HP to Bring More Green Energy, IT to Its Operations

By 2012, Hewlett-Packard plans to double the amount of renewable energy it uses to power its operations, whether from green power purchasing programs or from renewable energy projects on its facilities.

Although the increase will only bring the company to 8 percent total green power use (up from a current 4 percent), it is still no small feat: the company currently uses 50 million kilowatt hours of green energy, enough to earn it a high spot on the EPA's Green Power Partnership.

While buying green energy to reduce its overall emissions, HP also announced yesterday that it would be investing in clean technologies, notably solar arrays. The company recently completed a 1.1 megawatt solar panel array on a facility in San Diego, Calif., made up of over 6,000 solar panels and expected to provide 10 percent of the facility's energy and save around $750,000 dollars in the coming years.

And its HP Labs division is also investigating how nanowire photonic technologies can be incorporated into solar panels to boost their efficiency over the 20 percent mark. (Although one solar technology broke the 40 percent efficiency barrier at the end of 2006, most solar panels are hovering around 20 percent.) HP Labs aims to make these highly efficient panels cheaper to produce and thus usable in everyday applications.

In addition to upping its purchase of green power and renewable energy credits, HP is also giving a green boost to some of its other data centers. The company is currently using wind power to provide 20 percent of the juice for two of its datacenters in Texas, and it recently consolidated three Australian facilities into one new facility that has been designed to trim energy use by as much as 70 percent.

HP's green move is not the company's first -- in addition to being on the EPA's Green Power Partnership, the company has been designing its products to be more energy efficient and to use fewer toxics in manufacturing, earning an EPEAT Gold ranking for an entire line of workstations. And Silicon Valley has been a hotbed of green activity for some time: Google has long had a green bent, both with a large solar array on its Mountain View campus and with commitments like its recent $4 trillion renewable energy plan, and IBM's Big Green Innovations projects have been regularly featured on GreenerComputing.

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