For the second year in a row, ComputerWorld has showcased the achievements at 12 IT departments that are reducing power demands and using technology to create energy efficiencies. Thirty criteria were used to determine which organizations had the greenest IT departments. The IT departments selected include: Mohawk Fine Papers, State Street, Allstate, Citigroup, PricewaterhouseCoopers, State of Indiana, KPMG, Seventh Generation, Office Depot, Burt’s Bees, Marriot and Austin Energy.   See below to find out why these organizations were selected.

1. Mohawk Fine Papers – This manufacturer of recycled, eco-friendly paper consumes more than 100 million kilowatt-hours (kWh) of electricity each year to power facilities that house six paper-manufacturing machines, Last year they implemented the Infor Enterprise Asset Management (EAM) system, which is designed to optimize the efficiency of manufacturing plants and equipment. They also installed thousands of sensors that monitor energy use. The company also uses a Web-based system that lets them track, monitor and trend energy consumption in real time so they can optimize for peak energy efficiency. By virtualizing the company’s servers, the number of machines has been cut by 75% and reduced data center power needs by 50%. The shop floor’s PCs were also virtualized. Mohawk also it buys 110 million kWh of wind-power renewable-energy credits to offset the carbon emissions. Read more about green computing at Mohawk Fine Papers.

2. State Street – Since it began its green initiatives in 2003, State Street Corp has benchmarked energy and water use, emissions of greenhouse gases and recycling. This year, State Street Corp will extend its Environmental Management System (EMS), the framework for its green program, into Asia. The company buys 50% of its energy for its Massachusetts facilities from renewable sources certified by Green-e, an independent, renewable energy and carbon offset consumer-protection program. It has replaced 90% of its CRT monitors with energy-efficient flat-screen technology. State Street is also consolidating the workload from many Unix-based servers onto big Linux-based mainframes. The company is required by law periodically to purge information, which is saved on magnetic tapes. It has these tapes burned and the heat is converted to electricity that is fed into the commercial electric grid. Read more about green computing at State Street.

3. Allstate Insurance – Allstate has consolidated four data centers into two. So, instead of drawing 27 megawatts of energy, the two centers draw 6 megawatts of energy. The organization also saves between $55 to $65 million in costs, by taking this path, as opposed to building out the old centers. Through server consolidation, Allstate will see at least a 7-to-1 reduction in physical servers. The company has also built the largest in-house printing plant in the US. Much of the paper is recycled. They are now working to move computer resources for the desktop to the datacenter, where they will be shared. Read more about green computing at Allstate Insurance.

4. Citigroup– Citi takes an integrated approach to green IT and works to educate Citi’s employees about green IT. It has created a program to aggressively market the benefits of virtual servers to individual business managers, who can save 40% to 60% per month in IT chargeback costs. The electronics recycling program has netted 112,000 devices in the past two years and generated $30,000 in income that Citigroup donated to agencies supporting victims of domestic violence. Citi is also in the process of consolidating within its data centers, virtualizing servers at rate of 100 servers per week. This has led to a 73% reduction in power demand for each. The company is also in the process of consolidating its data centers from 54 to 24 by 2010. Their move to decommission servers, virtualize and move to more energy-efficient data center designs is part of an effort to increase efficiency by 30%. Read more about green computing at Citigroup.

5.  PricewaterhouseCoopers – PricewaterhouseCoopers LLP intends to bring its new 80,000-square-foot data center online this fall. The new data center uses high voltage to maximize energy use and reduce copper consumption. The design allows it to have 40 to 50 fewer air conditioning units than a conventional space, they will cut 40 weekly commutes by its employees by having staff work their shifts over four days instead of five. The company has also centralized hundreds of servers from remote offices and virtualized 1,050 servers, resulting in annual savings of 2.75 million kWh. They have also rolled out VoIP, consolidating voice infrastructure onto the data network to realize energy and capital savings. Two months ago, PWC organized a green week to launch a blog where workers can share their energy efficiency ideas. Read more about green computing at PricewaterhouseCoopers.

