Consider the following: AT&T expects to save $12 million per year and 123,000 tons of carbon emissions per year using 1E's PC power management software to turn off PCs at night. By turning up the temperature in the data center from 69°F to 74°F, KPMG realized a 12.7% reduction in cooling energy usage. And Citigroup expects to save $11 million and 3,000 tons of greenhouse gases annually by simply enabling duplex settings on printers and copiers.

How are they achieving this? Green IT. Even in the face of a weak economy, Green IT is on the rise with approximately 50% of organizations globally enacting or creating a green IT strategy plan. And don't be fooled: green IT is as much about the greenbacks as it is about reducing the environmental impact of operating IT and the business. In fact, financial motivation — not environmental motivation — is the driving force behind the pursuit of greener IT (see Forrester’s “Q&A: The Economics Of Green IT”).

But despite the optimism, IT “blowhards” across the globe are negating the carbon reduction benefits of green IT one breath at a time. While virtualizing servers or powering down your PCs will reduce energy spend and CO2 emissions, Forrester finds that these jabber mouths — speaking fast, loud, and out of turn using unnecessarily wordy vocabulary — are creating a zero sum game.

To help organizations identify IT blowhards within their organization, Forrester recently developed what we call the “Hot Air” Index®*. While the complete evaluation criteria will be further detailed in 2010 updates to Forrester’s “The Value Of A Green IT Assessment”, “TechRadar™ For I&O Professionals: Green IT 1.0 Technologies, Q2 2009” and “Forrester's Green IT Baseline Calculator”, key indicators of an IT blowhard include:

  • Velocity. The more words an individual is able to speak per minute translates to a direct increase in CO2 emissions. Run-on-sentences kill more polar bears per year than offshore drilling.
  • Vocabulary. While an extensive vocabulary can be impressive, the carbon impact of unnecessarily complex words and wordy sentences should not be overlooked.
  • Decibel. There is direct relation to speaker decibel levels and CO2 emissions. Put simply, the louder you speak, the more CO2 emissions per word.


Which role in your IT is organization most likely the largest culprit?

Individuals in the application and development teams receive the highest Hot Air rating 82% of the time, according to a Forrester survey of 4,110 IT organizations who measured the Hot Air Index across the key roles within their IT departments. The same study found that sourcing and vendor management professionals have the smallest carbon footprint. When interviewed on this accomplishment, sourcing executive at Vandelay Industries, Stephane Valente, offered a zero-carbon impact thumbs up.

Just as the as the applications are ultimately responsible for all of the energy-related carbon emissions in the data center (see  “The Green Data Center Starts With A Rationalized Application Portfolio: A Sprint Case Study”), the carbon impact from their speedy, wordy, and oftentimes thunderous conversation style is just as bad. As an indictor of this, infrastructure and operations (I&O) professional, Ian Oliver, explains: “We’re working hard to optimize power and cooling in the data center, turn off PCs at night, and enforce duplex printing, but I just can’t keep a lid on our apps team. Unlike us in I&O who prefer to instant message and email using short and concise acronyms — like SaaS, IaaS, Paas, ITIL, VM or PUE — the Apps team insists on speaking.”

* Do not attempt to measure your organizations “Hot Air” Index without consent from Human Resources, your CIO and on any day other than April 1st (April Fools Day).