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Gartner Says More Than 30 Percent of ICT Energy Use is Generated by PCs and Associated Peripherals


Gartner Outlines Seven Steps for ’Greening’ PCs

STAMFORD, Conn., PCs and associated peripherals contribute approximately 31 percent of worldwide information and communication technology (ICT) energy use, and many companies would like to pare this down, but don’t know where to start, according to Gartner Inc.

“Enterprises can no longer view programs that improve environmental performance across the PC fleet as optional,” said Stephen Kleynhans, research vice president at Gartner. “Organizations increasingly need to establish a plan that contributes to an overall corporate environmental strategy, without interrupting end users’ operations.”

“Basic power management features are available for free on most PCs and in client operating systems. PC configuration management suites increasingly include power management capabilities, while third-party power management point solutions can provide further capabilities,” said Federica Troni, principal research analyst at Gartner.

Gartner has identified seven key steps of a program to improve environmental performance throughout the PC life cycle.

Step 1 — Survey Your Environment
Understanding current energy use is crucial in assessing progress and determining the appropriate metrics, but it can prove challenging as few companies are able to track office facilities’ electricity use. Gartner advises against relying on vendor-provided figures for PC hardware draw and instead advocates the use of a simple power meter. Power meters provide a basic understanding of how much it costs to power PCs and the savings that organizations can accrue if they started managing their power states.

Step 2 — Create a Policy
Gartner recommends that a policy document start with a statement of enterprise intentions and link it to a set of goals and key performance indicators (KPIs), such as increased energy efficiency, highest vendor environmental standards, and the exclusion of specific toxins by a given date. As with other corporate responsibility programs, the success of environmental programs are primarily affected by users and their behavior. Success for a user policy is often a question of balance as being too aggressive can negatively impact the users’ perceptions

Step 3 — Set Realistic Goals for Energy Efficiency and Waste Management
Companies often set unrealistic goals for PC energy reduction. A blanket goal of “50 percent reduction” sounds good but may be unachievable because different parts of an organization will have different starting points and will be able to implement different practices. It is important to define localized goals for specific target user groups or business units, which contribute to the wider corporate agenda.

Step 4 — Budget for Tools to Reinforce the Policy
Free tools to manage power settings are available but may not always be effective in all cases. Power management tools can support the enforcement of policies on energy use and reduce energy consumption without compromising security and desktop support. Although power management tools are relatively inexpensive, and often fully recover their costs in energy savings, they should still be budgeted for.

Step 5 — Establish Reporting and Auditing Mechanisms
Many companies have been disappointed by a lack of impact on their monthly power bills directly attributable to a PC power efficiency program. However, even when power savings are negligible, the ability to report on emission reductions will become increasingly important. Gartner recommends that enterprises purchase a power auditing program, which is typically included as part of a power management tools package.

Step 6 — The Right PC for the Right User
Different PCs have very different power consumption levels and equipping users’ systems with the right configuration and capacity can be an important step in reducing electrical usage. Although newer PCs and monitors are becoming increasingly efficient, companies should not use power savings as an excuse to replace systems earlier, but should ensure that when systems are replaced, power management features are implemented as part of the deployment process.

Step 7 — Disposal
PC disposal is probably the toughest issue to deal with because it can involve additional expense, particularly in the current economic downturn, when markets for recycled materials have crashed. Enterprises should carefully balance their environmental principles with the potential costs.

Additional information is available in the Gartner report “Seven Steps for Greening PCs.” The report is on Gartner’s Web site at

In addition, Gartner analysts can also comment on general green IT issues in light of Earth Day on April 22 2009.

Gartner, Inc. (NYSE: IT) is the world’s leading information technology research and advisory company. Gartner delivers the technology-related insight necessary for its clients to make the right decisions, every day. From CIOs and senior IT leaders in corporations and government agencies, to business leaders in high-tech and telecom enterprises and professional services firms, to technology investors, Gartner is the indispensable partner to 60,000 clients in 10,000 distinct organizations. Through the resources of Gartner Research, Gartner Consulting and Gartner Events, Gartner works with every client to research, analyze and interpret the business of IT within the context of their individual role. Founded in 1979, Gartner is headquartered in Stamford, Connecticut, U.S.A., and has 4,000 associates, including 1,200 research analysts and consultants in 80 countries. For more information, visit


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