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1/18/2008
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Going Green Could Save Government $1 Billion In Five Years, Say Reports

The annual savings by the feds using more energy efficient PCs would be equivalent to conserving 1.3 billion barrels of oil, for example.

The federal government could save U.S. tax payers more than $1 billion in energy costs over the next five years by deploying green technologies in data centers and using more energy efficient PCs, says two new studies released Tuesday.

The reports, which include one focused on data centers and the other on PCs and related gear, were underwritten by Hewlett-Packard and Intel.

The data center study, Go Green Power Play, estimates the federal government could save potentially about $192 million annually -- or nearly $960 million over five years -- by deploying "green" technologies, such as virtualization software, server consolidation and dynamic "smart" cooling.

Over ten years, those data center savings potentially could reach about $1.9 billion.

HP and Intel estimate that it currently costs nearly $480 million annually to power federal data centers. Federal data centers currently consume about 1.1 billion kWh of energy per year, says the study. With "greener" data centers, over five years the savings of 9.5 billion kilowatt hours (kWhs) in energy consumption would be equivalent to removing 1.4 million cars from the road.

The second report, Go Green PC Power, estimates the U.S. federal government can potentially save another $82.4 million annually -- or nearly $330 million over four years -- by using more energy efficient PCs, specifically those that meet the Environmental Protection Agency's more stringent Energy Star standards that went into effect last July.

Energy Star 4.0 was the EPA's first major overhaul in its energy efficiency guidelines for PCs, laptops and workstations in more than a decade. The estimated savings compare computers meeting the new Energy Star 4.0 standards versus the older Energy Star 3.0 guidelines.

The study estimates that it costs $293 million annually to power the federal government's older Energy Star 3.0 PC gear.

The study's PC-related cost estimates also reflect the potential savings by the federal agencies if they adhere to a mandate that went into effect a year ago to purchase 95% of electronic products that are registered as meeting "energy efficient" guidelines of EPEAT, or the Electronic Product Environmental Assessment Tool, a web-tool that helps government and private-sector buyers compare the environmental attributes of desktop computers, laptops and monitors.

The annual savings by the feds using more energy efficient PCs would be equivalent to conserving 1.3 billion barrels of oil. Over four years, the report estimates the cost savings would be equivalent 28,537 Americans with Social Security benefits for a year, or more than 989 million meals "to the hungry."

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