Simply Green
           A Few Steps in t he Right Direction toward Integrating Sustainability into Public Sector IT




A ...
2   Simply Green
Table of Contents
Executive Summary: Simple Steps                  4
Introduction: Occam’s Razor                      6
St...
Executive Summary:
                        Simple Steps
                        “The question of how you persuade people t...
Step 1: Rules and Regulations: the environmental and          their own performance and goals in the context of other
    ...
Introduction:
                        Occam’s Razor
                        “All other things being equal, the simplest so...
The Dance of Simplicity and Sustainability                                    Step 3: ACQUISITION and DISPOSAL of Tech-
  ...
Step 1: Rules and Regulations:
                   A clear-eyed assessment of the completeness and consistency
            ...
Table 1:
   States with a Climate Action Plan and/or a Performance and Accountability Program
                            ...
The 39 accountability and performance states would          Sustainability Officer.” The proponents of such a devel-
      ...
Sustainability brings with it technologies of its own,       puters, network infrastructure and software, but that
particu...
Even an organization known for its measured approach
                    flirted with the idea that the working group could...
Step 2: Operational Optimization:
With a major IT advisory house predicting energy costs could soon
consume up to half of ...
The figure excludes the energy used in the manufacturing          on a mainframe but as low as 5 to 15 percent on
         ...
Clearly, data center optimization is a much larger               planners make smarter decisions when and if they are
unde...
The modular approach, particularly if available as a        and downtown Olympia — is slated for demolition to
           ...
Step 3: Acquisition and Disposal of Technology:
A validation of the largely volunteer effort to keep old technology
out of...
of commodity technologies in half by 2010. The startling       facturers will also act as brokers in reselling used equipm...
Step 4: Home as the New Workplace:
With much of government’s carbon footprint consumed in the
commute, the greening of IT ...
Simply Green -- A Few Steps in the Right Direction toward Integrating Sustainability into Public Sector IT
Simply Green -- A Few Steps in the Right Direction toward Integrating Sustainability into Public Sector IT
Simply Green -- A Few Steps in the Right Direction toward Integrating Sustainability into Public Sector IT
Simply Green -- A Few Steps in the Right Direction toward Integrating Sustainability into Public Sector IT
Simply Green -- A Few Steps in the Right Direction toward Integrating Sustainability into Public Sector IT
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Simply Green -- A Few Steps in the Right Direction toward Integrating Sustainability into Public Sector IT

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A white paper that discusses various ways that technology is delivering green benefits to government -- including the value of online services in reducing paper flow and eliminating vehicle traffic for in-person office visits.

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Simply Green -- A Few Steps in the Right Direction toward Integrating Sustainability into Public Sector IT

  1. 1. Simply Green A Few Steps in t he Right Direction toward Integrating Sustainability into Public Sector IT A G r e e n P a p e r f r o m t h e C e n t e r f o r D i g i t a l G o v e r n m e n t
  2. 2. 2 Simply Green
  3. 3. Table of Contents Executive Summary: Simple Steps 4 Introduction: Occam’s Razor 6 Step 1: Rules and Regulations 8 Step 2: Operational Optimization 13 Step 3: Acquisition and Disposal of Technology 17 Step 4: Home as the New Workplace 19 Conclusion: Stepping up to Simple Steps 21 Endnotes 22
  4. 4. Executive Summary: Simple Steps “The question of how you persuade people that [climate Inconvenient Truth” and the Live Earth concerts, 2007 change and sustainability] is to do with them is a very may be best remembered as a tipping point in envi- interesting one…. We need to know whether people’s at- ronmental consciousness, complete with considerable titudes are the consequence of ignorance, disbelief or per- attention to the greening of IT. sonal self-interest and inertia. Even among those who do For his part, author Thomas L. Friedman, whose know about climate change, there is a yawning gap be- major works on globalization — The Lexis and the tween what people say and what they do. I don’t think Olive Tree and The World is Flat — became recom- there is any simple answer.” mended or even required reading in large swaths of John Leaman, Former Head of Research, state and local government, staked a claim for a new Ipsos MORI Environment Research Team1 form of green economics. In an aptly titled essay in the New York Times Magazine called “The Power of There may be no single, simple answer to the com- Green,” Friedman writes about the need to reclaim plex issue of climate change. Yet there are simple green as a brand: “I want to rename it geostrategic, steps that the public sector IT community can take geoeconomic, capitalistic and patriotic. I want to do in responding to renewed concerns about environ- that because I think that living, working, designing, mental sustainability while institutionalizing greater manufacturing and projecting America in a green way efficiencies into its operations. can be the basis of a new unifying political movement Those simple steps are the focus of this “green paper” for the 21st century.”3 — published primarily as a downloadable digital Friedman is no more the last word on environmental document with its hardbound version printed on stewardship than is Al Gore or a former rock star, post-consumer recycled paper — from the Center for Midnight Oil singer Peter Garrett, who now serves as Digital Government. environment minister in Australia.4 But all have wid- The naming of Simply Green was a deliberate choice. ened the conversation by popularizing the issues for a Simplicity confronts complexity, and there is more than broader audience. enough of that to go around when thinking about the Government leaders have been listening. Thirty-five public policy implications of sustainability, global states have adopted a climate action plan and more than climate change, governments’ carbon footprint — the 600 mayors are signatories to the U.S. Conference of impact on the environment measured in units of carbon Mayors Climate Protection Agreement. The National dioxide — and the so-called “greening” of IT.2 Governors Association also recently signed on to sup- Consider that, with Al Gore’s climate change trifecta port the Climate Savers Computing Initiative. of a Nobel Peace Prize, an Academy Award for “An With popularization has come politicization and polar- ization, the latter bookended by casting sustainability as The Time Has Come, 20 Years Later a “moral imperative” on one hand and opportunistically trivializing it through lip service or “green washing”5 on The time has come the other. To say fair’s fair Indeed, inconvenient truths have become very conve- To pay the rent nient differentiators in the marketing of information To pay our share technology under the rubric of the greening of IT — The time has come just scroll through your inbox or walk a trade show floor A fact’s a fact to see the selective claims made on behalf of any number It belongs to us all of goods and services that are being recast as environ- Let’s give it back mentally responsible. How can we dance when our earth is turning? The intent of Simply Green is to pursue a pragmatic path through this popularized, politicized and polarized envi- How do we sleep when our beds are burning? ronment that focuses on four primary areas that have a - Midnight Oil, “Beds are Burning,” 1987 direct bearing on the public sector information technol- ogy community. The discussion that follows highlights four steps in the right direction. 4 Simply Green
