Other Aspects of the EcoStruXure Initiative
Other aspects of the EcoStruXure initiative, which will be rolled out throughout the year, include a Facebook-like collaborative portal that will give people the chance to work with each other and with Schneider to address energy issues, a program to teach college-age students the fundamentals of energy audits for buildings, and a set of reference architectures for various types of buildings, from data centers to factories to homes. Those reference architectures will start to be released in the fourth quarter. There also will be a certification program for energy architects.Another program will bring prepaid electricity programs to people without the means to pay for power. With the program, people can prepay for a certain amount of power, and then when they need it, the power can be turned on to their home until the task is completed. Davis and Chris Curtis, executive vice president of Schneider's North American business unit, outlined the increasing problems-both environmental and economic-caused by the inefficient use of energy. There were graphics showing the disappearing coastlines in the United States caused by rising water levels and a photo of a polar bear stranded on a melting ice floe. They also noted that the increasing costs of inefficient power consumption, from the amount of carbon being pumped into the atmosphere to the fact that it costs businesses significantly more money now to run a server than to buy one. Davis said the opportunities are there now for businesses to begin driving down their power costs, from smart controls to greater automation of energy processes to better use of energy management tools and software. There is also a continuing drive for greater intelligence in buildings, he said. A key problem is that there is resistance from key people in businesses-such as building and facilities managers to IT administrators-to take a lot of the steps that can save them money now. "There are a lot of things we can do already, with good ROI, but no one's doing it," Curtis said. "So it's a huge problem." Schneider, with its wide reach into all these different areas, will be a key player in helping drive up energy efficiency in buildings, he and Davis said. They pointed to a wide range of partners, including such IT players and Dell, IBM and VMware.
In addition, Schneider is looking to bring power to what Davis said are the 1.6 billion people in the world without it. He spoke of a recent project in which the company installed a power system for a remote Vietnamese fishing village.