Business Brains

Look to your employees for ideas about sustainability

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Ideas from within: When it comes to sustainability and environmental responsibilities, don't forget to look within for the answers.

IBM has created a new recognition program called the Corporate Environmental Innovation Program to help highlight grassroots ideas that have helped improve energy efficiency or some other environmental impact -- for either its own operations or one of its clients.

I'm happy to see it because, frankly, while many people have great environmental ideas, if they aren't rewarded for making them real, we really won't move forward at the business level.

There are five ideas highlighted in this batch:

  • The SmartBay Galway project: This is a project managed by IBM and the Marine Institute Ireland that monitors wave conditions, water quality and weather in the Galway Bay of Ireland. The benefits extend from better data for commercial fisherman, to the ability to monitor flood conditions, to information about whether it is cool to go to the beach. There are lot of different community participants involved from the public and private sector. Here's a link for more information.
  • Stockholm Congestion Pricing: A transportation solution that has reduced traffic in the center center in Stockholm, Sweden, by 18 percent by charging fees to drivers visiting during peak business hours. Greenhouse gas emissions have been cut by 40 percent in the inner city. Here's an article detailing the solution.
  • Measurement and Management Technology: IBM has added to the real-time measurement and analysis of data center temperatures and humidity. The technology is now being used in 60-plus data centers. Here's some specific information about how Toyota has used this technology.
  • iDataPlex Server: This is a specific product that IBM touts as the "most power-efficient, high-volume server in the world." (Yep, direct quote from their press release.) It uses 40 percent less power than rival configurations, based on the SPECpower benchmarking test. The server design lets two servers share one fan cooling system. Here's some information on how networking company Voltaire is using the new servers.
  • Systems Director Active Energy Management: Software for monitoring and managing energy use. Here's information on the latest features.

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Heather Clancy

Section Editor

Heather Clancy has written for United Press International, ZDNet, Entrepreneur, Fortune Small Business, the International Herald Tribune and the New York Times. She holds a degree from McGill University. She is based in New Jersey. Follow her on Twitter. Disclosure