Power Considerations, Disposal Options Influencing IT Purchases: Survey

A survey finds that, in addition to buying energy-efficient IT products, more companies are encouraging green behaviors.

Organizations are making a concerted effort to buy IT products that are power consumption-friendly and easy to dispose of, according to research released this week by CompTIA, the nonprofit association for the IT industry. More than three-quarters of organizations surveyed for the organization's Second Annual Green IT Insights and Opportunities study said they factor green into their IT purchase considerations for products such as desktop and laptop computers, printers, monitors, servers, data storage, and other networking equipment.

"In particular they're concerned with factors like power consumption, with two-thirds of companies rating this as a major factor in their IT purchase decisions," said Seth Robinson, director of information technology analysis for CompTIA. Other highly rated green factors impacting purchase decisions, he said, include a product's power management capabilities (63 percent) and ease of disposal/recycling (58 percent).

In addition to buying energy-efficient IT products, more companies are encouraging green behaviors, with 73 percent encouraging nightly computer shutdowns and 68 percent encouraging users to utilize their computers' energy savings and sleep mode settings. The study was based on an online survey of 650 IT and business executives involved in green initiatives or strategies in the United States, United Kingdom and Germany.

Although many companies are encouraging green behaviors, the survey found far fewer are monitoring results. Just 16 percent of respondents in the CompTIA study said they utilize software to monitor and measure energy consumption or similar environmental issues. However, 48 percent indicate they have plans to start using such software.

"Systems administrators can use these software programs to monitor power usage by device over time, allowing policies to be set that reduce energy without disrupting business," said Robinson, adding that even more comprehensive programs to monitor and control lighting, HVAC and other building facilities are available as well. The adoption of new software tools for energy monitoring and reduction has the potential to further expand the roles and responsibilities of internal IT staff and external IT contractors and solution providers, Robinson noted.

"Areas such as lighting and HVAC are typically not a part of the IT infrastructure, but as companies use software to monitor and control their use, IT personnel will be utilized for running the software and connecting the network components," he said. "For organizations to optimize their costs savings and return on investment in green solutions, energy consumption must be a joint effort among IT, operations and finance."

Cost savings top the list of drivers for implementing green initiatives, with 71 percent of organizations in the CompTIA survey identifying it as a significant driver. Reduced energy consumption (70 percent) was a close second. Dollars and cents issues also top the list of challenges organizations face in implementing green IT practices. The survey revealed that 83 percent of organizations cite implementation costs as their top IT challenge. Nearly three-quarters (72 percent) say that difficulty proving the return on investment of green initiatives impedes their efforts to implement such programs.