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Energy Efficient IT Efforts Could Save Millions, Yet Short-Term Costs Remain Priority

CDW Report: Faced with recessionary pressures, IT professionals prioritize short-term cost considerations over greater, longer-term energy savings, CDW finds. VERNON HILLS, Ill. – August 31, 2009 – CDW Corporation, a leading provider of technology products and services to business, government and education, today released its 2009 Energy Efficient IT Report, based on a July survey of 752 information technology (IT) professionals in the public and private sectors who purchase IT equipment.  The survey found that organizations are doing more to improve energy efficiency in IT compared to 2008, and as a result, are realizing significant savings in their energy bills.  However, CDW also found that energy efficiency became less of a consideration in the IT purchase decision year-over-year, highlighting recessionary pressures to reduce equipment costs, even at the expense of greater, longer-term energy savings.

According to the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency, energy use in the nation’s data centers doubled between 2000 and 2006 and is projected to double again by 2011.  The Energy Efficient IT Report examines where energy efficiency ranks in IT decision-making priorities, along with improvements in IT energy efficiency and remaining challenges.  Additionally, the report identifies top strategies for IT energy reduction employed by organizations that successfully reduced their IT energy bills.  CDW surveyed IT executives in business, Federal, state and local government, and K-12 and higher education.

Short-term costs vs. long-term savings
“IT executives appear to be caught between the proverbial rock and a hard place,” said CDW Vice President Mark Gambill.  “Under extreme budget pressure in a recessionary economy, their No. 1 IT purchasing concern is the current cost of equipment and services, which can put a damper on efforts toward lowering total cost of operations.  While IT executives are trying to do the right thing – buy the best technology with the right capabilities at the best price – some may sacrifice greater long-term savings from reduced energy use by downgrading the importance of energy efficiency in the purchase equation.”

That said, CDW found that IT executives who are responsible for the IT energy bill take the longer-term view.  They are twice as likely to place high importance on energy efficiency in the purchasing process as executives who do not own the IT energy bill.

The 2009 CDW Energy Efficient IT Report revealed that 52 percent of IT professionals whose organizations have energy management initiatives successfully reduced their total IT energy costs, up from 39 percent in 2008.  Respondents reduced energy costs by focusing on energy efficiency in the purchase and management of IT equipment, employing measures including:

    * Buying equipment with low-power/low-wattage processors
    * Using network-based power management tools
    * Using software tools within uninterruptible power supplies (UPS) to monitor power demand and energy use
    * Monitoring data centers remotely to keep lights off when employees are not on site
    * Managing cable placement to reduce demand on cooling systems
    * Implementing server and storage virtualization to reduce the number of servers and storage devices drawing power

Energy efficient equipment identification
CDW’s Energy Efficient IT Report found that industry and government are providing clearer information about what constitutes energy efficient IT equipment, enabling IT managers to make more-informed purchase decisions.  Eighty-three percent of respondents said energy efficient products are becoming easier to identify, and almost all said the ENERGY STAR® label is very important for identifying energy-efficient products.
In fact, although the Federal government’s new ENERGY STAR® standard for servers is just three months old, two-thirds of IT executives with server procurement responsibility said they were familiar with the standard, and more than 90 percent of all survey respondents said their next server purchase would likely be an ENERGY STAR®-qualified product.  Further, 92 percent of respondents with access to utility rebates said they have become a significant incentive for investment in energy efficient IT.

Despite reliable product information and real energy savings, just 26 percent of IT executives with procurement responsibility say energy efficiency is a very important consideration when purchasing new equipment – down from 34 percent in 2008.  Yet the potential savings from energy efficient IT is enormous.  In fact, respondents indicated that if they implemented all available energy-saving measures, they could reduce their annual IT energy bill by an estimated 17 percent.

Successful energy reduction tactics
CDW found that organizations that have successfully increased IT energy efficiency employ three tactics:
-Ask IT to Manage:  Organizations that asked their IT department to reduce energy costs have seen significant results – 57 percent reduced costs by 1 percent or more vs. just 39 percent of organizations that did not ask IT to make a change
-Assign IT Responsibility:  Sixty percent of organizations in which the IT department is responsible for the amount and cost of energy used in IT operations have taken specific action to reduce energy consumption, compared to 24 percent of organizations without IT accountability
-Incent IT Success:  Organizations in which the IT department is incented to improve IT energy efficiency are more likely to make energy reduction a priority – 58 percent vs. just 30 percent of those who are not incented
“Unfortunately, organizational leadership sometimes overlooks relatively straightforward ways to increase energy efficiency,” Gambill said.  “Simply asking the IT department to reduce its energy costs yields hard dollar savings.  And incenting the IT department to reduce energy use – whether with financial, performance or other rewards – helps prioritize energy efficiency efforts.”

The Energy Efficient IT Report includes findings specific to each of the industry groups surveyed:

    * Fifty-four percent of businesses have asked the IT department to reduce its energy costs, and 60 percent of business IT departments are responsible for their energy bill.  Businesses know that prioritization pays:  More than half of businesses have cut their IT energy costs 

    * Forty-seven percent of Federal agencies have reduced their IT energy costs, up from 34 percent in 2008.  They employ simple and complex tactics for best results:  purchasing ENERGY STAR®-qualified devices and server virtualization are two of their top energy saving measures

    * State and local governments’ top energy-saving measures include purchasing ENERGY STAR®-qualified devices and coaching employees to turn off equipment when it is not in use.  They know small actions add up to big dollar savings:  56 percent of state and local governments have reduced their IT energy costs, up from 41 percent in 2008, respectively 

    * Fifty-three percent of higher education institutions incent their IT department to save energy.  The rewards are paying off:  54 percent of institutions have reduced their IT energy costs, up from 38 percent in 2008

    * Forty-eight percent of IT departments in K-12 school districts have responsibility for reducing their energy bills – more than any other public-sector segment.  Responsibility gets results:  54 percent of districts have reduced their IT energy costs, up from 35 percent in 2008

CDW’s Energy Efficient IT national online survey was taken during July 2009.  It collected responses from 752 IT professionals with responsibility for purchasing IT equipment in business, the Federal government, state and local governments, higher education and K-12 education.  The margin of error for the total sample is ±3.6 percent at a 95 percent confidence level.  The margin of error for each industry sample is ±8.0 percent at a 95 percent confidence level.

For a copy of the complete CDW Energy Efficient IT Report, please visit

About CDW
CDW is a leading provider of technology solutions for business, government and education. Ranked No. 34 on Forbes’ list of America’s Largest Private Companies, CDW features dedicated account managers who help customers choose the right technology products and services to meet their needs. The company’s technology specialists offer expertise in designing customized solutions, while its advanced technology engineers can assist customers with the implementation and long-term management of those solutions. Areas of focus include notebooks, desktops, printers, servers and storage, unified communications, security, wireless, power and cooling, networking, software licensing and mobility solutions.

CDW was founded in 1984 and as of June 30, 2009 employed approximately 6,250 coworkers. In 2008, the company generated sales of $8.1 billion. For more information, visit

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