Got Energy?

Why everyone needs to start taking power more seriously, and what you can do about it.


Energy is a finite resource, which means it’s not someone else’s problem. It’s everyone’s problem.

This isn’t just another doom and gloom prediction. Energy consumption has been rising steadily for decades. Unfortunately, it has been increasing at a faster rate than energy production. A Semiconductor Industry Association report entitled, “Rebooting the IT Revolution: A Call to Action,” says we could run out of energy to power computers by 2040.

So what can we do about it? There are ways to save power significant amounts of energy at the system component and sub-system level. The National Resources Defense Council recently published its report, “Slashing Energy Use in Computers and Monitors While Protecting Our Wallets, Health, and Planet,” which states that keeping computers running takes the equivalent of 30 large power plants. The real problem, according to the report, is that power is wasted when computers sit idle—particularly the ones that are plugged into the wall. The group argues that implementing new standards could save U.S. consumers $3 billion a year.

It’s not just computers, though. All electronics can benefit from better energy management. Just as cars idling in traffic burn fuel, so do electronics. And as more devices are added, particularly those that are always on, the more energy will be wasted.

So where do you stand on power? Semico Research and Sonics are conducting a survey to better understand today’s status quo and tomorrow’s trends for power management best practices among chip design teams in semiconductor and electronic systems companies.

Please weigh in. Click here, or go to to take a short survey. Survey respondent data will be kept strictly confidential. The purpose of this industry survey is to understand how chip designers are managing power consumption and contrast that with expected future best practices. Sonics and Semico Research will publish results on their web sites this fall.