Several computer industry heavyweights this week announced an initiative aimed at helping PC makers and their customers adopt more environmentally friendly power usage. Computer companies such as Dell, HP, IBM, Intel, Google, Lenovo, and Microsoft have joined forces with the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), the World Wildlife Fund (WWF) and numerous other companies to form the Climate Savers Computing Initiative, aimed at helping PCs run more efficiently over the next few years, saving energy and reducing greenhouse gas emissions.

"Today, the average desktop PC wastes nearly half of its power, and the average server wastes one-third of its power," said Google Fellow Urs Hölzle, a senior vice president at the company. "The Climate Savers Computing Initiative is setting a new 90 percent efficiency target for power supplies, which if achieved, will reduce greenhouse gas emissions by 54 million tons per year and save more than $5.5 billion in energy costs."

The group says that by 2010 it will "cut greenhouse gas emissions in an amount equal to removing more than 11 million cars from the road or shutting down 20 500-megawatt coal-fired power plants." Reaching this goal will require some effort at a number of levels. First, PC makers will need to build PCs more efficiently. The PCs they build, too, will need to be more efficient, and take advantage of modern power management technologies, both in hardware and software. Finally, these companies will need to educate consumers and businesses about the benefits of buying more energy-efficient computers.

For more information, please visit the Climate Savers Computing Initiative Web site.