BT is aiming to reduce the power consumption of its 74 datacentres worldwide as a key part of meeting a company objective of reducing carbon emissions by 80% by 2020.
Dave Needham, BT's director of datacentre strategy, said the company would develop its blueprint of an energy-efficient datacentre by 2009 and then use this to roll out a set of green IT polices within the company.
"I do not think BT can achieve these savings without having this radical datacentre review. To meet the target, we have to be more radical in what the design of our datacentres look like over time," said Needham.
The blueprint will define how BT will retrofit its existing datacentres to be more energy efficient by virtualising 20 physical servers on to one virtual machine, for example.
The blueprint will set criteria that suppliers of datacentre space and equipment to BT would have to adhere to, and will govern how new datacentres should be built.
This includes using wind farms as the sole source power for certain datacentres and using natural fresh air cooling systems rather than fan-powered ones.
The blueprint will also help BT to decide which datacentres to close down.
"We have got to close down some of our energy inefficient sites. Some of them are 25 years old and were built for mainframe and tape libraries, which cannot use modern cooling techniques."
BT uses 40% of its datacentres to deliver processing power for its own internal IT and the remainder for delivering outsourcing contracts, which includes the NHS.
BT plans to open four new datacentres in Asia Pacific, two in Europe and two in the North America, and the blueprint would commit the company to a specific design.
Needham said that datacentres were large users of energy within BT. BT uses 0.7% of all electricity generated in the UK and its datacentres account for 25% to 35% of this figure, he said.