Datacenters now consume 2 percent of the world’s power, and in the US alone, they used enough to power the entire state of Mississippi in 2005. While IT represented 2-3 percent of US energy consumption in 2000, it was up to 6 percent in 2007. It is believed that the recession will be advantageous to greening IT, though it is still too early to tell. But companies are beginning to take advantages of significant tax breaks for going green: in the latest example, California’s Pacific Gas and Electric (PG&E) gave a $1.4 million rebate to Sunnyvale’s NetApp under the power company’s Non-Residential New Construction Program. It is the largest new construction incentive the power company has ever awarded. By making their datacenter more efficient, PG&E estimates that NetApp will save more than 11,100,000 kilowatt hours per year, which equals saving of $1,178,000 yearly, as well as an annual decrease in carbon dioxide emissions by 3,391 tons.

Dr. Albert Esser, Vice President of Data Center Infrastructure at Dell, predicts the recession will accelerate the adoption of energy-conscious IT. Esser believes that servers are underutilized; therefore, most datacenters have too much hardware and use too much electricity. One of the benefits of the recession, as he sees it, is that companies will hesitate to build additional datacenters.

"The greenest data center you have is the one you don't build," Esser said in an interview with Greener Computing’s Preston Gralla.

Companies will instead choose to make more efficient use of existing datacenters. Programs like PG&E’s Non-Residential New Construction Program will no doubt aid in this. With so many companies struggling, million-dollar tax breaks are hard to ignore.

By Mark Alvarez