IT ignoring real green issues

IT managers are unaware of the impact that technology has on their overall carbon footprint,

Three quarters of IT managers are unaware of the impact that technology has on their overall carbon footprint, according to new research conducted for independent IT consultancy, the DMW Group.

IT is responsible for up to 40 percent of a typical large U.K. enterprise's carbon footprint. But 71 percent of businesses are largely ignoring an area right under their noses.

The data center, says DMW, is highly likely to make the most significant contribution to reducing their carbon footprint.

David Elwen, director at DMW said: "The corporate IT infrastructure requires vast amounts of electricity just to keep the technology ticking over. In order to reduce this giant energy guzzler, businesses need to look at how they can conserve energy used by IT." He said considering more energy efficient ways to build data centers and run the IT equipment within them could be some of the most effective 'green' IT measures.

The findings suggest only 30 percent of U.K. companies have plans to create a new green data center in the next five years, while 83 percent of IT mangers considered IT performance to be important when selecting IT equipment. Despite this, only 23 percent of respondents ranked green as an important factor when selecting IT equipment.

Elwen said IT managers are more interested in performance, than the reduction of carbon emissions. "The good news is that high performance can still be achieved through environmentally friendly means," he said, citing the of Google, which found that by turning down cooling equipment and turning up the ambient temperature on its servers, reduced failure rates and saved energy.

However, 82 percent of businesses did claim to have a generic green policy. But rather than strategic IT measures, these policies focused mainly on reducing energy usage in light bulbs, recycling paper waste and disposing of electrical waste in an environmentally friendly way. And when respondents were asked which company they felt was leading the way in making a significant environmental impact in implementing green policies, respondents failed to pick out a clear leader.

The research, conducted by Vanson Bourne, interviewed 105 IT managers and IT directors in U.K. companies with a revenue exceeding £50 million (US$98 million), across sectors including financial services, manufacturing, retail and transport.

Technology heavyweights -- Google, Microsoft, Sun Microsystems, Dell and Intel -- recently launched a Climate Savers Computing Initiative, which aims to cut the amount of electricity computers consume in half by 2010 using existing power-saving technologies.

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