This morning, General Electric (GE) announced that it's investing in SynapSense , a startup working to develop hardware and software that monitors data center power usage in order to help companies determine where they can cut data center costs. Other investors in the company include American River Ventures, Robert Bosch Venture Capital, DFJ Frontier, Emerald Technology Ventures, and Nth Power. Existing customers of the SynapSense technology include Facebook, NBC, and Yahoo.

Along with the investment, it's agreed to create a commercial partnership with SynapSense in order to offer customers of its monitoring software and hardware for IT systems a package that includes the SynapSense technology. The wireless monitoring system checks temperature, thermal, and humidity levels in order to allow data centers to determine where they can cut energy use. SynapSense says its AdaptiveControl application can reduce energy costs by up to 35 percent.

This is not the first sign that GE is moving in a green direction. Earlier this month it announced plans for a $200 million fund whose first projects will be smart grid start-ups, a new charger for electric cars, and home energy management technology, while last week it revealed that it will partner with European air agencies to work on reducing the fuel consumption of aircraft. The company has announced that its new focus is “digital energy services, the Smart Grid and ecomagination.” The Ecoimagnation line, created in 2005, sells producsts such as wind turbines, smart appliances and Jenbacher engines.

Data centers consume 1.5 to 2 percent of America's power, but their power usage is increasing. SynapSense CEO Peter Van Deventer commented, "Most data center operators are starting to optimize their existing footprint instead of building new data centers. We’re working with major accounts to drive energy savings in their facilities. Most of them are running out of power.”

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