Date Background   Wednesday, August 18, 2010

Power Down for the Planet goes to Intel!

Believe it or not, Power Down fans, I just had my last official trip as the Power Down for the Planet intern. I can’t believe how quickly the summer has flown by! My last, but certainly not least, trip was to Intel’s campus in Hillsboro, Oregon … right in my neck of the woods!

My host was Kathleen Fiehrer, Technical Program Manager with Intel’s Eco-Technology program office. I actually met Kathleen in Seattle during my first trip for Power Down, so it was great to see a familiar face! Kathleen is very involved in Climate Savers Computing Initiative, and she’s a big fan of Power Down for the Planet because it gives students a voice, which is something I’ve heard a lot from all of the people I talked to about the campaign this summer. They’re right — it’s super easy to feel like you can’t make a difference individually, but when we act collectively in campaigns like Power Down, we can send a powerful message!

Intel takes computer power management very seriously. On deployment, all of Intel’s products come with aggressive power-management settings, enabling end users to consume less energy and reduce their carbon footprint. As a Climate Savers Computing Initiative board member, Intel is also committed to reducing its IT energy consumption through computer power management. This means that all of the computers on Intel’s campus (including Kathleen’s) have power-management settings engaged. If only this were a global policy — think of all of the energy and money we’d save!

According to Allyson Klein, Director of Leadership Marketing, Intel has also worked on reducing the energy consumption of servers and data centers, which can guzzle up a lot of energy if left unchecked. As a result, Intel has built incredible servers and data centers that don’t just save tons of energy, but also tons of money. These servers essentially pay themselves off in about nine months!

I also met with two specialists from Intel’s Corporate Affairs Group, Mac Agan and Christy Leonhardt, who showed me around Intel’s 100-percent organic community garden, which is right on campus! Intel’s employees plant, maintain, and eat the company’s organic fruits and vegetables. Leftovers are donated to the Oregon Food Bank. Pretty cool!

And that wraps up my last trip with Power Down for the Planet! I’m really sad that the internship is coming to an end — it was an experience that I will never forget. But just because my internship is ending for the summer doesn’t mean that your involvement needs to end. Be sure to stay in the loop with the latest Power Down news by finding us on Twitter (@PowerDownEDU) and Facebook, and don’t forget that even small actions, like engaging power management on your computer, can make a BIG difference!

Here's a video log of my trip to Intel!

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Date Background   Tuesday, August 10, 2010

Power down for the Planet goes to HP!

Hey everyone!

I hope you’ve been keeping up with my adventures with Power Down for the Planet! So far, I’ve documented my trips to Microsoft in Seattle and Google in Mountain View. While I was in the Bay Area, I also took a trip to Hewlett-Packard’s offices.

When I first checked in at HP, I was greeted by Saleem Van Groenou, with HP Environmental Sustainability. He gave me a tour of the lobby, which was filled with HP’s newest innovations: laptops, computers, TouchSmart screens! I had an opportunity to play with their latest and greatest computers and laptops, which are super sleek and fast. I know a lot of PC fanatics are super jealous right now.

But it’s not all about speed and flashy looks — HP is incredibly environmentally conscious when designing their products. They call their approach “designing for the environment.” This means they build their products smaller to conserve materials, they continuously work to improve product energy efficiency (one of Climate Savers Computing Initiative’s main focus areas), they use recycled packaging, and they even ship in bulk to cut down on emissions from delivery trucks! From design to delivery, HP is very eco-conscious. Pretty thoughtful, don’t you think?

While I was at HP, I met with Janet Gee, from HP Environmental Sustainability. We’re both big users of social media, so we talked a lot about how she uses social media to promote sustainability initiatives within the company. We also talked about the Power Down campaign, which Janet loves because it reaches out to members of the community who may not realize how easy it is to make a difference. If everyone contributed a little, it would add up to a lot, and it’s up to campaigns like Power Down for the Planet to engage students to take those small steps, like using power management on their computers.

My entire day at HP was awesome, but the Halo meeting was definitely a highlight! Halo is video conferencing taken to the next level, so you actually feel like you’re sitting at the same table as people who are thousands of miles away. Words can’t do the experience justice — check out the picture.

I met with a lot of HP’s environmental brains on Halo, including David Eichberg (he was in Boise, Idaho) who works in Global Programs with HP Environmental Sustainability. David stressed that Halo helps curb emissions by keeping people from flying from one city to another for meetings. We also talked about Power to Change, an HP campaign that encouraged college students to fight against climate change. We discussed the strategies the program used to motivate students and how it relates to Power Down for the Planet. Everyone at the meetings proposed some great ideas for the next Power Down campaign. I can’t wait to share with the planning committee!

