Fujitsu says green IT services can cut bills by 20 percent

It's offering new services in the U.K. and the U.S. and will later take them worldwide

Most of the talk about IT energy efficiency has focused on the data center, but office equipment like PCs and printers can offer plenty of opportunity to cut costs as well. Fujitsu is rolling out some new services Wednesday that aim to help companies tackle both areas at once, and it claims they can reduce a company's IT energy bills by 20 percent on average.

Fujitsu has been offering the services in Australia for a few years and has signed about a dozen customers there, including Toyota and "a large Australian airline," said Kartik Ravel, practice director for green IT at Fujitsu America. It's now rolling them out in the U.S. and the U.K. and will add other parts of Europe and Asia in the future.

There are two components to the services. A two-week "quick-start" project looks at how efficient a company is today and where there is room for improvement. It covers the data center -- whether servers are virtualized and whether there is hot-aisle containment to manage air flow, for example -- and the office, to see if companies are using PC power management software or turning off printers at night. It also looks at things like procurement practices and e-waste disposal.

That's followed by a four- to six-month engagement where Fujitsu looks at the energy consumption of individual IT assets to come up with "quantifiable cost-saving opportunities and a business case to implement them," Ravel said. It studies how much each asset is used and runs "what if" scenarios, to see if a worker can be as productive if power management settings are at their most aggressive, for example.

One aspect involves installing desktop software that allows employees to track their own power consumption and that of their business unit. The idea is to motivate staff to conserve their power use and create a "competitive culture." It also looks at ways to eliminate unnecessary equipment, improve buying habits and cut waste.

The quick-start program is priced at US$25,000 and the longer engagement, called the Green IT Delivery Solution, is $150,000 plus the cost of any software installed. Fujitsu says most customers will see a return on investment after six to eight months.

The company talked to its CIO clients around the world and found that while most have a plan for IT in the data center, few are looking holistically at IT energy use elsewhere. And yet the non-data center component can often account for half of all IT energy usage depending on the type of business, Ravel said.

There have been several efforts by power companies and environmental groups to get people thinking about PC power management. Even the basic tools included with every PC can yield annual savings of $25 to $30 per desktop when used effectively, the head of Pacific Gas & Electric's consumer energy efficiency group said last year.

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