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HP's Bright Spot Amid Green Storm Clouds

Hewlett-Packard yesterday provided a ray of sunshine amid some gloomy green-energy prognostications, announcing that it recently completed a 1.1-megawatt solar panel installation at its San Diego facility and that it would begin selling special-edition desktop PCs that consume 45% less power than its comparable PCs.
Hewlett-Packard yesterday provided a ray of sunshine amid some gloomy green-energy prognostications, announcing that it recently completed a 1.1-megawatt solar panel installation at its San Diego facility and that it would begin selling special-edition desktop PCs that consume 45% less power than its comparable PCs.The new solar project will save HP $750,000 during the next 15 years while providing more than 10% of the facility's power, the company said. SunPower installed the system and GE Energy Financial Services, a unit of GE that owns the system under SunPower Access, will provide the electricity under a power purchase agreement.

In an interesting twist that is bound to garner employee and investor support, HP earlier introduced an employee-purchase program that lets HP workers evaluate home-versions of the SunPower solar energy equipment. To date, more than 600 HP employees and retirees have requested an evaluation of a home system installation, and more than 60 have completed an installation or are under contract to install SunPower systems at their homes.

To its credit, the solar project is one of numerous steps HP has taken to shrink its carbon footprint. HP elected to participate in Austin's Green Choice program, to procure almost 19.9 million kwh of wind energy from wind farms in western Texas for two of its Austin data centers. That represents nearly 20% of the annual energy used by the two centers. HP joins other IT giants in the Austin program, including AMD, Apple, AT&T, Dell, IBM, Intel, Samsung Austin Semiconductor, and Tivoli.

HP yesterday said its goal is to double the company's global purchases of renewable power from under 4% in 2008 to 8% by 2012. HP's goal is to reduce greenhouse gas emissions from its owned and leased facilities worldwide to 16% below 2005 levels by 2010. In 2007, HP increased renewable energy purchases by more than 350% and purchased 61.4 million kilowatt hours of renewable energy and renewable energy credits in the United States.

In May, Climate Counts, an environmental watchdog organization funded by Stonyfield Farm, gave HP a score of 68 out of 100 for its green efforts. That represented a 9-point improvement from 2007.

As for the new products, they include the HP Pavilion Verde Special Edition a6645f and HP Pavilion Phoenix Special Edition a6655f desktop. Both meet EnergyStar and Silver designation in the Electronic Products Environmental Assessment Tool. The desktops, though, garnered only Silver (the highest designation is Gold), because, in part, while they contain large portions of material that can be recycled, they lack any bio-based or recycled material in their construction.