Government IT managers leading in Green ICT

Private industry driven by cost, government by more altruistic factors

Australian Government agencies are generally more advanced in Green ICT than their private industry counterparts, a Fujitsu Australia- and World Wildlife Fund-commissioned report has found.

The Green ICT: The State of the Nation report also found that government departments tended to manage substantially issues in the enterprise, data centre and end-user IT areas - such as through greater use of thin clients and powering down PCs when not in use - than the private sector.

“Government is reasonably advanced in its use of green data centre technologies such as server virtualisation and advanced cooling capabilities, and in practices like hot aisle/cold aisle layouts,” the report reads. “The main reason the government is so far ahead of private industry in this area is the generally larger size of government instrumentalities, which means they have larger data centres and more areas where they can bring Green ICT technologies and techniques to bear.”

Government also led over private industry when it came to Green ICT measurement and monitoring, and the usage of ICT as a low-carbon enabler, the report found.

Private sector organisations, however, tended to perform better in ICT equipment lifecycle management issues than the government sector.

“The [report’s] results clearly show the stronger linkage in government between Green ICT and the broader issues of reducing the carbon footprint of the whole organisation,” the report reads. “Private industry is less likely to be driven by altruistic factors such as an awareness of ICTs role in reducing carbon emissions, and slightly more likely to be driven by a desire to reduce costs."

Australian Government ICT managers are personally more concerned about climate change than the Australian population generally, and also more concerned than ICT managers in other sectors, the report also found.

“The higher level of concern expressed by ICT managers, and by government ICT managers in particular, is most probably a function of this group being better educated, and in the case of government ICT managers, of the higher profile of green issues within government in recent times, and particularly since the release of the Gershon Report,” the report reads.

The most common ICT technology for saving energy saving reasons within government departments was the replacement of CRT monitors with flat screens with more than 90 per cent of agencies having done so, the report found. Server virtualisation had also emerged as a popular energy saving technology.

The most popular technique for saving energy was to switch off data centre lights when not in use. Other common practices included the implementation of power saving techniques at the client level and increased use of teleconferencing and video conferencing.

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