The green IT stars of 2010

InfoWorld's 2010 Green 15 Awards: Green-tech projects coupled with innovation and collaboration yield bountiful rewards

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Raytheon's companywide green efforts reach Antarctica
Company's sustainable IT programs evolve far beyond the data center and desktop

Defense company Raytheon may well have extended the reach of sustainability efforts further than any other organization on the planet. Among its successful green IT endeavors, the company devised a way to significantly slash fuel waste in the deepest of souths: Antarctica.

This particular project, a joint effort by the company's IT and facilities departments, targeted operations at the United States' McMurdo station in Antarctica. Raytheon created a secure system by which staff could remotely monitor and tune heating systems at the station from offices in Denver. The effort freed up expensive and limited staff time in Antarctica, while reducing fuel consumption by 50,000 gallons alone in 2009, in part by reclaiming some of the waste heat to use as supplement heating in other buildings. The environmental benefits are by no means trivial -- nor are the economic benefits when you consider fuel for the chilly location runs $8 per gallon.

The McMurdo project represents the fruits of Raytheon's ongoing, companywide sustainability efforts, which have blossomed through company leaders' efforts to cultivate a "think green" mentality within the corporate culture -- no small effort considering Raytheon is a worldwide company with 75,000-plus employees. Raytheon has achieved this feat through a number of channels, such as implementing a social networking environment for fostering collaboration on green-focused projects among various teams.

The combined effort of promoting sustainability has helped the company rapidly replicate successful green IT endeavors. "A joint IT and facilities team within our Net Centric Systems (NCS) business ... developed and deployed a desktop power management solution using products from 1E," said Brian J. Moore, Raytheon's Sustainable IT Program lead. "Our social networking structures enabled IT and facilities teams in two of our other businesses to learn about their success and get help in implementing the solution for themselves. Other businesses are now beginning the process as well."

Similarly, the facilities team at one of the business units "have been sharing a process and techniques for identifying and making improvements to data center efficiencies that are low-cost but that can generate significant savings," says Moore. "Examples include using wireless temperature sensors to adjust floor tile openings and blocking air flows between hot and cold aisles."

Raytheon's efforts have helped the organization's sustainable IT efforts evolve beyond simply making IT operations -- such as in the data center, on the desktop, and in print -- greener. That's not to say the IT-focused efforts alone weren't fruitful; the company managed to slash IT energy costs by $17.4 million per year. But beyond simply boosting IT operations' green credentials, the company has empowered IT to find ways to apply technology to manage other business processes and operations, such as the McMurdo Station project or the development of a database to track water usage.

Moore attributes much of Raytheon's sustainability success to the company's investment in social capital. "Our focus on social capital is also enabling IT to be deeply engaged in the company-wide Raytheon Sustainability program. Sustainability is a journey, and the investment we are making in developing social capital well-prepares us to flourish along the way," he said. "Every day we see positive contributions to the company's bottom line, to the environment, and to the work lives of our employees that surprise us. We are proving that connecting the knowledge and passion of folks in various roles across the company can make a real difference."

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