6. State of Indiana – The State of Indiana has recently centralized the Office of Technology (IOT), consolidating the seven data centers into one. They also reduced server count by one-third through virtualization. They also upgraded 30,000 desktops to Dell machines using Intel Corp.’s vPro chip, which enables IT to manage PCs over the network, and eliminates the need to travel to the 800 sites the IOT serves. It provides power management capabilities such as an automatic power-saving mode and is also Energy Star-compliant. The Indiana Office of Technology works to involve its employees in its green IT efforts. Its monthly newsletter details its green efforts and encourages employees to contribute. Metrics for green accomplishments are also incorporated into performance-based pay. Thus far, their efforts have resulted in an annual savings of more than $13.9 million. Read more about green computing at the State of Indiana.

7. KPMG – KPMG has instituted the Living Green Program. The program works to measure, report on, and reduce the firm’s global carbon footprint by 25% by next year. The company’s new data center co-generates up to 75% of its own energy. 14 natural, gas-powered, microturbines generate the majority of the electricity needed–up to 840 kilowatts. As a result, absorption chillers cool up to 420 tons of water, used for free cooling in the data center. This energy is three times more efficient than electricity grid and the company’s carbon footprint has been reduced by 13%. KPMG’s decisions to move away from personal printers, to switch printing to draft or duplex mode, and to activate power management, has led to a savings of $100,000 per month. They also work with vendors to recycle technology equipment. Read more about green computing at KPMG.

8. Seventh Generation – Seventh Generation sells eco-friendly consumer goods, so there is an emphasis on socially responsible policies in the corporate culture. As part of their effort to have workers reduce their carbon impact by 20% by next year, they use the company intranet to help employees track their carbon footprints, and they also offer them incentives to weatherize their homes, buy hybrid vehicles, or energy-efficient home appliances. Desktops have been replaced with more more-energy-efficient EPEAT Gold certified laptops and their servers are virtualized. This has cut energy consumption in half. Personal printers a have been replaced with three all-in-one printers in a copier room where air is vented outside to draw out the toxins from the printers.   A pilot program is in place in which they use solar backpacks to charge handhelds,  and the company plans to replace some laptops with thin clients, which use less energy without sacrificing functionality. They are also exploring the use of outdoor air to cool the server room nine months a year. Read more about green computing at Seventh Generation.

9. Office Depot – Office Depot is working to centralize and virtualize servers, which has cut energy consumption, and extended the life of existing servers,  in addition to reducing demand for new equipment. In an effort to cut the data center’s cooling requirements, they closed vents leading to empty floor space on the data center, which forced cool air directly up through the bottom of the racks. These efforts have resulted in reduced greenhouse gas emissions by 10.1%  and helped the organization avoid approximately $6.2 million in electricity costs in its North American locations.   Nearly 66 million kilowatt-hours of electricity have also been saved. Read more about green computing at Office Depot.

10. Burt’s Bees – Burt’s Bees’ mission statement is as follows: to be “the greenest personal care company on earth.” The company documents its progress toward achieving its Earth-friendly goals in its annual report. Burt’s Bees aims to to be carbon-free and operating on 100% renewable energy by 2020. It also intends to cease depositing waste in landfills and have all its facilities LEED-certified. The goals are tied to its employees’ incentive pay, sales, profits and a sustainability metric that measures reductions in waste output, energy, water use, as well as participation in community outreach activities. They have cut energy consumption by 180,000 kilowatt-hours per year by moving toward virtualization. They were able to reclaim more than 350GB of storage space for every terabyte of storage when they moved to a storage-area network. Tape consumption was dramatically reduced when the company reused old server-attached storage as a virtual tape library, used data de-duplication and thin provisioning. They are currently looking at switching to thin clients and also at a way to use hot air generated by the data center to heat its buildings.Burt’s Bees  is also researching more-efficient cooling systems that use ozone-free coolant. Read more about green computing at Burt’s Bees.

