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Take a Strategic Approach to Maximize the Benefits of Green IT

An ad hoc approach to Green IT is leaving money on the table.

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  • Chris Holmes, Director of Business & Technology Services, Allens Arthur Robinson
  • Helen Hill-Schoenherr, ITS Business Planner, City of Ottawa
  • Harry Turnbull, Executive Director of IT, City of Windsor
  • Rob Di Stefano, IT Systems Director, Earth Rangers
  • Mike Morley, Enterprise Architect, Matrix Solutions
  • Larry Chu, CTO, RS Investments
  • Brian Rae, Director, Virtuous Networking

Your Challenge

  • New sources of energy cannot be brought online fast enough, leading to price volatility and rolling brownouts that have made energy efficiency a critical business objective.
  • Organizations are looking for creative strategies to cut costs and be more efficient as IT budgets shrink, and they have not fully leveraged the potential of Green IT to meet both needs.
  • Others have already implemented the easy green initiatives and want to learn what else they can do to “save green by going green.”

Our Advice

Critical Insight

  • Organizations taking an ad-hoc approach have seen their Green IT initiatives stall as a result of the recession.
  • Forward-thinking organizations are using Green IT as a vehicle to save money and do more with less, enabling them to meet the challenges of tight budgets and understaffing.
  • Initiatives such as server virtualization that are performed for non-green reasons but also save energy are often recast as Green IT projects to meet political demands. However, such practice is not taking full advantage of Green IT opportunities.

Impact and Result

  • Data center energy costs are typically hidden within the overall facility costs, so IT leaders don’t know how much they are actually paying for IT energy consumption. Organizations need to understand the importance of measuring energy and how to get started.
  • The recession has increased the burden of proof required to justify Green IT projects. However, organizations with a strong commitment to sustainability, which includes clear environmental goals and tracking energy costs, have the leadership and data necessary to continue to prove the business case for Green IT initiatives. They will reap the cost benefits of those initiatives.
  • Gaining cross-department cooperation and staff buy-in is also critical as many initiatives such as printer consolidation and PC power management can fail if end users don’t cooperate.

Research & Tools

1. Take a strategic approach to Green IT.

Identify Green IT opportunities to save money and get buy-in from executives and end users.

2. Understand the impact of energy efficiency on data center costs.

Initiate or optimize a Green IT program.

3. Calculate and track energy use and carbon emissions.

Establish a benchmark and track changes year-over-year to verify savings and refine the strategy as needed.

4. Conduct an annual review of the organization's sustainability goals and strategy.

Identify successes and challenges, refining goals and strategy accordingly, and keep staff engaged in the process.

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Search Code: 38764
Published: January 24, 2011
Last Revised: January 24, 2011