IT Leaders in Britain's Public Sector Pessimistic About Green Tech Goals

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Photo via Johan Larsson via Flickr CC

Ask public sector IT professionals in Britain how they feel about the goals put in place to reach the government's Green ITC strategy - a goal of having a carbon-neutral IT sector by 2012 - and you're going to get a glass-half-empty response. 150 senior public sector IT managers were surveyed by Global Action Plan, and results show that over two thirds are unsure of their ability to reach the goals set forward. And a failure to adopt green strategies in IT may be hindering the adoption of green strategies elsewhere.Business Green reports that Global Action Plan's Trewin Restorick said even the most basic green aspects of the plan aren't being implemented, and that many IT managers still don't know how much energy their department uses. Only two thirds of those surveyed reported even seeing their bills, and less than one quarter had set internal IT targets.

Managing something requires measuring it, and knowing power use is a basic building block for creating action plans for improvement. When IT managers don't know how much energy their equipment is requiring, they can't make informed decisions about how or where to improve, or even gauge if they're improving. What's worse, the goal is to go carbon neutral, but only 13% of those surveyed were able to calculate the carbon footprint of their facilities. More key findings include that "last year, Central Government recorded a 3% increase in carbon emissions from electricity use in its buildings, with ICT identified as one of the likely key drivers in this increase," and "only 16% of respondents are currently sharing knowledge and learning with other public sector organisations in order to achieve their targets."

Troublingly, the majority of changes are happening around things like shutting down PCs at night or printing more efficiently, but not the bigger pieces of the puzzle like data center virtualization or telecommuting.

IT is viewed as a core aspect of the world's hope for lightening our footprints. Even Greenpeace is pushing companies to green up so they can fulfill their front-seat role. However, when IT doesn't make strides forward, it's possible that that means other areas being held back. Restorick also told Business Green that "A failure to accelerate the rollout of green IT initiatives could also result in a drain of taxpayers' money into the private sector through the government's imminent Carbon Reduction Commitment (CRC) carbon cap-and-trade scheme, Restorick warned."

The most worrisome aspect is the foot-dragging. The goals are ultimately achievable, though difficult, and a slow start by IT professionals signals a lack of energy that we hope won't be carried on for long, but will advance towards action as quickly as our technology.

Follow Jaymi on Twitter: @JaymiHeimbuch
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