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Awareness of green IT benefits is growing: Symantec

serverA new study from Symantec Corp. finds that senior-level IT executives are interested in green IT strategies not just for cost savings, but because they have a growing awareness of the importance of improving their organisations’ environmental standing.

Symantec’s 2009 Green IT Report finds that 97 per cent of respondents say they are at least discussing a green IT strategy, while 45 per cent have already implemented green IT initiatives. They cite key drivers as reducing electricity consumption (90 per cent), reducing cooling costs (87 per cent), and corporate pressure to be “green” (86 per cent). Furthermore, 83 per cent of respondents are now responsible or cross-charged for the electricity consumed in the data centre — bringing visibility and accountability to bear on the ultimate consumer of these resources.

IT executives also reported a significant increase in green IT budgets. Seventy-three per cent said they expected an increase in green IT budgets over the next 12 months, with 19 per cent anticipating budget increases of more than 10 per cent. The typical respondent reported spending $21 million to $27 million on data centre electricity.

At the same time, IT decision-makers say they are willing to pay a premium for energy-efficient products. Two-thirds of respondents said they would pay at least 10 per cent more, while 41 per cent are willing to pay at least 20 per cent more. Additionally, 89 per cent of respondents said IT product efficiency is either important or very important.

Andrew Harrison, a green IT expert at Symantec, notes that interest in energy-efficient technology even though many data centre professionals aren’t yet looking ahead to the Government’s Carbon Reduction Commitment (CRC) scheme, which comes into effect in April 2010.

“At this moment there still seems to be fairly low levels of awareness of this carbon reduction commitment and what it means for businesses — not only in terms of IT but across all departments,” Harrison said. “Having said this, a lot of change and action will be driven from within the IT department as they have a big role to play in reducing their organisation’s carbon footprint.”

Harrison continued, “While they can therefore be considered as part of the “problem,” they are also very much part of the solution and some IT organisations are taking a definite lead, following EU advice and looking at ways in which they can be part of a wider solution for organisations. Most of these organisations have adopted government’s initiatives and are taking steps to implement these over the next few months.”

Rather than discouraging investments in green IT, the current recession is actually a motivator, the Symantec study finds.

“The reasons for this is straightforward — green IT is about reducing waste,” Harrison said. “Wasting energy, wasting space and wasting materials, for example, are all costing companies money and therefore, by doing away with this waste, companies are actually saving. Organisations are now starting to realise the benefits that green IT can make to their bottom line and, by adopting green IT strategies, they can reduce power consumption and other unnecessary spending, while also achieving the benefits of being seen as “green.”

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