Central government departments will be carbon neutral by 2012 as the government promises to reduce energy consumption and offset the remaining emissions.
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The government also called on private companies and individuals to follow its example set in its Greening Government ICT strategy announced today.
Government CIO John Suffolk said going green will pay for itself. The strategy outlines simple steps that businesses and government departments can take.
"IT is not a cost issue. It does pay for itself because when you turn something off and reuse technology that is a cost saving," he said.
The government has committed departments to being carbon neutral throughout the entire lifetime of IT, including manufacture and disposal, by 2020.
Central government departments are being advised to take steps such as turning computers off after work, re-using IT equipment and cutting power consumption in datacentres.
The government said just turning off computers outside work time will reduce CO2 emissions, every year, by the same amount as if you took 40,000 cars off the road.
The plans also include using low power CPUs in equipment, reducing the number of printers, using thin client technology and using virtualisation in datacentres.
Cabinet Office minister Tom Watson said, "It is not just about the government. I hope the steps we are taking today will be picked up by private companies and individuals."
IT suppliers association Intellect will support the government with its plan.
"Intellect's public sector council has agreed to form a dedicated task group to focus on the issue," it said.