  5. 5. Step 1: Rules and Regulations: the environmental and their own performance and goals in the context of other conservation requirements that government sectors. Governments can still choose to do more, but imposes on itself and others; would be hard-pressed to justify doing less. Step 2: Operational Optimization: running the IT At the same time, Simply Green provides an oppor- that supports the mission-critical work of tunity to take stock of other initiatives that have a government cleaner, cooler and cheaper; bearing on government’s carbon footprint, including online services — the widespread adoption of which Step 3: Acquisition and Disposal: standing on the has replaced paper-intensive processes and reduced the shoulders of the federal Energy Star program, amount of travel needed to do business with govern- making smarter buying choices and paying ment. It also discusses the intersection of sustainability attention to what to do with electronic waste with teleconferencing technologies and telework, both (e-waste); and, of which reduce commutes by allowing work to be Step 4: Home: the place where public employees must done from a distance. inevitably work near or at if there are to be A final note: There is an old advertising campaign meaningful reductions in government’s car- from a national chain of oil change shops that ended bon footprint. with the tag line, “We don’t want to change the world; By definition, there are many important if controversial we just want to change your oil.” Such a campaign issues that are well beyond the scope of this paper and seems ironic in the current environment and would the authority of the Center — including but not lim- likely be rethought given today’s sensibilities around ited to greenhouse gas emission reductions, anti-sprawl sustainability. But the line of demarcation is a useful land-use policies, green building codes, energy-efficient one here. This paper makes no claims about contribut- building retrofits and emission trading systems. ing to the lofty goals of changing or saving the world, Those larger initiatives are properly the purview of but it does have something to say about helping the more widely chartered organizations — ranging from public sector IT community get its domain in order, the Clinton Climate Initiative and the Pew Center on come what may. Global Climate Change to Green Technology, a non- profit initiative to inform government efforts toward sustainability, and a myriad of grassroots organizations. Big Picture Sustainability For its part, the Center for Digital Government is sim- Organizations ply focusing on its original wheelhouse — government Clinton Climate Initiative modernization — and the synergies between a more pro- www.clintonfoundation.org nounced hue of green and the practical considerations in Pew Center on Global Climate Change meeting the policy, management and operational needs www.pewclimate.org of doing the public’s business. There are a pair of technology industry initiatives that can provide useful assistance on the road to simplicity: Climate Savers which builds on the pioneering work And Those Focused on the of the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency’s Energy Greening of IT Star program for increasing PC and server power Green Technology performance; and, The Green Grid which integrates www.green-technology.org sustainability into the operating disciplines of raised floor data centers. US Government’s Energy Star Program www.Energy Star.gov While operational efficiency is only one of the four ar- Climate Savers Smart Computing Initiative eas examined in Simply Green, it readily points to the www.climatesaverscomputing.org importance of simplicity. In terms of non-duplication The Green GridSM of resources, these industry initiatives provide a starting www.thegreengrid.org point for large-scale purchasers and users of information UN Solving the E-waste Problem (StEP) technology in assessing their energy use, and planning www.step-iniative.org for its reduction during subsequent investment cycles. Carbon Disclosure Project Simply put, the industry benchmarks, targets and re- http://www.cdproject.net lated metrics make it simpler for governments to assess A Few Steps in the Right Direction toward Integrating Sustainability into Public Sector IT 5
  6. 6. Introduction: Occam’s Razor “All other things being equal, the simplest solution is Simple.gov suggested that disciplined change was the the best.” That is a contemporary paraphrase of Occam’s only way to prevent complexity from spiraling into cha- razor, a principle attributed to the 14th-century Eng- os. It also recognized that modernization efforts were at lish logician William of Ockham. Occam’s razor advises an important junction. Enough work had been done to “economy, parsimony, or simplicity” in our approach to transition public administration to the point that ana- all things.6 It goes to the heart of being simple, but it is log governments were running on digital platforms. The not easy. It assumes a disciplined approach to eliminat- challenge and opportunity that simplicity requires is to ing things that do not matter in finding the simplest complete the transition or, more properly, transforma- solution. Mathematicians prefer “irreducibly complex” tion to digital government. in describing simplicity. Either way, these formulations It follows then that the Center would be interested in point us in the right direction where environmental something that is simply green, in which the general stewardship is concerned, as well as in the continuing principles of simple are applied to the specific area of the campaign for government modernization. greening of IT. Simply Green is the sustainability sequel to Simple.gov: Indeed, there are synergies to be realized by extending It’s Time to Change the Story, an earlier white paper from the same stewardship disciplines that guide the road to the Center for Digital Government that explored the simple to operational policies and issues that have been prospect of applying Occam’s Razor to the way govern- bundled up and popularized under the rubric of green ment works in a digital, networked world. or sustainability. A sequel is different than an afterthought. It builds on an existing back story. It relies on and requires work that has already been done. To paraphrase the late Peter Drucker, there is nothing as useless as sustaining some- thing that is not sustainable. Simply Green continues the Simple.gov story Changing the story to focus on products and processes that are: 4Simplified 4Simple to use 4Sophisticated, elegant and straight forward While recognizing that getting to “irreducibly complex” may be simple, but it is not easy. The Center for Digital Government white paper Simple.gov — It’s Time to Change the Story is available as a digital download under the publications tab at www.centerdigitalgov.com. 6 Simply Green
  7. 7. The Dance of Simplicity and Sustainability Step 3: ACQUISITION and DISPOSAL of Tech- nology: A validation of the largely voluntary To those ends, Simply Green offers a few steps in the e-waste recycling effort to keep old technology right direction toward integrating sustainability into out of landfills, and an embrace of industry- public sector IT. The four steps, as depicted in Figure led initiatives such as the new Climate Savers 1 below, sketch out the opening moves in the dance of Computing Initiative to reduce carbon dioxide simplicity and sustainability: emissions from commodity computing. Step 1: RULES and REGULATIONS: A clear-eyed Step 4: HOME as the New Workplace: With much assessment of the completeness and consistency of government’s carbon footprint consumed of the policy environment in spelling out the in the commute, the greening of IT may fi- expectations that government has of itself and nally provide an impetus for telework that is others in environmental stewardship. equal to the resistance it has long faced by Step 2: OPERATIONAL OPTIMIZATION: With entrenched bureaucracies and work rules.7 a major IT advisory house predicting energy Each step will be discussed in turn. The first step neces- costs could soon consume up to half of an sarily requires taking stock of the dance floor. organization’s IT budget, running cleaner, cooler and cheaper from the data center to the farthest reaches of the organization may make green the last best chance to stay out of the red. 2 Operational Optimization 3 Acquisition & Disposal 1 Rules & Regulations 4 Commute & Telework Figure 1: The Dance of Simplicity and Sustainability: A Few Steps in the Right Direction A Few Steps in the Right Direction toward Integrating Sustainability into Public Sector IT 7
