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Green IT strategies stifled by inertia

Energy efficiency is still low on agenda for some businesses, with many failing to monitor IT power use, according to IBM research.

Steve Ranger UK editor-in-chief, TechRepublic and ZDNet
Steve Ranger is the UK editor-in-chief of ZDNet and TechRepublic. An award-winning journalist, Steve writes about the intersection of technology, business and culture, and regularly appears on TV and radio discussing tech issues. Previously he was the editor of silicon.com.
Steve Ranger
2 min read
Almost half of IT executives--42 percent--admit their company does not monitor IT-related energy spending.

A further 9 percent don't know if their company has such a monitoring program in place, and of those that do monitor it, a quarter have seen their energy consumption increase over the past two years.

The figures come from IBM-sponsored research, which claimed that while green issues might have a high profile within companies, few businesses have anything close to a proper strategy for dealing with it from an IT perspective.

But the research warned that rising energy costs and power-hungry technology mean these IT issues will continue to climb the corporate agenda. In the U.S., for example, servers and data centers accounted for 1.5 percent of the country's total electricity consumption in 2006, according to the Environmental Protection Agency.

More than half of executives polled said their company does not measure the environmental impact of its IT systems and policies, and just one-third said they do. While two-thirds said their organization has a board-level executive responsible for energy and the environment, only 45 percent of businesses have a program in place to reduce their carbon footprint. And the majority of those that have a strategy don't have any specific targets for it.

Reliability, price and after-sales support are still the biggest factors when making IT purchases, the research found, with only 12 percent of 213 chief information officer respondents saying the energy efficiency of IT equipment is a critical purchasing criterion.

Dell recently committed to making its worldwide operations carbon-neutral. This will involve energy efficiency, using renewable power and offsetting the remaining impacts.

It said the plan involves emissions created by electricity use and facility heating and cooling. The company will also offset the emissions impact of employee business travel.

Steve Ranger of Silicon.com reported from London.