11. Marriott International – Marriott International houses its new data center 220 feet below ground with an underground water supply where the temperatures average 55 degrees Fahrenheit, in a move to lower cost to cool equipment via chilling towers, which will double as a data recovery and development center. They have also entrusted security guards with the task to monitor and raise its air-conditioning temperatures 10% to 15%. Marriot saved $3.7 million through virtualization. This reduced the number of servers in its server farm by 53%. They have kept power consumption down by implementing hot/cold aisle isolation, high-efficiency cooling technology upgrades, insulation work and regular hardware refreshes. Taking advantage of built-in power management capabilities, reduced energy consumption by 60% for laptops, 59% for desktops, 93% for CRT monitors and 86% for LCD monitors. They are also in the process of replacing desktop PCs with thin clients as a way to reduce power usage. Marriot has also purchased thousands of Energy Star-compliant desktops. As a result of their recycling program, and they have prevented more than 629,408 pounds of e-waste from ending up in landfills. Read more about green computing at Marriott International.

12. Austin Energy – Austin Energy is working to build a 100% green data center. The company’s data centers also run on 100% green energy. A new data center will feature an energy-efficient design. Servers used feature new multicore CPU technology, energy-efficient MAID (massive array of idle disks) storage with intelligent power management, and energy-saving de-duplication and compression technologies. They have gone from 600 servers to 140 through the use of virtualization. Austin Energy promotes videoconferencing to reduce travel-related emissions and purchases Energy Star 4.0 equipment. They also provide sustainable power options to customers and offer incentives to help them conserve energy. Austin Energy is looking into using DC power in the data center to eliminate the energy loss that occurs when converting from DC to AC ,and is piloting the use of more-advanced temperature sensors in the data center in order to reduce cooling demands. Also in the works, is a plan to switch from desktops to thin clients. Read more about green computing at Austin Energy.

ComputerWorld has also prepared a list of top green It vendors. The companies were judged primarily on their IT departments’ efforts to reduce energy consumption in their IT equipment, and their use of technology to conserve energy and lower carbon emissions. The following companies made the list:

1. IBM (last year, No. 1)
2. Hewlett-Packard Co. (last year, No. 7)
3. Fujitsu America Inc.(last year, No. 5)
4. Microsoft Corp. (last year, No. 6)
5. Qualcomm Inc. (last year, No. 3)
6. Dell Inc.
7. Aplicor Inc. (last year, No. 4)
8. BT Group PLC (last year, No. 2)
9. Applied Materials Inc.
10. Entrust Inc.
11. Compellent Technologies Inc.
12. Terremark Worldwide Inc.

Are there some green-IT departments that ComputerWorld missed?  If so let us know what company you believe should be on the top green-IT list and why.  Post it in the comment form below.

© 2009 – 2011, Tracey de Morsella. All rights reserved. Do not republish.

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Author: Tracey de Morsella (323 Articles)

Tracey de Morsella started her career working as an editor for US Technology Magazine. She used that experience to launch Delaware Valley Network, a publication for professionals in the Greater Philadelphia area. Years later, she used the contacts and resources she acquired to work in executive search specializing in technical and diversity recruitment. She has conducted recruitment training seminars for Wachovia Bank, the Department of Interior and the US Postal Service. During this time, she also created a diversity portal called The Multicultural Advantage and published the Diversity Recruitment Advertising Toolkit, a directory of recruiting resources for human resources professionals. Her career and recruitment articles have appeared in numerous publications and web portals including Woman Engineer Magazine, Monster.com, About.com Job Search Channel, Workplace Diversity Magazine, Society for Human Resource Management web site, NSBE Engineering Magazine, HR.com, and Human Resource Consultants Association Newsletter. Her work with technology professionals drew her to pursuing training and work in web development, which led to a stint at Merrill Lynch as an Intranet Manager. In March, she decided to combine her technical and career management expertise with her passion for the environment, and with her husband, launched The Green Economy Post, a blog providing green career information and covering the impact of the environment, sustainable building, cleantech and renewable energy on the US economy. Her sustainability articles have appeared on Industrial Maintenance & Plant Operation, Chem.Info,FastCompany and CleanTechies.