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IT Sector Reduces Energy Costs by $2B, CO2 Emissions by 32 Million Tons

The IT sector has reduced annual CO2 emissions associated with IT equipment by more than 32 million metric tons worldwide since 2007, which translates into more than $2 billion in annual energy savings and taking nine coal-fired power plants offline, according to a study conducted by Natural Logic.

The benchmark study assesses the progress of the Climate Savers Computing Initiative’s (CSCI) goal of reducing annual CO2 emissions from the IT sector by 54 million metric tons by June 2011. The initiative, formed in 2007, is an international coalition led by CSC, Dell, Google Inc., HP, Intel, Microsoft, and the World Wildlife Fund to reduce the environmental impact of new IT equipment through energy efficiency

The study indicates that CSCI is on track to reach its reduction goal by the end of its 2010 fiscal year in June 2011. The group attributes the decrease by 32 million to 36 million metric tons worldwide since 2007 to the adoption of computer power management, new efficiency standards for computing technologies, and the adoption of higher efficiency computing equipment.

According to a 2009 1E study, nearly half of all U.S. employees who use computers at work waste $2.8 billion every year powering 108 million unused PCs.

Evaluating the first three program years of the CSCI initiative, the report takes into account CSCI member company progress on power-management adoption and market data, including shipment and installed base information, PSU efficiency levels, number of units sold worldwide, operating systems in use, market research, and estimates from industry analysts.

CSCI will now leverage the expertise of its founding board of directors with new board members — Cisco, Emerson Network Power, and Juniper Networks, as the organization expands its focus to include commercial and home networking systems and devices.

The organization will begin by setting new energy efficiency criteria for networking technologies, which will be developed by working with Cisco, Emerson Network Power, and Juniper Networks and through other alliances including the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency.

As part of this expansion, commercial and residential routers and switches, commercial WLAN, and security and access devices will be incorporated into the organization’s environmental mission, with the goal of reducing annual CO2 emissions by an additional 38 million metric tons by 2015. The group says this is the equivalent of $5 billion in annual energy cost savings.

According to research from the Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory, the energy used by commercial and residential buildings’ networking systems and devices will increase by roughly 6 percent annually without a focused effort to improve their energy efficiency, says CSCI.

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