Agency IT gets greener with promotional carbon credits

Agencies reduce costs and carbon emissions

Federal government agencies are benefitting from a program promoting green IT that allows agency information technology departments to purchase new data servers and receive offsetting carbon emissions credits.

More than a dozen federal agencies—including the Energy, Justice, and Commerce departments, as well as the Navy—have taken part in the program, which is expected to save the government more than $4.2 million over the next five years and nearly 24,000 metric tons of carbon dioxide (CO2). That’s equivalent to keeping 4,500 vehicles off the road for a year or nearly 55,000 barrels of oil, according to the program’s sponsors, 3PAR.

The calculations include energy savings and carbon offsets purchased by 3PAR, which supplies InServ servers. 3Par’s servers utilize thin provisioning, allowing agencies to use less disk drives as well as save space, energy and money.

For every terabyte of storage purchased, 3PAR purchases one metric ton of CO2 offsets equivalent from TerraPass, effectively creating 100 percent carbon neutral storage. Agencies in the program receive certificates from 3PAR recognizing their reduced energy consumption and CO2 emissions as a result of installing more energy efficient data storage servers.

Many purchases are part of initiatives to implement best practices and energy-efficient equipment and management processes in response to Executive Order 13514 on Federal Sustainability. The order requires federal agencies to use thin technology in their servers.

Data centers consume 1.5 percent of the nation’s power supply, said David Scott, CEO of 3PAR. And according to consultancy IDC, an estimated 50 percent of data center energy costs go to data storage.

About the Author

Kathleen Hickey is a freelance writer for GCN.

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