From 2010, Legislation, Not Cost, Will Drive Green IT


Environmental laws will replace cost cutting as the main motivation for developing energy efficient data centres, says analyst Gartner

IT analyst Gartner believes that the financial downturn is driving the current interest in energy efficient data centres – but from next year environmental legislation will be the key catalyst for greener computing.

In a statement released this week, Gartner managing vice president Matthew Boon said that the financial crisis had pushed energy efficiency higher up the priority list for data centre planning. “Green IT initiatives in the data centre have moved beyond a tick in the box, to being at the centre of IT investments,” he said.

But the analyst added that the motivation for green IT planning will shift in 2010 as cost savings become less of a pressure and government legislation such as the CRC in the UK begin to bite.

“Reducing costs remains the primary rationale for greening the data centre in 2009. However 2010 and beyond will see corporate social responsibility and government legislation increasingly driving green IT projects and associated investment,” he said.

The UK Carbon Reduction Commitment (CRC) will affect about 5000 large companies, and will come into force in 2010. The legislation has been described as the the world’s first legally binding carbon budget, which aims at achieving an 80 percent reduction of carbon emissions by 2050.

Tesco announced this week that it wil use CA’s ecoSoftware to manage and reduce its carbon emissions worldwide, and meet the UK’s requirements for carbon accounting under CRC.

A recent Gartner survey of large businesses around the world found that most green IT projects were not being suspended due to the downturn. The analyst referred to the example of Australia where 51 percent of those surveyed expected their green IT investments to remain the same, with another 38 percent expecting increased investment in this area during 2009.

The analyst also announced that it has set up its first sustainable data centre award programme. The Gartner Green Data Centre Excellence Award will be presented at the Gartner Infrastructure Operations and Data Centre Summit in Sydney in March 2010.

Earlier this year, UK start-up company Romonet announced it had developed an open source Java-based simulator tool which will be deployed internally by Fujitsu to simulate the energy usage in its data centres.


Microsoft has also announced that it is building a new energy efficient computing lab away from its main Redmond campus which should help the IT giant cut its carbon emissions but has also meant a shift in how software development teams work.