  8. 8. Step 1: Rules and Regulations: A clear-eyed assessment of the completeness and consistency of the policy environment in spelling out the expectations that government has of itself and others in environmental stewardship. The Pew Center on Global Climate Change keeps a run- due to initiatives all around the globe as we recognize ning tally of climate change legislation from states across the connectivity of everything in the ecosystem, whether the country.8 Prior to the 2008 legislative sessions, the that’s an IT system or the physical ecosystem so you real- legislative action fell into three dominant categories: (1) ize the products that you use come back into that system the creation of climate change plans and commissions; [need to do so] in an eco-friendly way.”13 (2) greenhouse gas reporting, registries and inventories; Saving the environment is a big job, and it lends itself to and (3) renewable energy and electric power performance a myriad of possible metrics and measures to reflect the standards. The mix will inevitably change when chambers complexity of the underlying science. Resisting the twin are gaveled to order with the start of subsequent legislative temptations to do too little or too much makes it all the sessions. For example, more than 26 states will consider more important to take a programmatic approach while e-waste legislation similar to that already adopted in avoiding unnecessary duplication of effort. Arkansas, California, Massachusetts, Maryland, Maine, Virginia and Washington.9 For its part, one research and advisory company is more pointed in its assessment, cautioning that, “Regulations Public executives have been more likely than legislative are multiplying and have the potential to seriously con- bodies to set expectations directly related to information strain companies in building data centers, as the impact technology. Through executive orders and directives, a on power grids, carbon emissions from increased use growing number of governors have directed agencies to and other environmental impacts are under scrutiny.”14 reduce energy consumption across the board, includ- ing the power demands of information technology. As is often the case, advocates of point solutions — Likewise, more than 600 mayors have signed the U.S. solving one problem without regard to related issues Conference of Mayors’ Climate Protection Agreement,10 — often lack the ability or interest in helping us see which includes commitments to commute reduction the wider programmatic view. At the same time, there programs, purchasing only Energy Star-certified equip- are competing interests that would create entirely new ment and sustainable building practices such as the bureaucracies to monitor and assess just how green U.S. Green Building Council’s Leadership in Energy green is, or is becoming. Both alternatives add complexity and Environmental Design (LEED) Green Building when what is needed is simplicity. Rating program.11 The simplest solution for taking a programmatic view of Elected officials and other public officials are in an green IT in the public sector is to adapt existing efforts unenviable position because there is no one answer to to account for this new priority. As detailed in Table 1, what the public expects from leaders, their neighbors 39 states have developed accountability or performance and themselves. The public opinion research firm Ipsos programs and 35 states have adopted a climate action MORI observes that, “While people voice concern plan. Among the 49 states that have one or the other, about climate change but do little to change their 25 have both. behavior, they also bow to financial pressures whilst claiming to shrug them off.”12 For now the lack of firm consensus may provide some breathing room for the public sector IT community as it figures out how to best address climate change. According to Phil Bond, president and CEO of the Information Technology Association of America (ITAA), “I think it’s going to become a day-to-day con- sideration for most folks in government. I don’t think it is right now. I think it already is on the commercial side 8 Simply Green
  9. 9. Table 1: States with a Climate Action Plan and/or a Performance and Accountability Program Climate Action Accountability/Performance Plans Programs Alaska • Alabama • • Arkansas • Arizona • • California • • Colorado • • Connecticut • • Delaware • Florida • • Georgia • Hawaii • • Idaho • • Iowa • • Illinois • • Indiana • Kansas • Kentucky • Louisiana • Massachusetts • Maryland • • Maine • • Michigan • Minnesota • • Mississippi • Missouri • • Montana • • Nebraska • New Mexico • North Carolina • New Hampshire • New Mexico • • New Jersey • New York • • Nevada • • North Carolina • North Dakota • Ohio • Oregon • • Pennsylvania • • Rhode Island • • South Carolina • • Texas • Tennessee • • Utah • • Virginia • • Vermont • Washington • • West Virginia Wisconsin • Wyoming • Sources: Pew Center on Global Climate Change, Urban Institute, Government Accountability Office, National Council of State Legislators, Center for Digital Government A Few Steps in the Right Direction toward Integrating Sustainability into Public Sector IT 9
  10. 10. The 39 accountability and performance states would Sustainability Officer.” The proponents of such a devel- do well to integrate a green component into existing ac- opment envision a “Chief Green Officer” as being on countability programs rather than to create a new and point for a broad agenda to “reduce the environmental likely duplicative oversight bureaucracy. The 25 states footprint, engage with a diverse group of stakeholders, that have both have twice the incentive to integrate sus- and discover new revenue opportunities.”15 tainability and accountability. On the downside, Green Czars represent the thin edge To be clear, this is not to argue that political subdi- of the wedge in creating a new bureaucracy, the carbon visions should not create climate advisory boards and footprint of which would have to be mitigated. There are agencies, or positions for environmental stewards or other organizational constraints. The sustainability point chief sustainability officers, to the degree that they fit person will be less likely than her C-level executive the administration’s priorities. The point here is that colleagues to be able to see into particular operating any such move should be, at a minimum, carbon neu- environments and understand the opportunities and tral. Green governance should not increase head count pitfalls in harvesting environmental gains. Moreover, a or square footage and their attendant resource con- chief green officer is primarily a policy and policing role, sumption. It represents an ideal opportunity to create which makes it difficult to be genuinely collegial in the virtual teams that use networked collaborative tools executive suite. without expanding the government’s footprint. It also “I do not believe it is necessary to establish a Chief represents a stewardship opportunity to sunset existing Green Officer position,” suggests Dr. Mike Mittleman, functions and agencies that have outlived the original New York state deputy CIO. “Sustainability is a con- purpose and re-purpose those resources in favor of this cern and responsibility of all organizational members. new priority. As such, it should be given prominence in strategic Put another way, public agencies can do better by the plans and policies. Various performance metrics can be environment with only incremental effort by extend- established that will readily provide current state and ing existing programs — not building new ones. Not trend information to management and staff. Measures to integrate or streamline such programs would have the should be global within an organization since all areas ironic side effect of growing the bureaucracy, increasing consume power and all parts can take steps to reduce the need for energy-consuming office space and expand- consumption. The other reality is most power meter- ing governments’ carbon footprint. The irony would not ing and billing systems are not sufficiently granular to be lost on the activist community or headline