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A fuller sense of environmental responsibility

Most of you in this industry work for companies that create a physical product for the marketplace. This creation is necessary, although, as with nearly every other activity on earth, it consumes our quickly dwindling natural resources.


Now, don’t panic; IMM is not slamming the industry it serves. I do find it instructive, though, that one firm that deals solely in the transfer of information—with no actual product created—has reduced its dependence even further on these precious resources by turning to natural cooling and renewable energy for its power sources.

The Laramie, WY 18-person shop of IDES Inc. has been providing materials spec’ing information to plastics processors for 22 years, and recently installed what it calls a state-of-the-art, naturally cooled server room to house its array of 25 computers. These computers are home to The Plastics Web, a vertical search engine, and Prospector, that online tool many of you have likely used for material selection help. In more moderate weather, outside air cools the servers, reducing air-conditioner use by about 70%, says Mike Kmetz, the company’s president. Plus, during cold Wyoming winters, the heat those computers crank out is used to warm the office building.

As with most companies looking to improve their presence on the planet, this is not solely an altruistic move, nor is IDES’s decision to use a wind-energy-powered data center called Green House Data for its backups. “For us, advancing the environment while lowering operating costs is good business,” Kmetz says. “Our hope is that more companies in our industry adopt new energy-saving technologies too.” We hope so, too.—[email protected]

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