Friday, October 17, 2008

Sustainability of Australian Government ICT

The Review of the Australian Government's Use of Information and Communication Technology includes a recommendation on Sustainability of ICT. This proposes a whole-of-government ICT sustainability plan to manage the Government ICT carbon footprint. This is consistent with the Personal Computer and Monitors Energy Efficiency Strategy, recommending mandatory energy standard for government procurement, energy targets for agencies, reporting and activating power saving features in PCs.

5.7 Recommendation 7 – Sustainability of ICT

5.7.1 Develop a whole-of-government ICT sustainability plan (in conjunction with DEWHA) to manage the carbon footprint of the Government’s ICT activities

To better align the Government’s overall sustainability agenda and its ability to understand its energy costs and the footprint of its ICT estate, I recommend the development of an ICT sustainability plan.

The ICT sustainability plan should:

  • identify which of the available standards (for example, EPEAT™) should be adopted as mandatory for relevant ICT acquisitions (the requirement to purchase green ICT equipment should be incorporated into the client code of conduct as detailed under Recommendation 5.6.2)
  • include a whole-of-government ICT energy target, with agencies to report their progress towards the target
  • take into account potential implications of a carbon pollution reduction scheme.

I also recommend that large agencies (with ICT spends in excess of $20 million) develop an ICT energy efficiency plan that can be either part of a wider agency energy efficiency plan, or freestanding. As a priority, agencies should measure their data centre energy efficiency (which may require the installation of electricity meters in some instances). Agencies should also include in their plan a target energy usage, including the power usage effectiveness32 of their data centres.

Larger agencies will need to undertake a periodic independent ICT energy assessment. Subject to agreement by the Department of the Environment, Water, Heritage and the Arts (DEWHA), agency plans will also be independently assessed by DEWHA, with results of the assessment reported to the Ministers for Finance and Deregulation, and Resources and Energy. Reporting of progress against the plan, should be in a way that is consistent with other reporting requirements such as the National Greenhouse and Energy Reporting Framework.

When procuring new ICT products and services, it is important that agencies consider their impact on the environment. AGIMO, in conjunction with DEWHA, should develop a green ICT procurement kit to support agencies regarding environmental issues in relation to ICT products and services. This should include raw material acquisition, manufacture, distribution, use and disposal.

5.7.2 Identify green ICT quick wins

In the interim, AGIMO should identify a possible list of quick wins in this area, such as software controlled automatic turn-off of PCs, based on the best practices already adopted by some agencies and in the private sector.

From: Sustainability of ICT, Recommendations from the Review of the Australian Government's Use of ICT, Sir Peter Gershon, 28 August 2008 (released by Minister Tanner 16 October 2008)

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