A New Book In Town, Some Afterthoughts

This weekend after several draft releases our book, on how IT can be used to build a Low-Carbon Society, is officially published and can be downloaded.

The last months, during writing this chapter, a lot of things happened in the IT arena. Initiatives and discussions on the technical or ‘micro’ level took place such as getting unity in measuring energy usage, initiatives to place data centers at locations with alternative energy supply (geo-thermal, wind) to get a near zero carbon footprint data center, alternative designs such as containerized data center design or nano data centers. But also on the economical or ‘macro’ level their is some movement. Carbon legislation and the use of Carbon Cap and Trade mechanisms is now high on the agenda. Carbon legislation will definitively have a huge impact on our behavior and consumption of energy sources.

Writing and compiling a collaborative international book on the topic of Greening IT with such great editors like Adrian, Irene and John was very inspiring.

Hopefully this book with wonderful contributions of my fellow writers, on very different aspects of Greening IT, will inspire people to take action by making use of the great potential information technology has for making society greener.

Best regards Rien


The chapter “Why Green IT is Hard” is my personal contribution to this book. To give you some idea, here is the abstract and a word cloud:

Why Green IT is Hard
- An Economic Perspective -

According to the common view, Green IT comes down to implementing technical measures. The idea is that, given better power management of equipment in the workspace (such as laptops and pc’s), more efficient power usage of servers, storage and network components, virtualization of servers, better power and cooling management in data centers, the problems can be solved. But is this really true? The reason IT is not green at this moment is at least as much due to perverse incentives. Green IT is about power and money, about raising barriers to trade, segmenting markets and differentiating products. Many of the problems can be explained more clearly and convincingly using the language of economics:  asymmetric information, moral hazard, switching and transaction costs and innovation. Green IT is not a technical problem but an economical problem to be solved.

Book Printing

We are happy to announce that we have sent the book to the printers! This represents a major milestone for us and it means we are getting very close to moving into the next and very important phase of promoting the book. The book will now go through one or more proof prints before we announce a full and final release. Taking a retrospective look at the process, I wish we could have sent more resources on promoting the book before now,

but being a small non-profit creative commons based project, resources are limited. The good news however, is that a number of our contributors are actively finding opportunities to promote the book in both traditional and creative ways. Additionally, we have found some people who like what we’re doing, agree with our message and have
volunteered to help promote the book. One such person is Tripta Prashar, Director of independent Green IT Consultancy firm Giving Time and Solutions Ltd in the UK.

We will be preparing a press kit and presentation kit too. If you believe you could help promote the book and more importantly our message of the power of IT in enabling the transformation of our societies into ones characterised by low-carbon emissions, then please either contact us or feel free to use the kits which we will release. We appreciate all promotion – from as small as a tweet, to creating imprints of the book
with co-branding. As long as our uncompromised message gets out there we are happy!

Finally we would like to congratulate Sean Whetstone (who wrote the Thin Client chapter in the book) for winning the Environmental Project of the Year at the Green IT Awards.

High-level Support for our Book

We’re very proud to announce that European Commissioner for Climate Action, Ms. Connie Hedegaard, has agreed to write the foreword for our collaborative, international, non-profit making, Creative Commons licensed book.

Connie Hedegaard is well-known in green societies all over the world, for her work leading up to the UN Climate Change conference in Copenhagen 2010, where as the Danish Minister of Climate Change and Energy, she took over the chairmanship of the UNFCCC.

The fact that such a high-level representative supports our common efforts on Greening IT is extremely positive – and we hope that it will further promote our messages across the world.

The book will be published online and in print by the beginning of June 2010.

Enabling a Low Carbon Society