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Green IT for Dummies® by Jhana Senxian, Arnold Reinhold, Jeffrey Hill, Carol Baroudi

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Chapter 5. Assessing Your Current Energy Use and Needs

In This Chapter

  • Considering watts to green

  • Measuring energy and power

  • Examining power quality

  • Knowing carbon, both friend and fiend

Information technology (IT) — computers and related equipment — has grown tremendously and is the largest energy consumer in many organizations. Since generating electricity impacts the environment in a big way, wise power use is IT's biggest green concern and opportunity.

In this chapter we explain why IT needs so much power, where it all comes from, the different ways its use impacts the environment, and some of the ways you can reduce that impact. This chapter also explains how understanding energy and electricity sources can help you make the most of the energy you use and offset its carbon impact. Chapters 7 through 15 tell you how IT can reduce the power it uses.

Understanding Energy Jargon

Talking about energy involves a lot of technical jargon. Energy itself is a technical term. I had to work up some energy to write the chapter, and it's probably taking some energy for you to get through it, but psychic energy is not what we are talking about in this book. We're talking physics here, where energy is understood as follows:

  • Energy is the ability to do work. It comes in different forms, and some forms of energy are more usable than others. The total amount of energy never changes, but the amount of energy that we can easily use goes down every time it's converted. Electricity is one of the most useful ...

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