writers. isolate power consumption by floor or office.”16 Green is good, but its purposes will not be well served California CIO Teri Takai, who previously served in the if it becomes the basis of all new programs administered same role in Michigan and is a past president of the by all new bureaucracies that exist somehow separately National Association of State Chief Information Offi- from the real work of government. Surely, something cers (NASCIO), agrees. “I think a Green C [Chief Green green can grow on and through the 39 existing statewide Officer] is overkill. Once the governor sets a policy, it is performance and accountability programs that have up to the cabinet agencies to determine what their role been put in place over the last 15 years. For the pub- is in energy efficiency,” says Takai. “I am [also] not sure lic sector IT community, integrating green into existing that the CIO should be the focal point for all of the policies, plans and processes is another opportunity state’s greening efforts. I believe that the CIO should to avoid building tomorrow’s organizational stove- take a leadership role in ensuring that [everything IT is] pipes today. ‘green.’”17 The Commonwealth of Virginia has found a different balance point. “We appointed a senior advisor to the Public CIOs, Green Czars and their Spans governor as our ‘energy czar,’” remembers Secretary of of Control Technology Aneesh Chopra. He says CIOs should not Chief information officers came into their own as be confused with being Green Czars because “the skills organizations recognized the strategic importance are totally different,” but “the CIO is an important of information technology. As organizations come to stakeholder for states that plan to lead by example in terms with the strategic importance of sustainability, it lowering our energy footprint.”18 leaves open the possibility of the ascendancy of a “Chief 10 Simply Green
  11. 11. Sustainability brings with it technologies of its own, puters, network infrastructure and software, but that particularly where green or energy-efficient buildings are does not necessarily translate to the CIO being qualified concerned. Like physical controls in manufacturing and to manage the carpool.” other mechanical processes, green technologies rely on digital technologies to control the controls — includ- ing a growing range of products alternatively known as Moral Imperatives and Digital Technologies in operational technology (OT) or embedded IT. Digital the Public Square physical controls have been outside the purview of CIOs We should have seen this coming. We could have. And in manufacturing, warehousing and the operation of some did, three decades ago. From 1972 to 1995, Con- bridges. The public CIOs interviewed for Simply Green gress was served by an Office of Technology Assessment agreed that the CIO’s span of control was unlikely to that it charged with deep, comprehensive and technical change as green control and other technologies become analysis across five areas of research. The OTA delivered, mainstream — nor should it. in a myriad of reports over the years, a collective 100,000 Mittleman and Chopra pointed to appropriateness of pages of non-partisan, expert advice that won the agen- fit between business needs and skill sets. According to cy bipartisan praise and a reputation as Capitol Hill’s Mittleman, “The CIO does not generally have special “best and smallest agency.” Regrettably, none of that was knowledge, training or skills that automatically proffer enough to spare the OTA from closure amid the govern- credentials for managing outside of the usual sphere of ment downsizing that came in the mid-1990s.20 influence — that is, information technology.” For her Given the challenges of global climate change, globaliza- part, Takai says the integration of digital, network tech- tion and the social impacts of network technologies that nologies into control technologies notwithstanding, characterize our times, it is difficult not to wax nostalgic state and local governments “all have an active facilities about an organization that was chartered to consider “the management organization who are responsible for over- effects of technological change on jobs and training, and all power consumption.” Her only caveat is that all such analyzed the changing role of electronic technologies in devices need to be well behaved as they connect to the the nation’s industrial, commercial, and governmental state network. “My view is that the role of the CIO is to institutions and the influence of related regulations and ensure that any devices that utilize state networks should policies” under one program and examine “the role of be vetted by the CISO [chief information security of- technology in extracting, producing, and using energy ficer],” she says, but “the selection and control should be resources; in designing, operating, and improving trans- the responsibility of [the] facilities [department].” portation systems; and in planning, constructing, and Richard H. J. Varn, CIO for the city of San Antonio, maintaining infrastructure … and recycling or waste Texas and long-serving senior fellow with the Center management” under another.21 for Digital Government, says, “We are responsible for In the absence of the OTA or a successor agency, these the flows of actionable data on which people or sys- issues have fallen to freelancers — grassroots organiza- tems depend. That’s where we have a role.” Noting that tions, authors and activists — whose advocacy lacks the public sector IT [departments are] “already so big and comprehensive view of technology assessment. The inappropriately staffed,” Varn insists that CIOs should National Association of State Chief Information Officers not buy trouble: “Sustainability is at the logical nexus (NASCIO) stepped into the breach with the creation of physics, fluid and thermal dynamics and mechanical of its Greening of IT Working Group to “explore the engineering, not IT. But when the information systems role that CIOs can play in their states to preserve on which that nexus relies need support, we’re there.” the environment while providing the technology that With a wink and a nod to the marketing campaign of enables state government operations.” In a preliminary a major manufacturing concern, Varn concludes, “We description of the group, NASCIO anticipated devel- don’t make green technologies; we may make them oping a “call to action to raise awareness of the CIO’s more useful.”19 role in green IT” and aggregating “policies, business and “All things technical are not IT,” agrees Mittleman, procurement strategies, and emerging best practices for because chasing everything digital could take CIOs to state CIOs to green state IT.”22 places they do not want to go. “Automobiles represent compendiums of several technologies, including com- A Few Steps in the Right Direction toward Integrating Sustainability into Public Sector IT 11
  12. 12. Even an organization known for its measured approach flirted with the idea that the working group could help change the world: “As environmental concerns rise to the top of the agenda for lawmakers and citizens alike, the IT community must also reevaluate its energy consump- tion and use of resources. As ‘green’ becomes the moral imperative of the 21st century, the role of the state CIO will become increasingly relevant.”23 Such aspirations were tempered by NASCIO Executive Director Doug Robinson who explained that green did not make the member CIOs’ top 20 of strategic initiatives for 2008, “When you’re competing with front-page issues like IT security, consolidation, disaster recovery, ERP imple- mentation, ERP strategies, health information technol- ogy — that’s the challenge. It’s not as strategic as some of those; it’s much more tactical.”24 Contrast that with the number one spot given to green IT by one research and advisory company’s analysts in their rundown of strategic technologies for 2008.25 The difference in ranking may be best explained by how green is seen and understood. When green is elevated to a moral imperative, sales-related organizations see it as an opportunity to create, make or expand a market. In the public sector, a moral imperative can fairly be seen as a euphemism for an unfunded mandate (and few things are less welcome in the competition for scarce public re- sources). Given the still-unknown scope and economic impact of sustainability, it casts a dark green shadow over public organizations and their budgets as the mother of unfunded mandates. 12 Simply Green
