Kermit the frog says it's hard being green, but for corporate America, green is getting to be the color of cool executives pushing environmental programs.
Sun Pushes for Sustainable Growth
Scott McNealy, chairman and CEO of Santa Clara, CA-based Sun Microsystems Inc. challenged industry leaders to adopt sustainable growth strategies. McNealy outlined a number of new initiatives at Sun designed to be environmentally friendly. One is product development, where the company has invested in R&D addressing sustainable computer technology. Sun recently launched Sun Fire x64 servers that are designed to use about one-third the power while providing one-and-a-half times the performance of comparable servers. Sun's goal is to introduce equipment over the coming three years that offers 30 times the performance using one-tenth the energy of equipment produced just two years ago.
The company will also adopt thin-client IT architecture, which lets employees use streamlined, low-power computers that connect to an energy-efficient network. McNealy notes that by switching to this technology from personal computers, Sun will reduce power consumption by nine times and raw materials consumption by 150 times.
Other green policies at Sun include a location-independent work program to reduce employee commutes while saving $69 million in real estate costs. Currently, 14,000 Sun employees participate in the program and an additional 5,000 will be added in the coming two years. Sun has also recycled 18 million pounds of computer equipment in a take-back program.
Verizon Opens Doors to Fuel Cell Facility
New York-based Verizon Communications Inc. has flipped the switch on what it calls the country's largest fuel cell project. The company is using environmentally-friendly fuel cells for electric power in a large call-switching center and office building in Garden City, NY. Verizon Chairman and CEO, Ivan Seidenberg, said the seven fuel cells powering the center reduce the company's dependence on commercial electric power and provide a layer of network reliability in the event of a disaster.
Verizon's Garden City facility blends the commercial power grid with the fuel cells and backup power. Funding for the project was provided by the U.S. Department of Energy, though Verizon also expects to receive some funding from the New York State Energy Research and Development Authority.
Ford to Ramp Hybrid Production to 250,000
Ford Motor Co. will speed production of its fuel-efficient gas-electric cars over the coming five years, with the goal of producing a quarter million hybrid vehicles per year by 2010. Ford also plans to ramp up production of flexible fuel vehicles—which can run on gas or gas blended with ethanol—to 280,000 by next year. Ford launched its hybrid program with the compact Escape last year. This year it added a hybrid version of the Mercury Mariner.
Slime Buster: Episode 5
New game, new questions. Test your knowledge of RoHS and environmental regulations that impact design engineers and save the world from the clutches of the evil Dr. Slime at http: //rbi.ca/4400-508.