.