How does the federal government go about implementing green IT? According to a report out today from the Government Accountability Office, the feds have adopted a number of practices that are useful not just for government IT but all manner of private and public company IT groups as well. These include everything from dedicated funding for green products, to improved employee training and reducing use of paper.
From the GAO report, here's a green IT roadmap:
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1. Utilize new IT tools, such as thin client technology. An alternative to the use of desktops that is gaining attention is the use of thin client technology. The Department of State, by the end of fiscal year 2010, replaced 8,187 standard desktop computers with thin clients, providing annual reported energy savings of 630,399 kilowatt hours and emission savings of 422.7 tons of carbon dioxide, an environmental impact equivalent to planting 1,900 trees or powering 71 households year round.
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2. Implement print management actions beyond duplex printing. Using responses obtained from its 2009 survey of federal employees, an IT provider estimated that the federal government spends about $1.3 billion annually on employee printing, and about one-third of that total, or about $440.4 million per year, is spent on unnecessary printing. The survey indicated that 89 percent of federal employees report that their agencies do not have formal printing policies in place -- for example, according to federal employees, just 20 percent of agencies have restrictions on color printing; only 11 percent of agencies have policies dictating when to print or not to print; and only 5 percent of agencies require personal password codes to print. In the non-federal sector, Hewlett-Packard implemented managed print services that reportedly allowed a customer to reduce the number of printers by 47 percent globally, cut per-page print costs by up to 90 percent and save more than $3 million in two years in the United States alone. In addition, California implemented the Go-Online program as an alternative to mainframe printing, reportedly reducing the number of pages printed by 54 million and reducing costs by $700,000 annually.