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Green IT intentions undermined by lack of action

Quoting IT Week

IT vendors' attempts to drive adoption of green and energy efficient technologies are being hampered by customer concerns over cost and a lack of awareness over the environmental footprint of their current systems, according to two new surveys.

The latest survey of over 100 IT managers from trade group the Green Technology Initiative, released today, found that while almost 70 percent of firms either have or are considering implementing a carbon emissions reduction target over half of IT chiefs have no idea about the energy efficiency of their current IT systems. Moreover, almost 80 percent do not link power costs to IT budgets, while less than five percent of respondents claimed their systems currently boast high levels of energy efficiency.

Dan Sutherland, founder and acting chair of the Green Technology Initiative, argued that the lack of visibility over power consumption displayed by many IT chiefs meant they were ill-positioned to instigate effective projects to green their IT department.

"It is a surprise to see how little people know about their IT departments," he said. "Unless you know how much energy you are using and how high your utilization rates are you are not in a good position to manage the infrastructure from a green perspective – or any other perspective for that matter."

Sutherland added that the starting point for any green IT initiative had to be to gain visibility over IT's power consumption to ensure "you are not spending a fortune on the wrong sort of project".

However, he admitted that such a project represents a significant undertaking. "It is a challenge [to measure the carbon footprint of your IT department], particularly in a commercial environment when there are always a lot of other projects going on and businesses are growing," he said. "There are a lot of consultancies out there offering this service, but they tend to be focused on the larger enterprise customers."

To help tackle this problem the Green technology Initiative is currently working on a new set of guidelines advising firms on how best to measure their IT energy footprint which Sutherland said should be available within the next month.

The new report comes just days after a similar survey of 100 IT managers from thin client specialist Neoware found that many IT chiefs believe that the higher cost of green IT infrastructure will hamper adoption of the technologies. With some experts predicting power saving innovations will add around $20 to the price of a PC a quarter of those surveyed said that costs would limit their ability to deploy green technologies.

Meanwhile, 18 percent said they were put off green investments by the difficulties in replacing existing kit and 17 percent cited a lack of green products on the market.

Andrew Gee, sales manager for Northern Europe at Neoware, said that firms interested in green technologies needed to focus on the long term savings they should deliver. "Undeniably, any change to a company’s IT infrastructure will involve some cost but when becoming green, businesses need to look at the longer term savings beyond the initial investment," he said.

Read the original, here.

Published Tuesday, June 26, 2007 5:58 AM by David Marshall
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<June 2007>