New IT Energy Efficiency Incentives: Opportunities Hiding in Plain Sight


We present a new category of energy efficiency incentives and architectures for Enterprise and Institutional Information Technology (IT) Networks, beneficial to power producers and consumers alike.

The network architectures discussed have significant benefits for organizations beyond energy savings. Simplicity of design and enhanced agility enable networks to qualify for utility market demand-side initiatives, such as demand-response and time-of-day load shifting. Benefits are achieved through a virtual dematerialization of assets, similar to virtualization of servers in cloud computing. Dematerialization is made possible through the lightweight and transmission distance characteristics of optical fiber, along with wireless technologies and the optimal usage of copper builds.

This brief is tailored for utility executives, regulators, government officials, and C-Level business executives. It is the first in a series on this subject by Cirrant Partners Inc. It is a compendium of Cirrant white papers, articles, technical briefs and application notes exposing what we have dubbed the IT “scotoma”1 , or blind spot. In such areas, energy is wasted due to scaling characteristics of legacy all-copper networks. Utilities and regulators have not raised consciousness about, or created financial incentives tailored for energy efficiency in networks; as a result, end-users are not aware of the opportunities we will describe.

The total IT energy consumption in the US in 2011 is estimated to be slightly more than 100 Billion kWh.2 (This is based on the energy consumption being 80% of the 2007 projection.) The actual consumption may be lower due to the economic times. Energy costs vary per state and usage classification and contract agreements. At a commercial national average price of 10.77 cents per kWh,3 the total IT energy consumption cost is estimated to be $10.77 Billion. Annually, Billions of kWh of IT energy go unmonitored and largely unmanaged. A large part of the consumption is inefficiently-used energy by local area networks and supporting infrastructure.

IT Network Infrastructure energy savings are the new low hanging fruit.

To this end, we introduce the economics and operating characteristics of hybrid local area network (LAN) configurations that would enable energy consumers to capitalize on new energy efficiency incentives programs, and realize substantial CAPEX and OPEX savings.

1 A scotoma (Greek for darkness; plural: "scotomas" or "scotomata") is an area of partial alteration in one's field of vision consisting of a partially diminished or entirely degenerated visual acuity which is surrounded by a field of normal - or relatively well-preserved - vision.
2 Report to Congress on Server and Data Center Energy Efficiency Public Law 109-431, August 2, 2007
3 US Energy Information Administration Electricity Monthly


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Introducing the economics and operating characteristics of LAN configurations for power producers and consumers to capitalize on new energy efficiency incentives