The US Senate has approved a bill urging Americans to buy more energy-efficient computers.

President George Bush is expected to sign a bill into law, following the unanimous Senate vote late last week that it was in “best interest of the US for purchasers of computer servers to give high priority to energy efficiency as a factor in determining best value and performance for purchases of computer servers".

The Environmental Protection Agency is likely to make recommendations for new policy to promote energy-efficiency IT products, following a review the new law calls on it to carry out into data centre and server efficiency.

Sun, in statement on Friday praised the legislation as "an important step toward promoting not only more environmentally responsible computing for government and industry, but also better fiscal health as a result of the tremendous savings possible through more energy-efficient technologies".

Estimates put the data centre and cooling costs in the US at around 20% of operating budgets in this area.

Gartner research vice president, Rakesh Kumar said, on the occasion of the analyst firm’s European data centre conference last month that enterprise IT organisations typically spend in the region of four to eight percent, in some cases 10%, of their total IT budgets on energy.

“But the twin factors of power hungry hardware and rising energy costs could lead to this figure rising by up to four times within five years,” said Kumar.