No magic wand required for green IT

At an Australian Information Industry Association (AIIA) roundtable event today, industry experts said that the path to greener IT is easier than it looks, following the release of a new whitepaper.

At an Australian Information Industry Association (AIIA) roundtable event today, industry experts said that the path to greener IT is easier than it looks, following the release of a new whitepaper.

Ian Birks

AIIA CEO Ian Birks (Credit: Howarth)

The roundtable event was held in tandem with the publication of the AIIA's new green IT whitepaper entitled, "ICT's role in the low carbon economy". The report is aimed at building a collaborative bridge between government and the Australian ICT industry to reduce Australia's carbon footprint.

AIIA chief executive officer Ian Birks said that the report is a one time, definitive piece of work on how the ICT industry can impact on the environmental agenda.

The report focuses on how clever deployment of green IT can reduce carbon emissions in energy production and distribution, transport and logistics, building management systems, industrial processes, health and education.

Research director for Connection Research, Graeme Philipson, said that implementing the recommendations is simple, because all the technology required already exists.

"We need to reduce emissions. We don't need to do anything special or clever, it's all quite straight forward what needs to be done, it's just if the efficient use of IT targeted towards carbon emission reduction," Philipson said.

Bob Hayward and Graeme Philipson

Bob Hayward (left) and Graeme Philipson (right) at the AIIA Green IT roundtable (Credit: Howarth)

"You don't need a magic wand or a silver bullet, [the technology we need is] all there," he added.

The AIIA aims to facilitate a boost to the economy of between $35 billion and $80 billion, creating 70,000 jobs and reducing Australia's carbon emissions by 116 megatonnes annually.

One area of focus on the industry roundtable centred around the clever redeployment of datacentres, and the fundamental need for a ubiquitous high-speed broadband network.

Bob Hayward, chief technology and innovation officer for CSC, estimated that Australia has over 350 reasonable-sized and environmentally-inefficient datacentres, with the vast majority close to their use by date.

"If you have a national broadband network, and consolidate down to around 12 much larger, much more efficient datacentres which get their energy from renewable sources, we can achieve much more [in terms of carbon reductions]," he said.

AIIA CEO Ian Birks is set to present the report to Communications Minister Stephen Conroy today.

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