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Digital public sector news, research & engagement

Government computers to go green

The British Government today became the first in the world to announce plans to slash the carbon footprint of its computer systems.

The Cabinet Office has published an 18 step guide to making energy consumption of ICT carbon neutral within four years.

According to the government, ICT is responsible for up to 20 percent of carbon emissions generated by government offices - around 460,000 tonnes a year.

Key steps in the guidance include automatically switching off computers outside working hours; reusing as much computer equipment as possible, and auditing data centres and server use to ensure they are running at maximum efficiency.

'A server that is switched on but idle still uses up to 70 percent of the power it consumers when fully operational,' states the guidance.

Cabinet Office minister, Tom Watson, said, "Worldwide, computers are responsible for the same quantity of carbon emissions as the airline industry. It is a serious problem that requires a serious solution.

"That's why I'm so proud that we are the first government anywhere in the world to formally set out exactly what we're going to do to make our ICT systems carbon neutral within four years.

"We won't achieve this just by offsetting but by making serious changes to the way we do business.

"But it's not just about the government. I hope that the steps we're announcing today - including simple ideas such as making sure everything is turned off when not in use, defaulting to double-sided printing and reusing old equipment for as long as possible - will also be picked up by private companies and individuals. Lots of small actions make a big impact. Between us we can make a real difference in the fight against climate change."

http://www.cabinetoffice.gov.uk/media/66177/greening_government_ict.pdf

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