Survey the green-tech landscape

Green computing is catching on in the business world, but some companies seek clearer incentives

Sweeter deals boost green appeal

Savings in the form of lower electric bills and longer hardware life are clearly incentives for companies to embrace green -- as are the environmental benefits. In fact, 55 percent of all the respondents said that they give environmental factors and cost-efficiency factors equal weight when making IT purchase decisions.

However, money still remains the primary motivator. Many respondents would like to see further incentives from the government as well as vendors. In fact, 80 percent would be more likely to consider using environmentally friendly systems if the government offered tax breaks. Further, 82 percent would consider switching to green computing solutions if vendors or retailers offered incentives for turning in old hardware.

Making the switch to alternative energy, such as solar and wind power, is beginning to draw notable interest. One in four of the 72 percent of respondents reported that don't use alternative energy said they plan to make the switch in the near future. Unfortunately, lack of availability is sapping strength from the movement toward alternative energy sources, as 43 percent of those who don't use alternative energy attributed it to the simple fact their local utilities don't offer it as an option.

Of the one in 10 respondents currently using alternative energy, 52 percent do so because it is good for the environment, while 35 percent say it makes economic sense.

Planting seeds

Judging by the results of this survey, as well as the lay of the green-tech landscape, it's safe to predict that green computing isn't a mere flash in the pan. Although some organizations still remain skeptical of the potential benefits -- either in regard to long-term saving, the state of the environment, or both -- the majority of companies recognize that there's much to be gained.

In the meantime, although many vendors, politicians, and local utilities have made efforts to inspire customers and constituents to embrace more energy-efficient, eco-friendly practices, there's more work to be done. As creatures of habit with arguable propensity toward wastefulness, people are more likely to invest the time and effort to make changes if there are clear incentives, such as tax breaks. Ample availability of green alternatives to norm is also a necessity; in this case more clean-energy sources from utilities and green, competitively priced, eco-friendly products that are more energy efficient that their predecessors right out of the box.

Finally, I wouldn't be surprised if, with time, the term "green computing" fades from our vernacular and becomes a quaint, passA© term. Like "e-commerce," green computing and practices will eventually just be business as usual.

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