According to the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), cash-strapped state and local governments spend more than $10 billion per year on energy to provide public services and meet constituent needs. To help lower these costs and reduce environmental impact, the EPA recommends governments consider implementing energy efficient policies. I would suggest that this advice is applicable across all enterprises.
Government Technology, a division of e.Republic recently conducted a survey of their subscriber base to assess government adoption of environmental policies in IT operations. Overall, results indicated that agencies are either not taking advantage of many energy-efficient policies, or they are unaware if such a policy exists. Forty-three percent of respondents did not know if their agency had conducted an environmental review of IT operations and 66 percent weren’t sure how much of their agency’s budget is allocated to support energy-efficient, green IT practices.
The EPA also recommends that governments implement energy-efficiency purchasing, including products with ENERGY STAR® labels. These products can save energy and money without sacrificing performance. However, results of the Government Technology survey indicate that 22 percent of respondents’ agencies don’t use eco labels to make decisions on IT purchases and 44 percent of respondents don’t know if their agencies consider eco labels in IT purchasing.
When it comes to challenges around environmental practices, a significant number of agencies (49 percent) need help in reducing the amount of paper they waste and electronically managing their documents. The majority of respondents (68 percent) indicated that their employees needed more awareness, training and education around environmental practices.
These numbers show that state and local governments are interested in adopting environmental initiatives and purchasing energy-efficient equipment, but many are not aware of current agency policies and practices in this area. Based on my own interactions across corporate as well as government IT, I believe that there is widespread interest in green IT, but gaps in knowledge about how to reduce an organizations carbon footprint in ways that don’t create incremental costs.
On Thursday, June 21 Government Technology is offering a complimentary webinar (sponsored by HP) to share the detailed results of their Green IT survey, and also share tools and strategies to help organizations become more fiscally and environmentally sustainable at the same time. Register here for the event. The webinar will be available for on-demand viewing after the live event as well.