As going green — and saving green — continues gaining popularity, IT departments are reducing energy costs in their data centers.

The 2012 Energy Efficient IT Report — the fourth annual report of its kind by CDW-G — outlines energy efficiency statistics gathered from business and nonprofits, all levels of government, higher education and K-12 schools. The state and local respondents included 31 governments that have a program to manage data center power demand, of which 81 percent said they’ve reduced their data center energy costs by 1 percent or more.

Of those same respondents, 53 percent said they are experiencing savings with new cooling approaches, and 30 percent said data center purchases made in the last three months were green.

According to the report, the respondents said the top technologies implemented this year were virtualized servers/storage, consolidated servers and Energy Star qualified devices. Of technologies used, the easiest to implement were Energy Star qualified devices, hardware that employs newer, low-power/low-wattage processors, and energy-efficient uninterruptible power supply (UPS).

The percentage of respondents increased from last year on the topic of cloud computing as an energy-efficient approach. In 2011, 58 percent of respondents agreed that cloud computing was an energy efficient up from 47 percent in 2010.

And going green isn’t only becoming popular in government. IT departments at universities and school districts are also making their data centers more energy efficient.

In the last three months, education organizations have bought products and services that are energy efficient, water efficient, bio-based, environmentally preferable or non-ozone depleting. The CDW-G survey showed that 33 percent of higher education purchases were green compared to 30 percent of K-12 purchases.

5 Technologies That Could Save Energy

In higher education, IT professionals listed these top three technologies as most likely to save them money:

1.    Energy-efficient uninterruptible power supplies

2.    Consolidated servers

3.    Virtualized servers/storage

K-12 respondents cited two different technologies, but agreed with higher education respondents that virtualization is important:

1.    New cooling approaches

2.    Virtualized servers/storage

3.    Energy Star devices

Cloud Computing Moves Up

While cloud computing doesn't fall into education's top five technologies, it is gaining steam. Last year's survey showed that 49 percent of higher education IT professionals thought cloud computing could save energy. This year, that number jumped 13 percent to 62.

Since last year's report, 15 percent more IT professionals agree that cloud computing can save energy as they consolidate their data centers. That number now reaches 62 percent.

Tanya Roscorla  |  Managing Editor, CDE

Tanya Roscorla covers education technology in the classroom, behind the scenes and on the legislative agenda. Likes: Experimenting in the kitchen, cooking up cool crafts, reading good books.