Siemens Offers Whole-Company Green IT Consultancy

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Siemens IT for Sustainability could be what the IT department needs to green the other 90 percent of the company

Siemens has launched a consulting practice in the UK to help IT departments “green” the rest of their companies, using skills from other Siemens subsidiaries in building, heat and lighting. The move comes while Siemens globally is expanding into renewable energy to become a green giant.

“Green IT does not make sense on its own,” said Brian Charlton, product manager at Siemens IT Solutions and Services, at the Green IT conference in London. “It is not a silver bullet, but it is the thing that can bring it all together.” Overall, IT uses around 20 percent of the power consumption of a services company, but only a tiny fraction of that used in manufacturing – but in the form of embedded intelligence, it can contribute massively to savings in the rest of the company.

A massive effort in reducing the energy used by IT might result in only a small return, but building more intelligence into a factory building could generate much bigger benefits, said Charlton, “but the current siloed approach doesn’t allow for that sort of approach.”

In the IT for Sustainability scheme, Siemens consultants will go into user companies, and help them examine and understand their current energy use, apply a “health check”, and identify the sort of easy wins that have a quick payback in reducing energy consumption.

“That’s not just in IT – it could be in heating or lighting,” he said. Siemens also owns the Osram lighting and control business and Siemens Building Technologies, and can involve them easily: “No one else has that in place – if IBM offers something similar, it has to make partnerships,” he said.

The approach could give the IT department ammunition in the Green turf wars in which other departments may have to cede some control to let IT help reduce overall energy consumption. “If we are going to use 30 percent less carbon by 2025, that means some big numbers,” said Charlton.

Siemens is in the process of becoming an environmental juggernaut. At the conference, Siemens’ UK sustainability director, Mike Rolls, claimed the company made €17 billion globally – about a quarter of its sales – with its integrated environmental portfolio.

This week in Berlin, Siemens’ CEO Peter Löscher told the company’s semi-annual press gathering that “no one is better equipped to lead the green revolution than Siemens,” pointing to the company’s renewable energy division which in the first quarter of this year grew 65 percent compared with the first quarter of 2008.

Siemens has orders for 500 offshore wind turbines from Denmark’s Dong Energy, and 88 wind turbines to be installed by Norway’s StatoilHydro and Statkraft utilities at Britain’s Sheringham Shoal offshore wind farm.

The company also bought a stake in Italy’s Archimede Solar Energy and, as it supplies steam turbines for solar thermal plants, it plans to increase the efficiency of solar thermal plants.

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