All in all, I had a really great time at HP. I was genuinely impressed by their commitment to developing state-of-the-art products that are more eco-friendly. I can’t wait to see what they come up with next.

You can read about more of HP's green initiatives here! There's also a cool gadget on the site called the "Carbon Footprint Calculator". You should definitely check it out!

I really appreciate everyone's support with Power Down for the Planet! Be sure to stay tuned for details from my trip to Intel.

Before you go, here's a video log of my trip to HP!

Talk to you soon!


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Date Background   Monday, August 2, 2010

Power Down for the Planet goes to Google!

Hello again!

I was in Mountain View, California, last week visiting the Google campus, a.k.a. the “Google-plex.” It was the first time I’d ever traveled for work by plane, so I felt like a total jet setter! While at Google, I had the opportunity to tour the incredibly innovative campus and meet big names in the green world.

Erik Teetzel, Google’s Energy Program Manager, was my guide during my trip to the Google-plex. Erik and I went behind the scenes at the Google offices to meet a couple of his fellow “Googlers.” They jokingly asked if I was a “New-gler” — a term they use for new employees. I also learned that they call older employees “Grey-glers.” Are you seeing a trend?

While on campus, I had the chance to meet Bill Weihl (yes, THE Bill Weihl), the Green Energy Czar at Google and vice president of the Climate Savers Computing Initiative. Bill, Erik, and I chatted about Google’s involvement with renewable energy projects, which includes two huge wind farms in North Dakota. These farms, believe it or not, produce enough energy to power more than 50,000 homes. These wind farms represent an opportunity for Google to help speed up the widespread use of renewable energy. It will be very cool to see how their renewable energy initiative will grow in the next few years.

As one of the founding members of Climate Savers Computing Initiative, Google is also very dedicated to energy efficient computing. According to Google’s Green Initiatives web page, Google-designed data centers use about half of the energy of a typical data center. This means that the amount of energy used for a Google search is very small. To put it in perspective, it takes the same amount of energy to do 5,100 Google searches as it does to do one load of dishes in an EnergyStar dishwasher. Pretty amazing considering the amount of information that’s being processed in every search!

I also had the rare opportunity to tour the campus with Erik. The Google campus is huge, so I got quite a workout! Luckily for Googlers, there are hundreds of community bikes placed around the campus that keep employees from having to use cars to get around. But, when they need go off campus, they can check out a Google Hybrid. And these aren’t just any hybrids — they are charged by solar panels! You can find footage of this in the video-log of my trip, posted below.

Google’s use of solar panels doesn’t end there; Erik explained that other panels help power nearly 30 percent of the energy needs on campus. Additionally, the main facilities are built with high vaulted ceilings and windows to bring in tons of natural light throughout the day, so office lights don’t always need to be on. And, while working in these innovative buildings, employees can have their meetings inside a company yurt, which have walls stuffed with recycled denim! (For those of you who don’t know, a yurt is a circular domed dwelling that is portable and self-supporting. Thank goodness for free online dictionaries.)

Erik also showed me a few of the 19 cafés around the Google-plex. One of the cafés only uses ingredients that come from within 150 miles of the Google-Plex. Another really cool thing was the on-site organic garden that supplies a portion of the cafés’ produce. Talk about local!

So, at this point, I was already convinced that Google goes to incredible lengths to keep their campus green. Then, I found out about the goats. Instead of using lawn mowers, Google rents goats to come to campus to maintain their grass. Amazing!

Thus, my day at Google came to a close. It was an experience that I will never forget. Thanks to Bill and Erik for meeting with me and for supporting Power Down for the Planet!

But! My trip to the Bay Area didn’t end there. Stay tuned for a post and video of my visit to HP…

P.S. Read more about green initiatives at Google here.

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Date Background   Tuesday, July 20, 2010

Power Down for the Planet goes to Microsoft!


I’m already about halfway through my time as the Power Down for the Planet intern, and a lot of exciting things have happened so far. I’m going to dedicate the next couple of posts to the trips I’ve been taking to Climate Savers Computing member companies Microsoft, Google, and HP.

My first big trip was to downtown Seattle to visit the Microsoft office. Not only was it my first big trip for Power Down, but it was also my first big work trip . . . EVER. I must say, it was a pretty interesting experience and I learned a lot about how Microsoft does its part to be sustainable, and how they motivate others to do the same.

