Govt computers going carbon neutral

The government hopes to make its computer systems carbon neutral within four years.

Cabinet Office minister Tom Watson revealed plans to make the energy savings through a range of measures including switching off desktops outside working hours, reusing equipment as much as possible and auditing data centres and server use.

With information and communications technology energy use making up a fifth of carbon emissions from government offices, Mr Watson believes the steps will make a big difference.

“I’m so proud that we are the first government anywhere in the world to formally set out exactly what we’re going to do to make our ICT systems carbon neutral within four years,” he said.

“We won’t achieve this just by offsetting but by making serious changes to the way we do business.”

The Sustainable Development Commission’s chief executive, Andrew Lee, said the move represented a “radical target”.

His organisation published a report earlier this year which called on the government to “raise its game” after finding it was still not on course towards achieving its targets.

Mr Lee said: “The Cabinet Office has already demonstrated how simple changes can deliver huge carbon savings, and we hope this initiative will go much further, taking a fundamental look at how IT is designed and configured for the future.”