E.ON UK rolls out worldwide green IT strategy


E.ON UK rolls out worldwide green IT strategy

John-Paul Kamath

E.ON UK, a power and gas supplier to 4.9 million homes across the country, has cut its electricity bill for 10,000 PCs and monitors by £140,000 a year by automatically switching them off when they are not being used.

The savings follow an 18-month UK roll-out of SMS Companion scheduling software, which automatically powers down IBM and HP PCs and monitors across its UK network.

The UK IT department¹s green strategy will support a business commitment to cut annual non-powerstation carbon emissions by 10%.

"We have been given clear business targets for carbon reduction from the board that they expect the business to make and these have helped. This was not an IT-only initiative ­ it was done in partnership with the business," said John Middleditch, chief technical officer of E.ON UK.

The company has decided to keep its CRT monitors rather than invest in LCD displays. The total carbon emissions for the life of CRT monitors ­ from construction, use and disposal ­ narrows significantly when compared with LCD ones, said Middleditch.
"The life case for scrapping all your CRTs is non-existent or small. So we have decided to keep our CRTs until the end of their natural life before replacing them."

The biggest challenge in reducing the firm's IT energy consumption was moving beyond "low hanging fruit"­ such as powering down PCs ­ to more long-term, ambitious projects, such as reducing staff travel through collaboration technologies, he said.
The UK division will roll out desktop conferencing software between UK sites and provide Cisco TelePresence video conferencing between international locations by the end of June 2008 to cut road and air travel.

A long-term goal for the group is to move to greener datacentres. But IT suppliers would have to prove that not only is their IT equipment greener, but that it has the same level of reliability as existing equipment before switching, said Middleditch.

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