At GovNet’s Government ICT Goes Green conference which took place on the 16th September, Rachel Gentry, Deputy Director for ICT Strategy & Policy from the Office of the CIO stated that “Green ICT is not just about buying greener products or using ICT differently to cut our carbon emissions. It lies at the heart of the government agenda- being more efficient, reforming our approach and using ICT wisely to enable efficient and reformed front line services to grow the economy, reduce public spending and improve our service delivery to citizens. It doesn’t matter if this is done by central government, local government, third sector or local communities. What matters is that we do it now, and we do it sustainably.” Rachel also informed the audience that she expects the Coalition Government’s new ICT strategy to be released before Christmas, and that green will be a key driver of future plans in line with the government’s commitment to cut carbon emissions in Central Government by 10% in 2010.
Dave Williams, Head of Innovation and Architecture at the Environment Agency also spoke about “the most sustainable ICT contract in the public sector” and said ”In designing and awarding the Service Procurement contract, the Environment Agency has practically demonstrated that it’s possible to deliver both financial savings and sustainable ICT services. Embedding sustainability considerations into every part of the contract, its governance and its operating processes has ensured that we will buy less, travel less, use less energy and waste less. We are offering this contract as a concrete example of what can be done and hope that others will follow our lead – to save money and to save the environment.”
Andrew Tait, Deputy Director for G-Cloud, Apps Store and Data Centre Consolidation at the Office of the Government CIO, spoke about reducing energy consumption through the government cloud. He stated that goals for the programme included “reduction of ICT costs, supplier lock-in, time from idea to service and carbon footprint” and stated that this would be achieved through “deployment across the whole of the public sector, the sharing and re-use of all relevant public sector ICT services across organisational boundaries, and driving standardisation and simplification”. Andrew also spoke about the current situation of “hundreds of public sector data centres running to different standards, some at capacity limits, others with unused space” and stated that goals going forward included “the reduction to an optimum number of resilient, efficient and secure data centres that may also act as infrastructure for the G-Cloud, and maximising the amount of data centre consolidation to help the public sector achieve savings”.
Also speaking at the event was Pip Squire, Engineering and Project Director of Ark Continuity Limited who spoke about high integrity data centres. Pip said “If anyone tells you that their stand alone tier III data centre has a PUE of less than 1.1, there is something missing from the ancillary infrastructure which includes transformers, UPS standby generators, security, admin, welfare and maintenance” Pip also discussed cost reduction potential and said “The greatest cost reduction potential during the whole life cycle of a data centre is during the design and implementation stages. The greatest learning potential is during the operational stage. By creating the virtual and virtuous cycle of continuous improvement throughout these three elements combines (design, implementation and operation) and whilst putting research and development at the core, one has the greatest opportunity for best performance at the lowest life cycle costs”