The government has set up a public-private taskforce to look at ways to reduce power in data centres across the UK.
"Green Shift" is a major initiative intended to encourage businesses to move power consumption from thousands of individual PCs to potentially more efficient data centres.
The new taskforce is "the first of its kind in the world", according to Phil Woolas, local government minister. He said the launch is "a sign of how serious the UK is about tackling this issue. Innovative proposals like the green PC service are essential if we are to tackle climate change," he told the BBC.
The theory is that smaller organisations can base their IT services on hosted systems that they can plug into as they need them, reducing the need for power at the desktop. The government's plan is for a standard hosted service, but one that can be accessed through a small desktop unit. The service is set to be piloted in 2008, with a full launch in 2009.
The taskforce will be led by Manchester City Council, which has a reputation for encouraging environmentally friendly methods of working. On Monday, a couple from the city won a Council-sponsored competition to prove their environmental credentials. Three households completed a one-year test in which they had to show the desire to lessen their impact on the environment and reduce their eco footprint. The Council launched the competition last year as a pilot project in the Hulme and Moss Side areas of the city.