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“As a result, we expect that Xi3 Modular Computers will have useful lives of six, eight or even 10 years, versus the standard of three to five years of traditional desktop computers. This will eventually lead to fewer computers and components to be disposed of less often,” Sullivan says.
Xi3’s modular computer is also the more sustainable option because its small size and long life means its environmental footprint for manufacturing and shipping is much lower than that of traditional computers. It’s also designed to be far more energy efficient than alternatives. Sullivan estimates that if Hill Air Force Base, one of Xi3’s customers, replaced the 25,000 traditional desktops in use with modular computers, the base could save as much as $6 million in lowered electricity costs.
Sullivan says when customers realize what they can do with a modular computer “then we believe we’ll start to see people changing how they think about, buy and use computers.”
Fusion-io is helping convince companies that they don’t have to sacrifice performance for sustainability, says David Flynn, founder and CEO of Fusion-io. The company’s solid-state ioMemory platform is helping businesses save energy and space, while improving performance and efficiency.
Traditional data centers take up a lot of room and require a lot of energy both to power the centers and keep them cool. By moving data storage out of traditional centers and into the server, ioMemory increases efficiency and speeds up applications. It also reduces the energy needed to run and generates less heat.
“Compounded over the scale of a data center, these innovations lead to significant energy savings,” Flynn says. The company is now working on a software development kit to allow companies to program their applications or software platforms to work faster and more efficiently while running on flash memory. Flynn says implementing solid-state technology into the server will dramatically change the way companies architect their data centers.
“Many of our customers have told us about the energy savings they have achieved with our products, and we’re proud that Fusion-io is helping reduce the 235.5 billion kilowatt hours used each year to power the world’s data centers,” he says.
CoreBrace is doing sustainability on a big scale. The company’s Buckling Restrained Braces are lateral bracing systems that help building projects reduce seismic risk.
The use of CoreBrace braces can result in the significant reduction of other materials on the project, says President Dieter Klohn. “The CoreBrace system allows the building designers to reduce the tonnage of steel beams and columns required in the braced frames. Additionally, the concrete foundations required to support the braced frames can be reduced.”
Klohn says using Buckling Restrained Braces in seismic upgrades and retrofits has a big impact on sustainability by removing the need to demolish an outdated building and construct a new one.
In addition to the impact they have on reducing construction materials and waste, the product itself is fabricated using about 95 percent recycled materials, and scrap metal and other proprietary materials are recycled. Klohn says the company has also minimized waste and water usage throughout the fabrication process.
Klohn says he’s excited for the future as CoreBrace continues to look for innovative approaches to solve challenges for the construction industry. He says 100 percent of the braces are fabricated in their West Jordan facility and “we are proud to be a Utah company.”
Exotic Solar LLC
Exotic Solar is revolutionizing the way people will look at solar energy. The company, a University of Utah startup, developed and commercialized a way to make a cheap, flexible, washable, lightweight solar panel fabric. The fabric, PowerCloth 1G, can be integrated with everyday clothing to make clothing items a power source.
“It’s indeed hard to make any more personal commitment to renewable energy and reducing the carbon footprint than by wearing clothes and accessories that create solar power,” says Surabhi Pandey, president and CEO of Exotic Solar.
Exotic Solar is a renewable energy company using nanotechnology to reduce the consumption of fossil fuel-based energy sources. One of the problems the company realized with solar energy is, while it’s a clean, off-grid energy, it’s not really portable. The energy can’t be accessed when away from home nor while doing activities like biking or boating.
So the company took high-efficiency solar cells and miniaturized and strengthened them with nanotechnology. They were then embedded in a soft polymer to make the solar cells flexible. Pandey says the possible uses for PowerCloth are exciting and Exotic Solar will only continue to find innovative methods of producing renewable energy, while emerging as a leader in flexible solar cell technology.