July 08, 2008, 10:57 AM — Excessive hype, over-pricing and a lack of budgetary responsibility for energy bills are all hitting green IT sales, according to one of Europe's biggest surveys on the topic.
Despite the strong public focus on environmental issues, only 16 percent of U.K. respondents said they actively purchased green IT gear, and 60 percent negatively rated their companies' green credentials.
However, at the same time, around half admitted that their companies' energy bills were too high. Across Europe, 44 percent estimated that they spent between 10 percent and 25 percent of their OpEx (operational expenditure) on energy.
The study was commissioned by storage networking supplier Brocade. It asked 8,000 IT directors and board-level decision makers across eight countries for their opinions on environmental concerns, technology buying patterns and expenditure.
Brocade's European VP Ulrich Plechschmidt said he was surprised at the apparent lack of interest in changing IT practices specifically to save energy, for example by buying energy-efficient gear and consolidating their hardware.
"With both environmental and economic pressures on the rise, companies should be pro-actively looking to achieve the best out of their current solutions in terms of both cost savings and efficiencies," he declared. "Reducing the number of physical appliances deployed automatically reduces energy usage, thereby saving money. It's simple maths."
However, the survey's results suggest that, in much of Europe, 'green' is still seen as a diversion from the real business of IT. For example, the 84 percent of U.K. respondents who said they don't actively try to buy green IT gave their reasons as:
-- Can't find the products to fit my need/not fit for purpose - 34 percent
-- Too expensive - 14 percent
-- All marketing hype - 19 percent
-- I don't care (apathy) - 17 percent
It certainly seems that, for many U.K. decision makers, reducing the environmental impact of IT is still 'somebody else's problem'.
That's not so true in Germany, said Plechschmidt - only 30 percent of German IT buyers believe that their companies could do more to improve their environmental credentials, and nearly a quarter of German respondents claimed they educate employees to be energy conscious and buy energy-efficient products.
"However, it is not all doom and gloom," he added. "Almost two-thirds of respondents stated that they are beginning to look at ways of reducing energy output, although that still leaves over a third of European businesses who are not."