Green IT Appetite Is Growing

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Environmental responsibility is driving growing green IT spending, not cost savings, a survey says.

A new global study has found not only are green IT budgets are rising, but environmentally responsible IT procurement is becoming essential practice – with companies prepared to pay more upfront for energy efficient systems.

Symantec’s 2009 Green IT survey revealed 83 per cent of respondents were currently creating – or already have – a green IT strategy, with only six per cent of those surveyed saying they had no plans to introduce such a strategy.

The survey polled over 1,000 enterprise IT executives from across the world and also found 83 per cent were increasingly justifying more energy efficient IT solutions with more than just cost and IT efficiency benefits.

Reduced energy consumption was cited as a key driver by 85 per cent, while 82 per cent highlighted reduced cooling costs specifically. Significantly, 82 per cent said corporate pressure to be “green” had affected the way they procure IT.

But most surprising of all, given the current economic outlook, over two thirds (68 per cent) expected an increase in green IT budgets over the next 12 months, while 19 per cent expected increases of more than 10 per cent.

And the IT department seemed willing to pay a premium for more energy efficient products, as over half (57 per cent) said they would pay at least 10 per cent more, while 40 per cent were willing to pay at least 20 per cent more.

A further 91 per cent thought IT should play an important role in environmentally responsible efforts and 82 per cent had a corporate green advocate, where nearly one third focused exclusively on IT initiatives.

Replacing old equipment was the most popular strategy, with 93 per cent reporting new energy efficient equipment as part of their strategy, followed by monitoring power consumption (92 per cent), server virtualisation (93 per cent), and server consolidation (95 per cent).

And nearly half (49 per cent) also said they saw software-as-a-service offerings as ‘green’ solutions, tallying with the recent assessment of Gartner analyst Simon Mingay, who urged businesses to look beyond the cost efficiency benefits of more energy efficient IT.

The study included respondents in the North and South America, Asia Pacific France, Italy and the UK.