3. Consolidate and standardize IT equipment and services. In an earlier 2011 report, the GAO found because procurement at federal departments and agencies is decentralized, the federal government is not fully leveraging its aggregate buying power to obtain the most advantageous terms and conditions for its procurements. The report also stated that applying strategic sourcing best practices throughout the federal procurement system could produce significant savings. Similarly, according to a 2010 report by a private-sector IT council, the federal government's costs of operating IT systems are higher than they need to be, in some cases by more than a factor of two. The report estimated that at least 20 percent to 30 percent of the more than $70 billion spent annually on IT assets could be eliminated by reducing overhead, consolidating data centers, eliminating redundant networks and standardizing applications. Therefore, the report recommended that the federal government consolidate IT infrastructure. In the non-federal sector, the IT council report indicated that IBM had cut its overall IT expenses in half over the past five years through consolidation and standardization. In addition, the National Association of State Chief Information Officers (NASCIO) identified consolidation/optimization, through centralizing or consolidating services, operations, resources, infrastructure and data centers, as its No. 1 priority for 2011.
4. Procure IT equipment that meets the most stringent Electronic Product Environmental Assessment Tool (EPEAT) standard available, if economically practical. EPEAT is a tool to help purchasers in the public and private sectors evaluate, compare and select electronic products based on their environmental attributes. EPEAT-registered products must meet 23 required environmental performance criteria. The products are then rated gold, silver or bronze based on whether the products met 75 percent or greater, 50 percent to 74 percent, or less than 50 percent, respectively, of 28 optional criteria. The three EPEAT level ratings differ to a small, but measurable, extent in their environmental benefits. As the GAO reported in 2009, if federal agencies replaced 500,000 non-EPEAT rated laptop computers and computer monitors with either EPEAT bronze-rated, silver-rated or gold-rated units, the federal government would achieve energy savings equivalent to 182,796 U.S. households, 183,151 households or 183,570 households, respectively. In the non-federal government sector, in March 2009 the city of San Francisco upgraded its environmental requirement for IT purchases to the EPEAT gold level as its procurement baseline whenever possible.
5. Provide appropriate personnel with sufficient green IT training. As part of a 2010 private-sector survey of federal chief information officers, industry officials also offered some observations, including that agencies should work with the Office of Personnel Management to improve the IT workforce. The survey noted that, in doing so, government organizations should use existing best practices, such as those found at the Department of Defense, to train employees and develop new leaders.