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Intel touts energy-use gadgetry for planet admirers

Eco boffins set up lab in Ireland

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ERIC Intel is opening a new energy and sustainability lab, headquartered in Ireland, which will focus on getting consumers to improve their energy efficiency. The lab will push out handy gadgets that allow people to discover more about how they’re using energy.

Intel CTO Justin Rattner, who announced the lab at the European Research and Innovation Conference (ERIC), said that if you told people how much energy they were using, they’d naturally become more efficient all by themselves. And if it was made into a competition – if people knew how their usage compared with that of their friends and family, or their mates on StalkBook – they’d do even better.

As well as gadgets for individual consumers, Intel is also piloting Personal Office Energy Management or POEM, where a dying or healthy flower on the user interface lets a manager know how much his building is currently helping or hurting the environment through energy consumption.

Rattner said that these kind of small changes at the consumer level could add up to some serious carbon emission savings.

“If you look at US households, we project that they could reduce energy consumption by 15 to 31 per cent and save up to $470 in electricity costs,” he said.

“If 1 per cent of US households realised this saving, it would reduce annual coal demand by 371,0000 tons – the equivalent of taking 535,000 cars off the road and reducing carbon emissions by 2.4 million metric tons.”

The exec said part of the energy and sustainability lab would be in the US, but Europe was the best choice to headquarter the lab.

“We felt that Europe was ahead of everyone else in energy and sustainability and that’s why we’re locating this here,” he said.

“It was really the climate in Europe was much more favourable for this kind of work,” he added. “In the US, the focus has very much been on the production side, making the energy plants themselves and the distribution more efficient. Europe has a stronger interest in enabling the consumer to use energy more efficiently.” ®

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