Three quarters of IT managers are unaware of the impact that technology has on their overall carbon footprint, according to new research conducted for independent IT consultancy, the DMW Group.

With IT responsible for up to 40% of a typical large UK enterprise’s carbon footprint, it is worrying that 71% of businesses are largely ignoring an area right under their noses. It is the data centre DMW says is highly likely to make the most significant contribution to reducing their carbon footprint.

David Elwen, director at DMW said: “The corporate IT infrastructure requires vast amounts of electricity just to keep the technology ticking over. In order to reduce this giant energy guzzler, businesses need to look at how they can conserve energy used by IT.” He said considering more energy efficient ways to build data centres and run the IT equipment within them could be some of the most effective ‘green’ IT measures.

The findings suggest only 30% of UK companies have plans to create a new green data centre in the next five years, while 83% of IT mangers considered IT performance to be important when selecting IT equipment. Despite this, only 23% of respondents ranked green as an important factor when selecting IT equipment.

Elwen said IT managers are more interested in performance, than the reduction of carbon emissions. “The good news is that high performance can still be achieved through environmentally friendly means,” he said, citing the of Google, which found that by turning down cooling equipment and turning up the ambient temperature on its servers, reduced failure rates and saved energy.

However, 82% of businesses did claim to have a generic green policy. But rather than strategic IT measures, these policies focused mainly on reducing energy usage in light bulbs, recycling paper waste and disposing of electrical waste in an environmentally friendly way. And when respondents were asked which company they felt was leading the way in making a significant environmental impact in implementing green policies, respondents failed to pick out a clear leader.

The research, conducted by Vanson Bourne, interviewed one hundred and five IT managers and IT directors in UK companies with a revenue exceeding £50 million, across sectors including financial services, manufacturing, retail and transport.