  13. 13. Step 2: Operational Optimization: With a major IT advisory house predicting energy costs could soon consume up to half of an organization’s IT budget,26 running cleaner, cooler and cheaper from the data center to the farthest reaches of the organization may make green the last best chance to stay out of the red. “Data centers are the energy hogs of the 21st century,” “‘an absolute juggernaut’ in energy consumption. He ar- cautions Aneesh Chopra, Virginia’s Secretary of Tech- gued that industry and the government shared a ‘moral nology, “And if we all believe we need to have renew- obligation’ to ensure the country’s energy security.”30 able energy and energy independence in this country, Even as energy consumption and related costs rise, so those of us in the IT community must step up and ac- to does the workload on the raised floor. In 2006, data knowledge that we are net consumers in a significant centers around the world managed 161 exabytes, or 161 way.”27 Indeed, the hogs have a huge appetite. The U.S. billion gigabytes. The information created, captured and Environmental Protection Agency put numbers to data replicated is on track to grow six-fold by 2010 from 161 center power consumption in a report to Congress. By exabytes to 988 exabytes.31 (See Big Number sidebar for its math, data centers used 61 billion kilowatt-hours in context.) But there is no apparent correlation between 2006 — that’s 1.5 percent of all power consumed in the workload and energy consumption. “In a typical data- United States — at a cost of $4.5 billion. The EPA of- center,” suggests Amory Lovins, the chief scientist of the fered no estimate as to how much of that is attributable sustainability-focused Rocky Mountain Institute, “the to state and local government, but estimated federal data electricity usage hardly varies at all, but the IT load var- centers were on the hook for 10 percent of that total.28 ies by a factor of three or more. That tells you that we’re To the degree there is an imperative, it is over energy waste. not properly implementing power management.”32 The “The information technology function is responsible for Robert Frances Group estimates that power and cool- a major portion of an organization’s power consumption; ing costs for data centers consume up to 40 percent of often needlessly so,” laments Mike Mittleman. For the the operating costs of the buildings in which they are Empire State’s deputy CIO, the remedy begins with a housed.33 Moreover, Gartner estimates that 60 percent “focus on improving power efficiency for those business of a data center’s energy consumption is wasted.34 (See aspects unquestionably under CIO control [which] should sidebar for energy best practices for data centers.) have a salubrious impact on the organization’s carbon footprint.” For Mittleman, it is a matter of proper public stewardship. “Given the spiraling cost of power,” he says, “the CIO is obligated to implement strategies that will A Big Number: 1,152,921,504,606,846,976 reduce consumption; responsible organization citizenship EXABYTE: (1) 2 to the 60th power (1,152,921,504,606,846,976) demands nothing less.” bytes. An exabyte is equal to 1,024 petabytes. California CIO Teri Takai is less sanguine about the pros- PETABYTE: 2 to the 50th power (1,125,899,906,842,624) bytes. pects: “We are the main power consumers in the state and A petabyte is equal to 1,024 terabytes. our costs are rising. Replacing our old equipment with TERABYTE: (1) 2 to the 40th power (1,099,511,627,776) bytes. energy efficient equipment sounds great but is very hard This is approximately 1 trillion bytes. (2) 10 to the 12th power to justify. Replacing old facilities is even harder. And while (1,000,000,000,000). This is exactly 1 trillion. virtualization sounds great, we are still fighting to consoli- Source: webopedia.internet.com date physical data centers. How are we going to consoli- date across servers that we can’t get into the same room? I am a great believer that the CIO needs to get the IT shop A (Seemingly) Small Number: 2% in order before they branch out to take over the world.”29 These are very real challenges, but ones that government The operation of information and communications technolo- agencies can overcome. There is tremendous opportunity gies accounts for roughly 2 percent of global carbon dioxide for energy reduction and increased performance. (CO2) emissions, including PCs, servers, cooling, fixed and mobile telephony, LAN, WAN, printers, UPS, and storage. In a meeting with technology firms in Silicon Valley, Source: Gartner, 2007 Andrew Karsner, an assistant secretary in the U.S. De- partment of Energy, characterized computer systems as A Few Steps in the Right Direction toward Integrating Sustainability into Public Sector IT 13
  14. 14. The figure excludes the energy used in the manufacturing on a mainframe but as low as 5 to 15 percent on and distribution process, the attendant extraction of raw servers. At the processer level, activate “throttle down resources for their manufacture, and in their disposal. features [to] reduce energy consumption” and consider migration to “multicore processors that squeeze out better performance at lower clock speeds.”37 Always On vs. Turn It Off: Considerations for Compromise 4. Be careful to compare blade servers and rack servers on the basis of computing capacity and power and The chief performance attributes of data centers — cooling requirements, not on space. The calcula- availability, reliability and sheer horsepower (perfor- tions, not to mention operational considerations, mance) — are at odds with the conservation-based here are complex and deserve disciplined analysis. assumptions of sustainability. Through experimen- For example, blade and virtualization technologies tation with available tools, and the promise of new result in denser data centers that require more power functionality in subsequent “greener” releases, data and more cooling but server consolidation through center operators and their providers (plus analysts virtualization can result in significant energy savings. and other observers) are working on a number of emerging practices that may result in an honorable 5. Measure and monitor the energy consumption of compromise between performance and sustainability. servers at least once per year.38 Choose more efficient In broad strokes, the emerging set of greener practices power supplies for servers and recognize that redun- suggests organizations build on long established data dancy and load sharing strategies raise both uptime center disciplines. Here, in summary form, are 9 steps rates and energy use. Many rack servers ship with with which to start: supplies that are 60 percent to 70 percent efficient — but the Energy Star 80 Plus requirement, which 1. Take a broad, holistic view of the organization and its requires power supplies in computers and servers to be operations in assessing energy use, factoring energy and 80 percent or greater energy efficient, can save an esti- cooling cost reduction into lifecycle management;35 mated 301 kilowatt-hours (kWh) per server per year. 2. Consider power efficiency as a key placement attri- 6. Use the operating system to ration the voltage going to bute in scheduling server workloads.36 the processor, particularly as new power management 3. Balance energy consumption and utilization in pick- features in new operating system releases provide more ing platforms. CPU utilization averages 90 percent finely grained controls.39 7. Take advantage of metrics and models developed The Green Grid Technology Roadmap by industry initiatives such as The Green Grid (see sidebar) to improve the energy efficiency of existing Data Center Standards and Metrics Inventory: Identifies data centers and plan more effectively for new facili- coverage gaps in existing energy efficiency standards and ties, with a view to better management of “increased recommends future developments computing, network, and storage demands, low Data Center Power Efficiency Model: Builds on metrics to energy costs, and reduce total cost of ownership model workload classification and data center segmentation (TCO) — all while remaining … able to meet Energy Efficiency Operationalization: Maps requirements future business needs.”40 for collecting power consumption data 8. Adapt performance dashboards to reflect sustainabil- Efficiency Baseline: Assesses organizational motivation for ity measures — including metrics that encompass greening data centers metrics such as “energy and materials efficiency, Data Center Operational and Performance Best Practices: carbon dioxide footprint, wastes, supplier manage- Right-sizing data centers through virtualization and ment, staff development and projects.”41 consolidation, based on data center characteristics and performance schema. 9. And the classically simple (but often overlooked) Power Distribution Options: Describes qualitative answer: When not in use, turn it off. (See Step 4 for advantages and disadvantages of data center power a more nuanced discussion of making use of power distribution configurations. management functions, particularly those that ship Cooling Options Study: Mirrors the power distribution study with end-user systems.) but focuses on data center cooling architectures. 14 Simply Green
