IT systems are a major energy consumer within companies and present a significant energy cost. In an era of rising energy costs and fears over energy security, companies are increasingly seeking more efficient ways of managing and controlling these costs as well as reducing data centre demands. Parallel to this is a growing public scrutiny of the environmental impact of IT systems, both in the amount of power they use and the disposal of redundant equipment. Ethical investors have also put pressure on companies to assess the environmental impact of their technologies.
The IT sector’s CO2 emissions account for 1.3% of global emissions. Data centres meanwhile are expected to account for up to 50% of IT budgets for some companies resulting in cost pressures, according to Societe Generale. Overall, such pressures have encouraged companies to place greater importance on the environmental performance and impact of their IT systems and to deliver business advantage.
Green IT makes good business sense resulting in big cost savings for companies reliant on data centres with around every $1 in energy savings driving up to $2-$6 in operational savings. Those companies with green data centres therefore should be a major beneficiary. The key challenge is to develop and implement methodologies to measure quantitative environmental improvements and with such measures in place IT companies can play a crucial role as enablers for other sectors, particularly in the building, logistics, power and transport sectors.