Efficiency is Hot

I’ve been vacationing in Arizona and have let my posting slide. I will try to get back on track this week.

To get the ball rolling, I thought I’d observe that for all the emphasis on finding new energy sources, energy efficiency is where the action is. Most analysts believe that the biggest, fastest and cheapest way to mitigate the problems associated with the use of fossil fuels (including cost, scarcity and greenhouse gas emissions) is to use less of them

There was a post floating around on Twitter this week saying that someone named Peter Graff from McKinsey had said that just .5% of energy used by data centers is used for transactions. I haven’t been able to corroborate that number (or even the existence of Peter Graff) but I did find a McKinsey study about data center efficiency that says “Server utilization rarely exceeds 6 percent and facility utilization can be as low as 50 perccent.”

And I was reminded of the striking estimate by the Rocky Mountain Institute (referenced here) that just 1% of the energy consumed by a car is used to move the driver (the rest being lost to inefficiency and for moving the heavy car itself).

Both of these observations suggest that there is an opportunity not only to make existing processes more efficient but to rethink what things we actually do where and eliminate wasteful activities entirely.

I’m going to turn off the lights now. More later.

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2 Comments

Filed under efficiency

2 responses to “Efficiency is Hot

  1. Hal Kane

    Strongly agree about the top importance of efficiency, and love the 1 percent figure for cars. Thanks David.

  2. That’s sort of the idea behind the PUMA. And to a lesser degree, NEV (Neighborhood Electric Vehicles — though many of those are too heavy).

    I’ve replaced most of my car trips with my Segway. It weighs half what I weigh (though when you last saw me in person, I was way underweight, and that was more like 2/3). And I’m standing and getting some exercise. No parking!

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