  15. 15. Clearly, data center optimization is a much larger planners make smarter decisions when and if they are undertaking than can be captured in even the most able to re-think data centers and build one from scratch. refined bulleted list. Enter The Green Grid, a not-for-profit industry con- A Green House for a Green Data Center sortium focused on “advancing energy efficiency in Virginia Secretary Chopra looks to the private sector for data centers and computing ecosystems,” which has the needed innovation to fundamentally reform data completed the key elements of its technology road- centers, “We need to encourage our vendor community map, the first priority of which is developing metrics to build green-friendly data centers and server farms so for benchmarking, measuring and optimizing data we can be proper stewards of our resources.” center power consumption.42 One example of such industry-led innovation is found The consortium was welcomed as a common aggregation at the intersection of modularization and sustainability. point as the industry and data center operators struggled In late 2007, one computer manufacturer unveiled a full to come to terms with green. Even at that, some analysts data center in a box — and delivered it on a truck. The worried that the consortium’s industry ties might hold it big digital prefab is “a pre-configured, fully contained data back from the kind of innovation needed to re-imagine center in a shipping container.” The manufacturer says the data center as part of a sustainable ecosystem. the data center module “is optimized for maximum den- It is worth noting that The Green Grid aspires not only sity, performance and energy efficiency.” What’s more, it to help tune up existing data centers but also to help was built with “recyclable parts and components.”43 Energy Best Practices in Data Centers A Contrarian Consensus Consolidation and virtualization matters because low server As a matter of first principles, the greenest data center is the one utilization rates waste energy and virtualization increases that you don’t build; the greenest server or storage device is the utilization. Finally, modular design lets systems run at load one that you don’t buy; and the greenest watt of electricity is the — where energy performance is at its peak — or, alternatively, one that you don’t use. turn off when not at capacity. Planning the Work, Working the Plan Cool Running, not Cold Fewer than half of organizations monitor the energy Data centers should not be mitten or sweater cold, yet data consumption of their data centers.44 Co-location of data centers center employees often sport the layered look to be comfortable in dual-use buildings often makes it difficult to meter IT energy at work. There is sometimes historic or cultural resistance to the consumption separately. As a first step, uninterrupted power idea of raising temperatures in the data center out of concern supply (UPS) systems can act as a surrogate in monitoring for the operating temperatures of mission-critical machines. power consumption by mission critical gear. What is a data Yet the American Society of Heating, Refrigerating, and Air- center operator to do? Conditioning Engineers (ASHRAE) may expand its recommended specifications for server temperature by as much as 80 percent Draw on best practices and humidity ranges by 60 percent,47 suggesting there appears • Assess and plan. to be operating tolerances to be exploited. • Consolidate and ladder refreshes with energy efficient replacement servers. To those ends: • Aggregate high-demand systems and use rack- or row-based Get Dense cooling systems to do what room-based air conditioning cannot. • If you must own, share. • Make sure HVAC systems are working for you, not against you. • If you must operate your own, consolidate, modularize, Luke warm is no solution. Separate hot aisle from cold aisle. virtualize and rethink floor space. • Run chillers at off-peak hours and use stored energy during • If you go after your servers, go after storage too. peak loads. • The installation of blanking panels — pieces of metal Data centers were the original shared service where multiple that prevent air re-circulation — can reduce energy loss public entities could avoid duplicate investments in raised floor through unused vertical space in open-frame racks and rack space, uninterrupted power supply (UPS) and environmentals. enclosures, which creates unrestricted hot air recycling and Looking ahead, systems will consume available power supply causes equipment to heat up unnecessarily. much faster than floor space, and the cost of power is more • As Lawrence Berkley National Laboratory suggests, data volatile than real estate. centers can tap cooler seasonal weather to economize by using air-side economizers, which typically sense and In one manufacturer’s assessment of what it characterizes as filter outside air and allow it to enter the data center when a typical data center, 15 percent was consumed by storage,45 conditions, such as temperature and humidity, are within 26 percent by computing servers and fully 59 percent was acceptable engineering parameters.48 consumed by cooling.46 A Few Steps in the Right Direction toward Integrating Sustainability into Public Sector IT 15
  16. 16. The modular approach, particularly if available as a and downtown Olympia — is slated for demolition to leased product or, better yet under a Software-as-a- make way for a politically-prized Heritage Center, de- Service (SaaS) offering, fits with the dual but conflicting scribed as “the most important construction project in demands for greater capacity amid oversubscribed Olympia since the Capitol was finished in 1928.”49 The budgets. Such a new modular infrastructure, with or operational need to replace the existing 32-year-old DIS without a new business model, comes with added sus- data center certainly factored into the decision but it tainability benefits too. benefited from being seen in the context of the larger capitol campus transformation. Conventional public sector data centers tend to be on elongated amortization schedules and new or replace- Sustainability and efficiency were integrated into the ment facilities have very long gestation periods. “It’s a bid for the new DIS complex, as they have been since capital construction project,” reminds NASCIO Execu- 2005 under an executive order issued by the previous tive Director Doug Robinson, “and it can take many administration. The order requires, in part, that major years to get it approved.” construction projects “be built and certified to the U.S. Green Building Council Leadership in Energy and Timing may not be everything in a political environ- Environmental Design (LEED) Silver Standard…”50 ment, but it is an important thing. Washington state’s timing could not have been better. With careful plan- DIS Director Gary Robinson says the return on invest- ning and sophisticated stewarding through the state ment considerations related to silver certification “were planning and budgeting processes, the Washington State addressed at the pre-design