Just 34 per cent of IT executives say energy efficiency is a very important factor when considering equipment purchases, a new survey by IT products and services vendor CDW has found.

IT managers routinely say they care about energy efficiency, and 94 per cent told CDW that they take some routine measures to manage energy consumption and cost of IT equipment. But with just one-third of executives calling energy efficiency a key factor in buying equipment, it's clear that concerns about efficiency are not heavily influencing purchasing decisions, CDW concludes.

"While most organisations care about reducing energy consumption and [could achieve] significant savings, success comes only with sharp, persistent focus on energy-efficiency opportunities throughout the IT organisation," CDW says.

The survey involved 778 IT pros in US organisations, including mid-sized and large businesses, government agencies, and educational institutions.

Critics of IT energy use often point out that few CIOs even see their power bill. The CDW survey finds that executives who are given information about their energy consumption are doing more to reduce power usage.

About 57 per cent of IT executives say at least one person in their IT organisation has some responsibility for energy costs. Of that group, nearly nine out of 10 are developing strategies to manage power demand and energy consumption, whereas just 38 per cent of IT shops that lack control over their power bills are doing so.

Buying efficient equipment alone isn't going to solve an IT shop's energy problems. For example, only 38 percent of IT pros who have purchased Energy Star-qualified computers said they make full use of the power management tools in those PCs.

Most organisations that have formal programs to manage energy consumption have been successful in containing usage, IT executives told CDW. One-quarter of such organisations said energy costs and consumption are still rising, but not as much as it would have if efficiency measures were not taken. Total cost remained flat for another one-quarter of these organisations, and 28 per cent were able to reduce IT energy cost by one to 20 per cent.

Nearly one out of 10 organisations with energy-reduction plans were able to reduce costs by 21 to 40 per cent, and one out of 50 of these organisations were able to reduce total IT energy costs by 41 per cent or more.

Five methods proved vital to those organisations that were able to reduce energy costs: buying low-power computers; buying Energy Star-qualified devices; training employees to shut down equipment; making full use of power-management tools; and consolidating and optimising servers.

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