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IBM offers Cash for Greener Data Centers

IBM has teamed up with energy auditing firm Neuwing Energy to offer customers Energy Efficiency Certificates (aka white tags) which can
then be sold on global energy markets. Laws in Italy, France, Nevada, Connecticut and Pennsylvania require that energy utilities either cut their emissions or purchase ECCs from someone who has, and similar rules are being considered in 15 other states and most EU countires. The theory is that the power companies will pay you to be environmentally-friendly so that they don't have to.

There's a catch, of course: To get the certificates, you need to actually make your data center more energy efficient, preferably (from IBM's point of view) by buying products and services from IBM. In addition to actual power-saving technology like newer chips and
virtualization, IBM also offers a five-step services program ("Big Green") that it claims can cut energy use by 42%.

This means that from a cost-saving perspective (or a planet-saving one, as manufacturing this new technology isn't pollution-free), most customers may only find the program worthwhile if they were going to upgrade their data centers anyway. However, a more energy efficient data center can have other benefits, the most important being greater uptime in the event of a power outage.

bulletThe Cold, Green Facts
It's Easy Being Green is a nonprofit based in Silver Springs, Md., that teams with businesses to support carbon-reducing initiatives.