Survey: Few agencies reap green IT benefits

Although almost all information technology professionals in the federal government say they care about energy-efficient technology, less than half of the organizations polled in  a recent survey have it.

CDW-G conducted the survey in June and today released the 2008 Energy Efficient IT (E2IT) Report, based on the survey. It included 778 IT professionals in the public and private sectors who purchase IT equipment.

Energy efficiency has become a strong IT value, with more than 90 percent of buyers saying they care about it, "There is often much uncertainty about what to do, primarily because good information is severely lacking,” said CDW vice president Mark Gambill. “The first step in reducing energy consumption is to know what you are spending, yet more than 40 percent of technology professionals say they don’t see their organization’s energy bill.”

However, when that power consumption information is available, substantial savings are possible, according to the survey. CDW-G  found that 39 percent of IT professionals whose organizations have energy management initiatives successfully reduced their total IT energy costs by as much as 40 percent annually.

Successful measures the survey respondents reported include:

  • Buying equipment with low-power/low-wattage processors.

  • Buying Energy Star 4.0 qualifying devices.

  • Training employees to shut down their equipment when it is not in use.

  • Implementing server consolidation, optimization and virtualization.

  • Making full use of power management tools incorporated into equipment.

Meanwhile, the survey also revealed some weaknesses in organizations' approaches. Although the vast majority of respondents said they care about energy conservation, only a third ranked it "very important" in their decision-making about new equipment purchases.Among the findings:

  • Thirty-one percent said they choose devices that qualify for the Energy Star 4.0 label, but 62 percent of those who do said they don't take full advantage of the power management tools that earn devices that qualification.

  • Likewise, 32 percent buy load-shedding uninterruptible power supplies for their data centers, but more than half of them don't use the software in the units to monitor power demand.

“There is no silver bullet,” Gambill said. “Organizations that are successful at reducing IT energy costs dig deeper, attacking the problem more consistently across all facets of their IT systems than other organizations do.”

About the Author

Technology journalist Michael Hardy is a former FCW editor.


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