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9/8/2009
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IT Energy Efficiency Slips In Priority

Recessionary pressures are causing many to trim up-front costs at the expense of longer-term energy savings.

Large IT organizations are gradually turning to energy-saving measures to save money, but a sizeable percentage of IT shops still aren't taking advantage of many ways to cut their energy costs, according to a survey released Tuesday by CDW.

In its 2009 Energy Efficient IT Report, CDW found that just 26% of the IT execs with procurement responsibility said energy efficiency is very important to them when purchasing new equipment. That percentage was down from 34% in the previous year, indicating there are recessionary pressures to trim up-front costs at the expense of longer-term savings.

On the positive side, 52% of the IT professionals who have energy management plans in place have successfully reduced their companies' total IT energy costs. This represents an increase over the 39% reporting savings in last year's survey.

And there's still room for improvement: the respondents estimated they could reduce their IT energy bill by 17% if they implemented all available energy-saving measures.

"IT executives appear to be caught between the proverbial rock and a hard place," said CDW VP Mark Gambill in a statement. "Under extreme budget pressure in a recessionary economy, their No. 1 IT purchasing concern is the current cost of equipment and services, which can put a damper on efforts toward lowering total cost of operations."

He continued, "While IT executives are trying to do the right thing -- buy the best technology with the right capabilities at the best price -- some may sacrifice greater long-term savings from reduced energy use by downgrading the importance of energy efficiency in the purchase equation."

An important factor in holding energy costs in reign was reported by respondents who followed Energy Star standards, often involving servers in data centers. In fact, more than 90% of IT decision makers said their next server purchase is likely to be one with Energy Star qualifications. Another key factor was sharing responsibility for energy savings between corporate management and IT managers.

The survey participants estimated their IT departments could reduce energy costs by slightly more than $900,000 against the average reported business IT budget of $40.6 million.


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