2011 Will Be Green IT’s Proving Ground

Green IT – doing more computing for less energy — has a couple of potential breakthroughs brewing in 2011. That might give the IT industry a better view of just how important saving energy is for their customers.

AVOB Takes PC Power-Saving to the Processor

French startup AVOB, which launches in the U.S. on Monday, says it can ramp down processor speed and voltage while a computer is working and is testing it with the likes of Intel (s INTC), Microsoft (s MSFT) and Cisco (s CSCO).

Greentech Startups Kick Off 2010 With Fund Raising Rush

If the first day back to work in 2010 is an indicator of how greentech investing will look this year, there’s a reason to be bullish. By Monday afternoon we saw three greentech startups file fund raising documents with the SEC, and on Tuesday another greentech startup plans to put out a fund-raising release (which we reported on last week).

Wind turbine maker Nordic Windpower, biofuel maker Solix Biofuels, and PC energy management firm Verdiem, all filed fund raising documents on Monday afternoon. Meanwhile smart thermostat maker EcoFactor plans to release its funding announcement tomorrow, and filed its fund raising documents last Wednesday. Together the four companies have raised close to $25 million and plan to raise collectively a total of over $50 million.
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PC Energy Management Startup Verdiem Raises Close to $5M

A weak economy is a solid time to sell a product that can save companies 30-60 percent on their energy bills. Computer energy software maker Verdiem, which passed the 1 million mark back in August for the number of government and business PCs that are running its software, has raised $4.71 million of a $5.93 million round from investors including Kleiner Perkins and Catamount Ventures, according to a filing with the SEC. The Seattle-based company was founded in 2001 and as of 2007 had raised a total of $15 million.

Verdiem makes a software program called Surveyor that centrally monitors and manages the energy consumption of networked business PCs. The company also has a consumer-facing product called Edison, which is free and downloadable from the web. Its Surveyor product, however, provides the bulk of the company’s revenues, and costs about $30 to $60 per PC per year, with an average return on investment of between eight and nine months according to the company.
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Pixar Animator’s Award-Winning Alma Up for Free (For a Limited Time)

[show=almashort size=large]Previous to the advent of online video, the only real distribution model for short films was the film festival circuit, perhaps being aired once or twice on TV or included in a VHS or DVD collection. However, the end game for non-feature-length projects is still an uncertain one in the digital age — creators throw time and money into crafting one perfect five-minute gem, but after they complete their festival tours, beyond being included in the YouTube Screening Room there isn’t a clear path towards monetization.

Making a short film and putting it online, however, is a great way to build some buzz, and that’s the goal of Rodrigo Blaas, an animator who’s worked for Pixar (s DIS) and Fox (s NWS) over the last ten years. The short film Alma, which Blaas wrote and directed, picked up awards this year at the Fantastic Fest, Siggraph, Animacor, Boca del Lobo, LA Shorts Fest and other festivals (a journey Blaas documented on the film’s official blog) — but only a short teaser was online until last week, when Blaas made the complete film available via Vimeo as a gesture of holiday cheer.

The Pixar influence is clear in Alma, from the silent-film storytelling to the high-quality 3D CGI rendering of its adorable protagonist. But despite Pixar’s tradition of screening original shorts prior to its feature releases, don’t expect to see this tale of a little girl investigating a mysterious doll shop playing before Toy Story 3 — the narrative is simple yet eerie, ending on a dark twist more evocative of Stephen King than Walt Disney. “The inspiration came from the life-like doll my aunt had at her home. That doll scared the hell out of me as a kid,” Blaas said via email. Read More about Pixar Animator’s Award-Winning Alma Up for Free (For a Limited Time)

Verdiem Racks Up 1M Installs for PC Energy Management Software

surveyor1With budget cuts crippling companies and municipalities, software that can potentially cut an energy bill by 30 percent to 60 percent sounds pretty good. That’s the pitch from computer energy management software maker Verdiem, which this morning says it has passed the 1 million mark for the number of government and business PCs that are running its software, having doubled the amount of software installed over the past year.
The company has announced a new customer, too: Cox Communications (s COX), the large cable company, which deployed Verdiem’s software on 15,000 of its corporate PCs in April, and has found savings of 40 percent, expecting a return on investment for the software within this year. Verdiem says the average return on investment is between eight and nine months, or about $30 to $60 per PC per year, and in June the company launched an energy dashboard to help customers view and verify the savings in real time.
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Verdiem Launches Energy Gauge for Real-Time Savings Feedback

The Prius is famous for demonstrating that consumers will change their behavior if provided with a well-designed consumption software dashboard. (It monitors MPG for the Prius.) Companies across industries are discovering that easy-to-read consumption dashboards are good for education, marketing, and eventually for meeting carbon regulations. The latest is PC-energy management startup Verdiem, which on Monday is releasing an energy dashboard that displays all the cumulative energy and money saved by a company that has installed Verdiem’s energy-efficiency software on its PCs.

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Seattle-based Verdiem has been selling its flagship product — software called Surveyor that centrally monitors and manages the energy consumption of networked business computers — for a while. So we’re surprised that it is just now launching a central dashboard with easy-to-read visuals. But Verdiem tells us that customers were asking for an easy way to track and educate the rest of their company on the money saved and carbon emissions reduced due to the software. The energy dashboard will now be included for all new customers and for existing customers that have a monthly maintenance subscription.
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Verdiem Wants to Help You Cut Home PC Power

Power management tools are the low-hanging fruit when it comes to cutting carbon emissions out of the computing world — 90 percent of energy-saving tools on home PCs are disabled, and almost half of PC users don’t know what this stuff is or how to use it. Verdiem, a Seattle-based startup that has been focused on selling enterprise power management software, has just launched a free, easy-to-use download called Edison that could help out the rest of us. Microsoft is asking Windows users to download it, HP already has a HP-branded version for its businesses users, and the nonprofit Climate Savers Computing Initiative is calling for 10 million downloads in a year. The company is also backed by investors like Kleiner Perkins and the Westly Group. What more convincing do you need? Read the whole story and check out screenshots on Earth2Tech.com.

Verdiem Aims At Home PCs, Launches Edison

Ever since Verdiem, a startup that makes software to manage the power consumption of office PCs, told us it was working on a more consumer-oriented web product, we’ve been waiting to see what it has in the works. Here ’tis: This morning the Seattle, Wash.-based company has launched Edison, a free software download for the rest of us that will manage the power consumption of our home PCs.

The company says Edison is its answer to all those home PCs that don’t have the power settings enabled; Verdiem’s VP Marketing Allison Cornia said on a call this week, 90 percent of the world’s desktop computers have energy management settings disabled. The software itself is slick and easy-to-use, with settings to manage power for work hours and non work hours. The company is even planning to work with Carbon Rally to offer the opportunity to use that power (and carbon) saving data in a social network setting; the idea being you can see how green you are compared to your peer group.
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