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Jul 16 2007   3:08PM GMT

ZeroFootPrint.net: Learn how to reduce your personal carbon footprint

GuyPardon Guy Pardon Profile: GuyPardon

Green is definitely the color of the moment. Green data centers, green computing, green touring, green tea. Even geogreen, if you follow Tom Friedman.

Of course, it’s not easy being green. Just watch Kermit.
Just as there are complex tradeoffs in choosing what you eat (an Omnivore’s Dilemma, in fact), managing to make the “right” choice in terms of how you travel, how you do business and simply how you live is a test of both ecological ethics and cold, hard business savvy.

IBM, for instance, recently launched Project Big Green, diverting more than $1 billion dollars annually to create more energy efficient data centers.

And, according to Bridget Botelho, HP is also making a push for lower data center power consumption and green computing.

Even Google and Yahoo! are receiving fresh scrutiny, as TechCrunch recently compared just how green the two Internet giants are these days.

Fortunately, thanks to an environmental movement that’s still going strong, decades after Earth Day and fueled by an energy crunch that’s unlikely to abate any time soon, there are companies, services and individuals working hard to make being green a bit easier and sustainable. Ivy blogged about e-waste, e-cycling and environmental responsibility in the enterprise recently as well, so it’s safe to say that our team is united in believing this to be a significant issue of the moment.

We’re not alone in that assessment. Carbon neutrality, whether purchased or achieved through internal changes to processes, materials or technologies, is increasingly an important benchmark for organizations and individuals alike. Yahoo, in fact, has pledged to become carbon neutral by the end of 2007.

TechCrunch also covered GigaOm’s launch of Earth2Tech, written by Katie Fehrenbacher and Adena DeMonte, a blog that will track news, events and technologies in the green computing world. Yahoo is also urging people to become more environmentally friendly using two other sites, Be a Better Planet and Yahoo Green.

ZeroFootPrint.net is at the leading edge in terms of personalizing these choices. Based in Canada, the nonprofit was founded by entrepreneur Ron Dembo, fresh off the sale of risk-management software firm Algorithmics. ZeroFootPrint recommends green products and services for individuals, organizations and cities to help reduce their environmental footprints. I particularly like the handy calculators that allow users to determine how their food, building, consumer consumption and travel choices have larger consequences.

Over the next month, I’ll be researching a podcast on green computing, to be released in conjunction with a new ebook from the editors of SearchDataCenter.com, a leader in covering the explosion of energy efficiency and green practices on the enterprise beat. If any readers know of other great sites, organizations or services that are shaping, leading, innovating or writing about green computing (TerraPass, NativeEnergy, UC Boulder, and WorldChanging.com all spring to mind), please let me know.

And, of course, if you’ve made your own changes to your data center or home office, transportation choices or energy consumption habits, I’d love to hear about that too.

In the meantime, I’ll be walking home from work today and biking tomorrow, making my own small concession and contribution, along with getting some much needed time in the sun. It’s a shame my laptop doesn’t have a solar charger!

[Photo credit: Nigel's EcoBlog]

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