Research Calls For End To Green IT Apathy
New research from nlyte Software is calling for an end to apathy towards Green IT among businesses and consumers
Data centre performance specialist nlyte Software is calling for an end to the apathy that both consumers and businesses display towards Green IT.
The company has just published new research that reveals a startling lack of awareness across both businesses and consumers as to the data centre’s growing carbon footprint – particularly in relation to consumers’ regular use of online services, such as Facebook and Amazon.
The finding comes from a survey of 100 CIOs and data centre managers at UK enterprises in conjunction with Vanson Bourne (October 2010), as well as 1,000 UK consumers with TNS (November 2010).
The consumer survey revealed that one quarter (25 percent) of consumers claim to understand the environmental impact of using online services such as free email, social networking sites and online shopping. However more than three quarters (77 percent) said they would use them less if they were forced to pay. This, nlyte feels, indicates “an astonishing lack of accountability when it comes to the UK’s carbon footprint.”
The consumer survey also revealed that just a fraction of 16-24 year olds would consider paying for the use of online services, with more than three quarters of all consumers surveyed believing that it is businesses’ responsibility to foot the bill.
This attitute echos previous research in July, when KPMG’s annual global ‘Consumers and Convergence’ survey found that UK consumers are far less willing to pay for digital content than their global counterparts.
And most people it seems have no clue where the data from social networking and online shopping is stored, with just 17 percent claiming to know, whereas 83 percent had no idea. 27 percent said they were aware of the environmental impact of data centres, but 73 percent were not. And most people 67 percent) were unaware that the government legislation is coming to force companies to pay for their carbon emissions.
Complacent DC Managers?
Meanwhile the survey of data centre managers revealed that more than half (62 percent) accuse their customers of not knowing the environmental impact of using online services such as Amazon and Facebook.
This is despite the fact that more than half (53 percent) of data centre managers don’t even know the impact of their own data centres.
Most data centre managers admitted that the arrival of CRC would influence them to re-evaluate the environmental policy for their data centres. And most admitted they could pass on this cost to the customer.
“In the face of strict ‘Green’ government regulations, businesses still do not grasp the importance of accurately measuring their data centre carbon footprint, with more than one third (36 percent) of CIOs & data centre managers relying on erroneous energy bills to provide these numbers,” said the company.
In September Gartner warned for example that energy related costs now make up 12 percent of data centre expenditure, and warned that this will only get worse.
nlyte Software feels that, on the whole, its results show that businesses are still struggling to get to grips with ‘green’ regulations and how these changes will affect their customers, and that consumers are apparently oblivious to the environmental impact of their online habits.
“We are talking to a lot of senior data centre managers but are finding that they are not very interested and not very aware of measuring their power consumption,” said Marina Stedman (left), EMEA director of marketing at nlyte, speaking to eWEEK Europe UK.
“We also found that customers are pushing this off to outsourcing companies, but they also now have same problem,” said Rob Neave, co-founder and VP of IT sustainability at nlyte.
Neave explained how traditionally, the responsibility for the energy bill in the data centre has been managed by facilities, and not the IT department. But facilities have no control over IT growth rates and no visibility into the IT side. However this is slowly starting to change.
“36 percent of data centres are still using their electricity bills to measure their carbon footprint,” said Stedman. She pointed out however that energy consumption is now getting greater awareness, with the government introducing energy tracking devices (and smart meters).
“But we are nowadays creating more carbon using Facebook and online shopping, which is mostly invisible to us (i.e the end user),” said Stedman.
She also said that one of the findings that surprised them was the fact that the younger generation were not aware, or were less aware, and less willing to pay for the carbon footprint for such technologies.
“You would think it would be other way round because it is their future we are talking about, so that was disappointing,” she said. “But the good thing is that there is more awareness and people are talking about it more.”