stage.”51 The project has Department of Information Services (DIS) is expected transitioned successfully to the design stage, with the to break ground on an all new and very green data center Seattle-based firm Wright Runstad & Company under in spring 2008. contract to develop and build the complex. The new DIS 166,000-square-foot data center is the In some pubic installations, LEED Silver compliance defining feature of a 456,000-square-foot, $260 mil- has led to operational savings of up to 35 percent.52 lion office complex, scheduled to be built on one of the Gartner suggests that such savings do not come for free, last available spaces on Olympia’s capitol campus. That estimating that “going green may add 10 percent to 15 land scarcity was important to the project’s approval. percent [to] capital equipment and operational costs.” The timely completion of the DIS complex in 2010 will provide new offices for the host agency as well as the Still, the analyst house estimates that, by 2011, a quarter Washington State Patrol, Department of General Ad- of new data centers will be strikingly different than those ministration (GA) and other smaller agencies. The State operating today, with “mechanical, electrical, thermal Patrol, GA and the others need a new home because and hosted computer systems have all been designed for their existing one — a non-descript, 1950s-era cinder maximum energy efficiency.”53 brick building with spectacular views of Capitol Lake The new Washington state facility may be prototypical of the new green breed of data centers. It is scheduled to come online in 2010. The transformation will be tele- The LEED Silver Standard vised — DIS plans to maintain a live Web stream from the construction site. Certification at the silver level of compliance or achievement requires a building project to earn 33 to 38 points of a possible 69 across six areas of examination: • Site Sustainability • Water Efficiency • Energy and Atmosphere • Materials and Resources • Indoor Environmental Quality • Innovation and Design Process The Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design (LEED) Green Building Rating System encourages and accelerates global adoption of sustainable green building and development prac- tices through the creation and implementation of universally understood and accepted tools and performance criteria. Source: www.usgbc.org 16 Simply Green
  17. 17. Step 3: Acquisition and Disposal of Technology: A validation of the largely volunteer effort to keep old technology out of landfills, and an embrace of industry-led initiatives such as the new Climate Savers Computing Initiative to reduce carbon dioxide emissions from commodity computing. The country’s largest states have among the most ambitious the manufacturing and distribution process, the atten- sustainability programs. California Gov. Arnold Schwar- dant extraction of raw resources for their manufacture, zenegger laid out a broad agenda in an executive order on and in their disposal. And their responses have coalesced sustainability, which included LEED Silver certification for around a commitment to environmental sustainability. new buildings, Energy Star certification for new technolo- Typical of the industry are policy and operational objec- gy and an overall mandate to make California government tives to “design products with a focus on: safe operation buildings 20 percent more efficient by 2015.54 At the op- throughout the entire product life cycle, extending posite corner of the country, New York Gov. Eliot Spitzer product life span, reducing energy consumption, avoiding introduced his “15 by 15” plan to reduce state electricity environmentally sensitive materials, promoting dema- consumption 15 percent by 2015.55 terialization, and using parts that are capable of being recycled at the highest level.”58 Information technology can both help and hinder such efforts. New York state Deputy CIO Mike Mittleman Beyond company by company initiatives, the industry began what he called “after-hours thinking on one small banded together with conservation groups in support aspect of the relationship between information technol- of the Climate Savers Computing Initiative. At its core, ogy, equipment selection and the environment.” The the initiative is about cutting the energy consumption result was an intellectually and statistically rigorous examination of the difference configurations can make Simple Steps for Immediate Impact when compared on key characteristics: 4 A Green Ratio focuses on energy efficiency; in the Office 4 A Cost Ratio places a premium on procurement Turn Workflow on its Head expense; and The Old Model – Print and distribute. 4 A Green Value Ratio considers processing power, The New Model – Distribute and print. energy efficiency and cost. The new model securely captures documents at the point of origin and manages the digital document through an automated workflow Of the three, Mittleman concludes that the Green Value to the end user, while giving readers the discretion of whether and Ratio is the most helpful in materially helping in making when to press “print.” management decisions, while realizing other benefits Minimize power needs by going Multi along the way. “Factoring energy efficiency into enterprise Multi-function printers or all-in-one machines (combining print, copy, information technology purchasing decisions is more scan and fax functions) use up to 40 percent less energy to operate than simply a way of demonstrating environmental sen- because multiple machines are replaced by a single device, itself sitivity; it is consistent with the concerns and actions of Energy Star rated. the industry, in short, a best practice,” wrote Mittleman, Default to Duplex “From another perspective, energy management offers Default settings for two-sided printing and copying saves paper and an increasingly important cost-saving opportunity.”56 complements paper recycling programs. Centralized and remote administration of an organization’s entire fleet of printers and copiers The promise of an emerging or best practice in the pro- offers both productivity and sustainability gains. Changes should curement of commodity IT has focused the attention begin by presetting all devices to the energy-saving “sleep” mode. of the industry on helping potential purchasers make better decisions. One manufacturer offers an approach Alert but not Awake called SWaP — Space, Watts and Performance. The One manufacturer offers a proprietary “Instant-on” function that rouses sleeping machines quickly without impairing productivity. 59 metric considers three dimensions of space, power consumption and server performance.57 Diet Stuffing At the design, manufacturing and distribution levels, Incorporate requirements for eliminating excess packaging for equipment and consumables in purchasing and procurement practices. computer manufacturers face common challenges re- Look to third-party assessments of sustainability performance, such as lated to embodied energy — that is, the energy used in those at the Carbon Disclosure Project.60 A Few Steps in the Right Direction toward Integrating Sustainability into Public Sector IT 17