One of the first folks I met was Francois Ajenstat, Microsoft’s Director of Environmental Sustainability. We talked about his role at Microsoft and how he motivates the company and consumers to use technology more sustainably. Francois loves that Power Down is all about engagement, and that it encourages students to take small steps — like initiating power management on their computers — to make a global impact. He’s right: Last year’s Power Down campaign helped offset hundreds of tons of CO2 emissions through computer power management. Check out the footage of our conversation, which I’ve included in the video-log of my trip. Thanks, Francois, for being my first Power Down interview!

During my visit, I also had a chance to sit down with Mark Hayes, Microsoft’s Higher Education Solution Strategist and Steve Lippman, Microsoft’s Director of Environmental Engagement. Mark, Steve, and I talked about a lot of the education- and sustainability-focused programs that Microsoft has sponsored over the years. My personal favorite: The Imagine Cup. It’s a global competition that challenges teams of young people to find solutions to the world’s most pressing issues through technology, innovation, and creativity. From designing mobile obesity-prevention applications to enabling access to quality education and creating games that teach disease prevention, there’s almost no limit to what teams create. Each year’s Imagine Cup has a different theme. For 2011, the theme is pretty ambitious — participants are asked to tackle the United Nation’s Millennium Development Goals. When Mark and Steve said the Imagine Cup is like the “Geek Olympics,” I was totally sold. I want to sign up!

We also talked about “Hohm,” an awesome home-energy-use application that Microsoft created. This free app allows homeowners to get a custom home-energy report from their utility provider that includes personalized energy-savings recommendations. Coolest part: Users can compare their energy savings with that of others in their area. Steve explained that when homeowners see how green their home is compared to their neighbors’, it often motivates them to change their energy behavior to get ahead or stay ahead. Hey, a little friendly competition never hurt anyone!

Steve and Mark also mentioned that all of the cups, plates, bowls, etc. on Microsoft campuses around the world are 100 percent compostable. Sounded pretty awesome, but the full meaning didn’t hit me until I happened to walk by a row of trashcans and recycling bins at the end of my first day at Microsoft. The trashcans were nearly empty next to the compost bins, which were overflowing. It was so beautiful; I just wanted to take a photo of it. Would that be strange?

The next day, I attended my first official Power Down for the Planet in-person meeting with the planning committee. There were representatives from a bunch of different companies and schools, including Microsoft, Intel, and Presidio Graduate School, which made me a little nervous — it was my first real business meeting, after all. Fortunately, everyone on the committee was really nice, and it was exciting to be there and meet the people I’d talked to over the phone for the last several weeks. We spent the meeting throwing ideas around about the direction of the Power Down campaign. Since I was the only college student in the room, they asked me a lot of questions about what we can do to encourage students to participate in the Power Down campaign. It was awesome to be part of the brainstorming process. I’m excited to see how the ideas and strategies we talked about during the meeting affect the Power Down for the Planet campaign.

I had a seriously great time at Microsoft! It was fun to meet the people behind Microsoft’s education and sustainability initiatives and to hang out with the Power Down committee.

My Google and HP trips are up next, so stay tuned to hear all about my adventures in the Bay Area!

Until next time,


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Date Background   Thursday, July 15, 2010

Hi everyone!

My name is Jenny Le and I am the student representative for the Power Down for the Planet Summer Internship. I grew up in Beaverton, Oregon, just outside of Portland. I am currently a speech communications major at Oregon State University…Go Beavs! Throughout the years, I have grown to truly love OSU and the tight-knit community that comes with it. OSU may be located in an incredibly small town, but it holds a ton of personality.

I first became aware of the seriousness of climate change when I participated in a geography course at OSU called “Sustainability for the Common Good.” In this course, we learned about the impact of humans on the Earth’s systems. Most importantly, we focused on ways that students could achieve environmental sustainability. This course opened my eyes to how much the environment can benefit from simple actions made by individuals. Even small steps, like taking the Climate Savers Computing pledge, can make a huge difference. I’ve taken the pledge and I encourage you to do the same!

When I’m not working, my greatest passion is music and one of my favorite things to do is to attend concerts. Luckily for me, Portland is a city with a great local music scene. I also really enjoy photography, thrift shopping, Vietnamese food, and my crazy dog, Wookie!

I am incredibly excited to have the opportunity to work with Power Down for the Planet and the Climate Savers Computing Initiative this summer. I’m going to be doing fun and interesting stuff all summer long to prepare for the campaign launch, so make sure to check in regularly to see what I’m up to and get updates on the Power Down for the Planet campaign!

To stay up to date on the campaign, please make sure to follow me on Twitter (@PowerDownEdu) and become a fan of Power Down on Facebook. (

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