Reports: Green IT could save feds $1B in five years

The federal government could save nearly $1.3 billion in energy costs in the next five years by implementing green information technology in data centers and moving to Energy Star-qualified computers, according to studies sponsored by Hewlett-Packard and Intel.

The savings would be $959 million in the course of five years for energy-efficient data centers and $330 million in four years for environmentally friendly PCs, especially computers that meet the Environmental Protection Agency’s latest Energy Star specifications, the reports released today state.

Such savings would move agencies closer to the goals of energy efficiency and electronic stewardship that President Bush detailed in an executive order one year ago this week. Agencies must also use green electronic products registered under EPA’s Electronic Product Environmental Assessment Tool when purchasing new computers.

The data center savings are equivalent to removing 1.46 million cars from the road for a year, according to the Go Green Power Play study underwritten by the two vendors. HP sponsored the Go Green PC Power Play study, which estimates that energy-efficient computers would conserve 1.3 million barrels of oil in one year.

The government is the largest energy consumer in the country, spending $293 million to power its PCs and $479.5 million annually to power and cool its data centers, the reports state.

The federal government could save an enormous amount of energy through greater efficiency, said Kathleen Hogan, director of EPA’s Climate Protection Partnerships Division. It would also help reduce greenhouse gas emissions.

“Federal IT administrators and the federal workforce can lead the way by making sure that computers power down when not in use,” she said in a statement.

Green IT provides agencies with the ability to reduce energy costs and should be seen as a tool in considering purchases, said Pat Tiernan, HP’s vice president for corporate responsibility.

“Agencies must move beyond viewing energy consumption as a facilities or administrative issue and consider IT energy utilization when making procurement decisions,” Tiernan said.

Agencies can cut power costs by moving to green technologies. To do so, they should:


  • Audit existing data center technology.

  • Baseline current energy consumption.

  • Consolidate servers with virtualization technology.

  • Modernize data center cooling infrastructure through dynamic smart cooling.

  • Select energy efficient IT systems and servers with power distribution for efficiencies.

About the Author

Mary Mosquera is a reporter for Federal Computer Week.

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