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December 18, 2008

Economy will not slow Green IT, study shows

Reducing energy costs has become important for organisations

By Jason Stamper

A slowing economy is not expected to slow down corporate green IT initiatives, Forrester has concluded after its fourth survey on the subject in two years.

Organisations are changing the pace of their green IT programmes in response to the toughening economy, but those that are accelerating their plans outnumber those slowing down their activities by a factor of two to one.

Among the 1,000 companies polled for the latest study, a majority were not expecting to make any changes to their plans. Some 10% of those surveyed are reportedly accelerating their green IT initiatives, with only 5% of sites slowing them down, the pollster found.

Reducing energy costs and cutting power consumption of the compute estate has become the most important criteria for organisations looking to implement green IT initiatives.

Virtualisation of data centre servers has been a starting point for most of these initiatives, but research carried out earlier this year by the Climate Group suggests that more than half of IT’s overall power consumption can be traced back to the desktop.

A PC can consume anywhere from 50 to 250 watts of energy, and Forrester reckons that thin client alternatives to standard PC desktop assets can generate energy efficiency savings of up to 25%.

Laptops also use far less energy at around 45 watts, and are way more energy efficient than an average desktop computer.

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Forrester’s study found that around 60% of organisations are now using green criteria in their IT procurement processes. The Green Electronics Council offers the Electronic Products Environmental Assessment Tool (EPEAT) to assist in the purchase of green computing systems. The Council evaluates computing equipment on 28 criteria that measure a product’s power efficiency and sustainability attributes.

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