  18. 18. of commodity technologies in half by 2010. The startling facturers will also act as brokers in reselling used equipment starting point is that an average desktop PC wastes nearly that still has commercial value and returning the proceeds half the power delivered to it. If successful in halving the to the original owner. All of these reuse and recycling half, PCs will only be wasting a quarter of their energy approaches are predicated on careful attention to the docu- supply by the end of the decade. To get there, consumers mented and audited overwriting, reformatting or wiping and institutional purchasers are encouraged to purchase of hard drives to ensure that sensitive data is not left on Energy Star 4.0 compliant energy-efficient systems61 and unwanted equipment.67 use the power management tools with which they ship. State initiatives share with the UN StEP program a Servers are more energy efficient than PCs out of the joint approach that brings together sectors around a box — wasting only 30 to 40 percent of input power common purpose. “We’re working with the private but Climate Savers has a program for improving energy sector to make sure that when we put things to sur- efficiency in server rooms and data centers too. plus, when we are actually disposing of equipment, that we are part of a process that makes sure that we are Climate Savers estimates that the price premium for protecting the environment, says California CIO Teri meeting high-efficiency targets will add less than $20 Takai, “We’re seeing many states that, like Michigan, per PC and less than $30 per server — “and decline partner with the Department of Environmental Qual- toward zero over time.”62 ity and the Department of Information Technology to The choices made in purchasing commodity technolo- make sure we’re walking the talk. It is important to gies is the second most important sustainability decision us to make sure that as we’re disposing of technology, an individual or organization makes. The first is the de- we’re doing it in a way that fits within the environmen- cision of what to do with a server, PC or peripheral when tal quality constraints of the state.” it has reached the end of its serviceable life. The problem Many state and local waste departments will pick up or is as large as the installed base — more than 800 mil- accept used computer systems and other hardware and lion PCs worldwide will be replaced between 2007 and refurbish them for distribution to underserved individu- 2012.63 A global problem has attracted a global response. als and nonprofit groups. In addition, many computer Various agencies of the United Nations, with the support manufacturers now offer recycling or lease programs, of non-governmental organizations and major players in and may even give discounts on the purchase of a new the technology industry, stepped up with a joint initia- system with the return of the old one. By Jan. 1, 2009, tive for Solving the E-waste Problem (StEP). The solu- electronics manufacturers will be required under Wash- tions are measured by a three part criteria — they must ington state law to provide recycling services that make be “feasible, just and environmentally safe.”64 it convenient for consumers across the state to dispose of Many U.S. states — Arkansas, California, Massachusetts, computers, computer monitors, laptops, televisions and Maryland, Maine, Virginia and Washington — have other covered electronics. The services must be made already passed legislation for the sustainable manage- available to recycle “computers used by households, small ment of electronic waste. As noted previously, e-waste governments, small businesses, and charities.” Even at the legislation is pending in another 26 states.65 state level, the implications are not trivial. The Washing- For its part, the industry favors options for recovering ton State Department of Ecology, which administers the value and minimizing the environmental impact of IT state electronic product recycling program, estimates that, products, listed here in descending order: between 2003 and the end of the decade, “more than 4.5 4 Reuse of the product by others, including by other million computer processing units, 3.5 million cathode businesses and consumers; ray tube monitors, and 1.5 million flat panel monitors 4 Reuse of components in used equipment and will become obsolete in Washington state” alone.68 refurbished spare parts markets; The improper or irresponsible disposal of old technol- 4 Recycling of materials into raw materials for use in ogy leaves communities and consumers subject to the new products; whim of the law of unintended consequences. Consider 4 Energy recovery (that is, heat is captured from the the 2007 recalls of tens of thousands of lead-painted toys recycling process and used for heating or other made in China, a country which is also a large-scale pur- beneficial purposes); and, chaser of e-waste products for reclamation. Just in time 4 Responsible disposal of obsolete computer equipment.66 for the holiday gift-buying season, a study by professors Three other variations warrant mention here. Cascading at Ashland University in Ohio found “highly leaded aging machines within or across public agencies extracts trinkets sold in the U.S. bore the chemical fingerprints the maximum serviceable life out of machines while manu- of lead from old computers.”69 facturers and other third parties offer to place donated That strikes very close to home. computers to suitable charities for their use. Some manu- 18 Simply Green
  19. 19. Step 4: Home as the New Workplace: With much of government’s carbon footprint consumed in the commute, the greening of IT may finally provide an impetus for telework that is equal to the resistance it has long faced by entrenched bureaucracies and work rules. Shorter is simply better when it comes to the distance Average Adoption of State Government between home and where business gets done. That is Online Services true in terms of the commute of public employees from Fishing & Hunting Licenses 54% their residences to their workplaces, as we will discuss in State Parks & Campsite Reservations 56% a moment, but it is also true of the distance between a resident and where she needs to go to complete a trans- Criminal History Background Checks 90% action with her government. Real Time Emergency Alerts 94% Sex Offender Look Up 98% The e-government initiatives of state and local govern- VIN Validation Search 88% ments are paying a substantial sustainability dividend by Vital Stats Certificate Ordering 56% eliminating trips between peoples’ homes and govern- ment facilities. Today’s digital majority — approximately Hospital Accreditation Status Look Up 68% 70 percent of all American homes are connected to the Credential Status Look Up (Medical) 93% Internet,70 more than half using broadband71 — is both Physician License Renewals 71% accustomed to and prefers online self-service to standing Nurse License Renewals 68% in line at a counter in a government building. Contractor Status Look Up 88% The average adoption of state government online ser- Job Search 84% vices (see table) demonstrates how half or more of many Unemployment Insurance Application 52% transaction types have moved online. What was origi- Individual Income Tax Filing & Payment 52% nally conceived of as a matter of convenience for citizens Benefits application & Status Look Up 61% in the mid-1990s at the birth of e-government — de- Master Business Licensing 46% livering services at a time and place of their choosing Business Registration Renewal 55% — now helps in practical ways to save energy, reduce Business Tax Filing & Payment 44% trips and contribute to the greening of communities and Employment Tax/ Wage Report File/Pay 48% government. One example can be found in Utah, where Uniform Commercial Code (UCC) Filings 67% an average of 60,000 vehicle registrations are renewed UCC Searches 93% online each month. “By reducing the number of citizens Source: Center for Digital Government, Digital States Survey, 2007 who drive into a local office to renew their registration, our e-government services contribute to the air quality With much of government’s carbon footprint caused by across the state of Utah by reducing gas consumption the commute of public employees to and from concrete and emissions,” says Kevin Park, assistant director of the buildings and miles of asphalt parking lots, there’s still Utah Division of Motor Vehicles. the issue of the proximity of home to work. Public trans- E-government also delivers paper reduction benefits. portation, informal car pooling and programs such as One example can be found at the Maine Revenue Ser- Ride Share and commute reduction incentives have all vices, where a single tax filing service is eliminating more attempted to mitigate the effects of getting public em- than 40,000 sheets of paper per year from government’s ployees to work and back. Within the IT function, new process flow. Online services not only save fuel and the generations of administrative tools allow staff to trouble- ozone layer, but many trees are being saved as a direct shoot and monitor PCs, printers, scanners and network result of electronic government’s growth. performance without having to travel from workplace to workplace in the majority of cases. A Few Steps in the Right Direction toward Integrating Sustainability into Public Sector IT 19

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