Dispatches from OpenWorld: Hello and Welcome to the Future

Hello, and welcome to OpenWorld 2007! 50,000 of Dell & TreeHugger’s newest friends have descended upon San Francisco for four days of information technology, innovation and fun. Among the thousands of people, hundreds of exhibitors and attendees, it’s great to see a green focus from some of the high profile companies that are here pushing technological innovation and newer, better, faster ways of doing things.

There’s a lot to cover here, and we’ll do our best to put a green spin on as much of it as we can. We’ve covered many of the represented companies on TreeHugger before, so it’s a great opportunity to dig a little deeper and get the details about what’s really going on in green technology. Dell, of course, will be in the spotlight, along with other big-time IT names like Intel and Fujitsu. Transportation is also well represented, with the Vectrix electric motorcycle and Subaru at the top of the list. We’ll get to those and more in the coming days; for now, let’s take a quick peek at Dell’s efforts through the eyes of a TreeHugger.

The effort, like thoughtful green actions should be, is multi-disciplinary. Dell has partnered up with the Conservation Fund for the Plant a Tree For Me program, to provide carbon offsets for the company and its customers (carbon wha? Check out TreeHugger’s How to Green Your Carbon Offsets guide to learn more). They’re here supporting Dell and a cool user-generated experiment here in the booth: the “What does green mean to you? We’re listening.” wall, where visitors are encouraged to ponder the above question, grab a colored pencil and add their thoughts to the wall. By the end of the conference, it’ll provide a “finger on the pulse of the IT green movement”-type of zeitgeist; a quick peek into the minds of the tech world at large, when it comes to green. We’ll take a closer look at the wall later.

As for the booth itself, it’s noteworthy to mention that Dell has taken some smart, green steps to make the booths’ footprint small. From the ground up: Forbo marmoleum lines the floor, LEDs (whose electricity, along with the rest of the booth’s load, is being offset) light the wall, that will be taken back and displayed at Dell’s headquarters. The “water wall” (see image below) gives a drink to the real grass that’s below, recycles water, fountain-style, and helps contextualize human impact on our precious (if petering) natural resources. Lastly, but certainly not least (especially for any design fans, like this blogger), two Eames plywood chairs provide a chance to sit (and blog) in the booth. This is worth mentioning not only because it’s cool, but because it helps showcase the fact that there is a better, greener way to do everything, from using your home computer to designing an exhibition booth. This is something that TreeHugger trumpets every day, and it’s great to see that it’s caught on here. We’re looking forward to finding more examples of this ethic over the next few days.

So stay tuned for more green tech, forward-thinking ideas, and real examples of ways to go green, coming soon.

About the Author: Collin Dunn