Parliament

Government departments must push harder to cut energy consumption

By: Ashley Leonard, CEO of Verismic Software
Published: Thursday, February 6, 2014 - 05:20 GMT Jump to Comments

The government's drive to green its operations is commendable, but more needs to be done by various departments to reduce energy consumption and save money.

One could be sceptical about a government self-reviewing its own efforts to decarbonise, yet the measurement and maturity model used to calculate it's savings seems to be trustworthy and widely accepted.

At the end of 2013, the UK government released its second self-review of efforts to green its operations, with 15 government departments using the maturity model to report their findings.

It was interesting to see that from those departments, three have ‘embedded’ practices for minimising power consumption for end-user access devices - the Department of Communities and Local Government, the Department of Energy and Climate Change and HM Treasury.

Six reached the ’achieved’ status and seven had ‘plans in progress’. With a total of 6 points available per department, minimising power consumption for end-user access devices is actually the most successful activity in government, with a total of 78 points from a possible 90.

This is really important because the same report also suggests end user IT contributes 22.4 per cent of the government’s total energy use. It’s important to target the most troublesome areas first.

It is great to see government departments focusing on reducing energy consumption and costs from devices, but I would strongly urge those remaining departments not included in this report to act now.

There are a total of 24 ministerial departments and 22 non-ministerial departments, so we’ve been given a view of just 32 per cent.

The report suggests that right now the end user of IT devices from those fifteen departments are using 145,402, 517 kWh of energy annually which costs the government £17,448,302 per year!

If the figures are the same across the other remaining departments, NHS, education and local government markets, energy costs for end user IT devices could run into hundreds of millions of wasted pounds.

I’d also suggest that government departments look towards successes in similar markets and follow their lead.

Loughborough University, for example, has recently reduced power consumption from its fleet of 1700 PCs, reducing annual carbon emissions by 75,000lbs and saving 45,000kWh per year. This has made a significant contribution to the University’s aim to cut its carbon footprint in half by 2016.

In use since 2011, the software has saved the University up to £30k each year by ‘throttling back’ the energy consumption of PCs overnight and during weekends. Small changes are making a large impact. 

The savings made today and reported are a good start, but more needs to happen. This is the age of austerity after all.

Naturally, I would recommend the use of third party, professional PC power management technology to achieve near instant reductions on energy consumption and energy bills.

In the meantime, I’ll be looking forward to the new report in the summer of 2014.

Ashley is technology entrepreneur with 20 years experience as a successful senior corporate executive and has provided leadership during critical high-growth stages of well-known technology industry pioneers. 

The views and opinions expressed in this article are those of the author(s) and do not necessarily reflect the official policy or position of The Information Daily, its parent company or any associated businesses.

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