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Citing Cost, Firms De-emphasize Energy Efficiency in IT Purchases

cdw3Focusing on short-term cost reductions, companies increasingly are overlooking the promise of long-term savings that come with more expensive but more energy efficient computer equipment.

Instead, firms are emphasizing lower cost as a means of realizing short-term benefits to the bottom line, according to the 2009 Energy Efficient IT Report (PDF) from CDW.

After cost, reliability and compatability with existing equipment also rank as high motivators in IT purchase decisions.

In fact, the percentage of IT managers who say energy efficiency is a very important consideration when purchasing new equipment is on the decline, with just 26 percent of IT managers agreeing with that statement, versus 34 percent in 2008.

Yet CDW estimates that companies can save 17 percent in IT energy costs by adopting energy efficiency initiatives.

That would translate to annual savings of $1.5 million a year for companies with an average annual IT budget of $74.6 million and average annual IT energy costs of $8.9 million.

Just 47 percent of organizations have someone in the IT department who receives, reports, authorizes payment or otherwise has responsiblity for amount and cost of energy used in the IT department. That leads to less ownership when it comes to producing energy savings, as the following chart illustrates.

cdw4The report examines where energy efficiency ranks in IT decision-making priorities, and identifies top strategies for IT energy reduction across business, K-12 and higher education, and Federal, state and local government organizations.

Respondents reduced energy costs by focusing on several energy-efficiency measures including buying equipment with low-power/low-wattage processors, using network-based power management tools and software tools within uninterruptible power supplies to monitor power demand and energy use, and monitoring data centers remotely to keep lights off when employees are not on site. They also manage cable placement to reduce demand on cooling systems and implement server and storage virtualization to reduce the number of servers and storage devices drawing power.

The survey also finds that organizations that have increased their IT energy efficiency by asking their IT departments to reduce energy, assigning responsibility of the cost of energy to their IT departments, and giving them incentives (financial, performance or other awards) to improve IT energy efficiency.

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