Study: States and Locals Put Lower Priority on Energy Efficiency in IT Purchasing

State and local governments gave energy efficiency a lower priority in 2009 IT purchasing decisions to avoid the upfront costs, according to a CDW-G study.    

by / September 14, 2009

Economic difficulties have forced state and local governments and other types of organizations to make energy efficiency a lower priority in their IT spending, according to a survey recently conducted by CDW-G, the IT products and services vendor. The document cites the upfront costs associated with energy efficiency transitions as the main reason.

The survey said that real success had occurred in reducing IT energy costs over the past year. But spending priorities have changed. In CDW-G's 2009 Energy Efficient IT Report, the percentage of IT professionals who identified energy efficiency as a "very important consideration when purchasing new equipment" decreased to 26 percent in 2009, an eight point drop from 34 percent in 2008. The survey says organizations ranked cost, reliability and compatibility with existing equipment higher than energy efficiency in 2009. In 2008, survey participants specified cost, reliability and ease of use as concerns that were superior to energy efficiency.

These results didn't surprise Rishi Sood, research vice president for Gartner. "The economic environment and the slowdown attached to it have really reprioritized major initiatives," Sood said.

Many energy efficiency projects pitched by vendors didn't provide savings until down the road, he added.

"The focus on green IT has moved sideways because most of the green IT initiatives that went forward [in the past] tended to dovetail with areas that provided an immediate impact to the bottom line," Sood said.

Missing out on savings was a major concern expressed in the survey. CDW-G estimated that energy efficiency measures can bring $1.5 million in annual savings for an average annual IT budget of $74.6 million and average IT energy costs of $8.9 million. CDW-G sells energy efficient IT equipment.

Sood said he wasn't concerned about the dip in the prioritization of energy efficiency.

"The economic environment is going to come back. The pace by which it comes back will largely determine how fast state and local government enterprises will be able to embrace newer mandates, like energy efficiency," Sood said.


Andy Opsahl

Andy Opsahl is a former writer and features editor for Government Technology magazine.

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