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Common goals
Getting the IT and facilities departments to converge on common goals for energy management and IT operations service levels is a cost-free way to get started on green initiatives, says SNIA's Adams. Simple things, like removing "dead or unused" cables under raised floors to allow better air flow, can also be done for free (see "Penny-pinching power-saving tips," below).

Olathe, KS, the county seat of Johnson County, has five different committees dedicated to looking at the county's carbon footprint. For the IT team, a VMware project with 11 hosts and 110 virtual servers was a strong start toward a green future, says Jack Clegg, director of IT services for Johnson County Government. Most recently, a $10,000 desktop project scored green points for Clegg's team, he says. Still, says Clegg, there were initial challenges in measuring their ROI.

"We had a pilot program last year and deployed an agent on 100 desktops to measure the power use at one of our county mental health facilities," he explains. The System Center Configuration Manager (developed by SCCM Expert, a Microsoft partner) for desktop computers forces them to hibernate overnight, but then a heat wave swept through the county and power consumption spiked, making it difficult to determine overall savings by comparing monthly utility bills.

However, says Clegg, the SCCM should save the

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county $40,000 a year, according to a metrics chart provided by Energy Star, a joint program of the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency and the U.S. Department of Energy. Energy Star metrics helped convince Clegg to buy the agent. "If you have a desktop that's computing--actually working--that's 188 watts while it's processing," says Clegg. "If that desktop rests, that's 144 watts." When he pushes the SCCM product out, he believes the desktop will draw 8.9 watts.

Penny-pinching power-saving tips
Here are some quick and easy tips to save money.
  • Close curtains and blinds

  • Turn off computer monitors

  • Ask your utility to conduct an energy assessment

  • Stop overprovisioning volumes

  • Consolidate data onto larger drives

  • Delete stale folders and test copies

  • Remove unused cables under raised floors for better air flow

  • Set common goals with your facilities manager

  • Apply for energy rebates from utility providers

This was first published in October 2008

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