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Greener innovation, brighter futures

“At a business level, energy bills for computing are increasing significantly along with its effects on the environment”



Greener Innovation

Jim Holland Lenovo

Author: Jim Holland, regional director for Africa, Lenovo Infrastructure Solutions Group (ISG)

In just a few years, 4IR technology has swiftly become the bread and butter to our global economy.  The sustenance of this innovation and its businesses, however, comes with a hefty price.

Technology, as a whole, needs electrical energy – and energy needs natural resources from the earth. Consequently, more energy usage means more pollution, more resource extraction and more bills.

At a business level, energy bills for computing are increasing significantly along with its effects on the environment.

HPC compute nodes, for example, are now typically running in the 200-300W range. If you take one server, with two processors of 300W, four accelerators which are using up to 500W each, plus the memory, drives and network adapters needed, that adds up to more than 3000W per server.

There are 36 servers in one standard 19-inch 42U compute rack, so each rack will require over 90kW power connectivity and cooling.

As my colleague, Rick Koopman, EMEA Technical Leader for High Performance Computing at Lenovo explained: “The increasing need for power and cooling is going to be a problem for the entire IT industry, not just the supercomputer industry. Wattage of processors, accelerators and other components used in servers is going up. Each and every data center will experience this issue.”

Therefore, it is time that our industry invests in greener technology. Technology that is not only good for one’s business efficiency, but the sustainability of the planet.

What is also clear is that Corporate Social Responsibility (CSR) is a KPI for every C-level Executive today too – and addressing sustainability has a direct positive impact on CSR.

In the same breath, C-level Executives are also struggling with:

  • Every aspect of doing more with less;
  • The growing risks of data security (physical and cyber);
  • The legislation on data sovereignty;
  • Knowing how to deliver the most efficient yet impactful intelligent transformation of their business; and
  • Remaining competitive whilst demonstrating a focus on CSR.

The key to any C-level Executive is to be informed and educated on what is available in the market today and in the near future, to make the right decisions on how to prioritise where to invest time and resource.

Building the foundation

Certain fundamentals are required to be addressed to drive the adoption of green technology. This is generally about a change in mindset towards environmentalism.


We have spent so many years building infrastructures without much thought for the environments and impact to the planet.

The prime concern has been “how many servers or storage can I fit in the envelope of my power and cooling capabilities”, rather than looking at the “360 product lifecycle”.

Education will therefore play a major part in overcoming these barriers to adoption, but so too will financial budgets. Everyone is pressured to do more with less, so managing assets better through the product lifecycle will have a large positive impact.

Lenovo has a number of different technologies to support more environmentally friendly computing, for example our Neptune Liquid Cooling technology, which is creating significant advances in how servers can be cooled to operate more efficiently and use less energy. In fact, 184 of the TOP500’s Green500 list of energy efficient supercomputers are Lenovo systems.

 Lenovo is wholly committed to environmental leadership in all of our business activities — from operations to product design and recycling solutions.

Greener innovation by Jim

Photo credit: Lenovo/Hill+Knowlton Strategies  

To help us lessen our impact on our planet and to reduce, reuse, and recycle wherever possible, we therefore have a number of measures in place.

These include our:

  • Environmental Affairs Policy
  • Environmental Management System
  • Commitment to sustainability
  • Efforts in combatting climate change
  • Achievements to minimize waste and water usage
  • Partnerships with environmental third parties

Under these global initiatives, Lenovo also leverages local facilities and partnerships to drive the key messages and offerings closer to home.

The sustenance of our planet and our economy is up to us. Our collaborative and innovative efforts will lead the way to brighter (and greener) futures.

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