Skip to main content

IBM saves 523,000 MWh of electricity, exceeding an interim target in its latest energy strategy

More than 3,100 projects at over 350 facilities in 49 countries produce results

23 Jun 2011 -- In 2009, amidst business growth and continued increases in global energy prices, IBM launched a new energy strategy intended to achieve a quantum level reduction in its energy consumption and energy expense beyond that achieved by the company's longstanding, effective and well-recognized existing energy conservation programs.

IBM's new strategy included a goal to eliminate 1,100,000 megawatt-hours (MWh) of energy consumption by year-end 2012 through conservation and efficiency -- an amount representing over one-fifth (22%) of the company's total energy consumption during 2008.

Between 2009 and 2010, IBM achieved a reduction of 523,000 MWh of electricity -- enough to power 47,000 average U.S. homes for a year -- through over 3,100 individual projects in more than 350 facilities in 49 countries across its global operations. This significant reduction exceeded the company's two-year interim target of 496,000 MWh by five percent. Collectively, these projects delivered over $50 million in conservation savings.

IBM's new goal is a particularly challenging one because the company's longstanding energy conservation programs have already avoided nearly 5,000,000 MWh in energy use and over $340 million in associated direct energy expense from 1990 through 2008.

These new reductions have been achieved by an integrated team across IBM's business units and cover data centers, hardware, software, manufacturing and the company's global real estate portfolio. IBM's corporate environmental staff is providing leadership and technical assistance to the business units, as well as project management, data analysis, oversight and tracking. IBM's corporate finance function provides support and funding for the strategy, ensuring that the projects yield acceptable returns on investment.

"This comprehensive, global work has featured the integration of key IBM professionals and their skill sets across and within individual business units; the deployment of unique IBM technologies and know-how; and a management system supported by top executives," noted Wayne Balta, vice president, Corporate Environmental Affairs and Product Safety. "Moreover, because the projects under this strategy demand cross-unit collaboration and integration, the synergy among the business units has been further enhanced, fostering further new innovations for the practice of energy efficiency."

The strategy focuses on two approaches for energy reduction: reducing the need (or demand) for energy, and improving the efficiency of our operational use of energy. The projects being implemented to achieve these results include IT workload consolidation and virtualization; additional deployment of IBM's unique Mobile Measurement & Management Technology; processor level power management; implementation of free cooling infrastructure; and the execution of a full range of energy conservation projects.

IBM's sustained leadership and achievements in energy management and conservation programs have earned the company a range of recognition over the years, a sampling of which includes the Association of Energy Engineers' International Corporate Energy Management Award in 1992; the Star of Energy Efficiency Award from the Alliance to Save Energy in 1998, and becoming the first IT company to receive an Industrial Energy Technology Conference Energy Award in 2009. The corresponding avoidance of greenhouse gas emissions also enabled IBM to become the first company to earn the U.S. EPA's Climate Protection Award twice, in 1998 and 2006.

For related information, please visit