Along with handing out rebate checks,
the utility tries to make the financial
picture clearer and more viable for companies looking to make their IT more eco-friendly. That covers everything from
measuring power usage to identifying
areas for improvement.
“Then the IT team can take that
back to their boss to show them the
results,” Mr. Bramfitt says.
PG&E isn’t alone. Many utility
companies are implementing rebates
and incentives for green IT projects
every day, although digging them out
often takes a little research and initiative. And, here, too, taking the team
approach can pay off.
“IT folks are not always as aware of
these programs as the facilities teams
are,” he says.
That lack of awareness means there
are still countless ways for companies
to reduce their IT energy usage and
extend the life of data centers, says Ms.
Duarte. In Brazil alone, she says, the
server virtualization market will grow
30 percent annually through 2013.
“This is still a new concept in Brazil,
where there are a lot of opportunities
to decrease costs.”
And the payoff is significant. She says
she has worked with companies on virtualization projects that sliced the number
of servers by as much as 50 percent.
“Server virtualization helps with
workloads,” she explains. “Instead of
using servers based on peak usage, you
can just choose when to use the server for
a specific workload.”
The challenge with getting more
companies to go in this direction is
education. Many IT departments
simply don’t realize the opportunities
they have to cut costs or know where
“There is no one-size-fits-all green IT
project,” Ms. Duarte says. “Every
company and every department has
Determining those needs begins with
a review of energy usage in the existing
center and a detailed evaluation of all of
the applications the company or unit uses.
Armed with that information, project
leaders can develop a plan on how all that
equipment can be managed in a way to
“Every project needs to be evaluated in
terms of customer infrastructure capacity,” Ms. Duarte says. For example, if
you have a server dedicated to running payment data, but it only runs one
week out of the month, that’s a huge
MAKING TIME FOR GREEN
Even after companies figure out what
needs to be done, busy IT teams may not
be thrilled about adding another task to
their already crowded plates.
“IT folks are overwhelmed. To add
efficiency projects when they are trying
to implement new IT initiatives is
tough,” says Mr. Bramfitt. “Everyone
Virtualization projects need to be conducted in conjunction with every other IT
initiative and they can’t interfere with day-to-day operations.
Still, making the effort to go virtual
can save the IT team a lot of time and
pain by extending the life of a data center.
“If you are planning to double your
capacity in five years, you need space
and a plan to accommodate that
expansion or you literally won’t be able
to plug anything more in,” Mr.
Bramfitt says. “Virtualization directly
impacts the total cost of ownership
and can extend the life of a data center
by a couple of years. That buys a lot
That alone can be enough incentive,
but there are plenty of other reasons
sustainable IT can be a smart move.
“The reason companies pursue green
IT initiatives is that they recognize the
environmental benefits, the cost benefits and the performance benefits all go
together,” says Mr. Mines. “Regardless
of which you are trying to achieve, you
get a three-for-one payoff across the
organization with these projects—and
that’s a powerful incentive.” PM