Data from “2009 Green IT Report,” a recently released study from Cupertino, Calif.-based Symantec, reveals that senior-level IT executives report significant interest in green IT strategies and solutions, attributed to cost reduction and environmental responsibility. The data indicates a shift from implementing green technologies primarily for cost reduction purposes to a more balanced awareness of also improving the organization’s environmental standing.

According to 97% of respondents, they are at least discussing a green IT strategy, while 45% have already implemented green IT initiatives. IT decision makers are increasingly justifying green IT solutions by more than cost and IT efficiency benefits. Respondents cited key drivers as reducing electricity consumption (90 %), reducing cooling costs (87%), and corporate pressure to be green (86%). In addition, 83% of respondents are now responsible or cross-charged for the electricity consumed in the data center — bringing visibility and accountability to bear on the ultimate consumer of these resources.

“Over the past 12 months, IT has emerged as a new driving force in implementing green initiatives — not only for energy savings benefits, but also as a result of widespread desire to implement environmentally responsible practices,” said Jose Iglesias, Symantec’s vice president of global solutions. “The pendulum has swung both ways, and IT is now taking a balanced approach that is more integral to an organization’s ‘green’ strategy, proven by the fact that the vast majority of respondents are now responsible for the energy costs of their data center.”

Budgets, Spending on Green Solutions Increase

IT executives report a significant increase in green IT budgets, with 73% expecting an increase in green IT budgets over the next 12 months, while 19% expect increases of more than 10%. The typical respondent reported spending $21 million to $27 million on data center electricity.

At the same time, IT is willing to pay a premium for energy-efficient products. Two-thirds of respondents said they would pay at least 10% more, while 41% are willing to pay at least 20% more. Furthermore, 89% of respondents said IT product efficiency is either important or very important.

IT Central to Enterprise Green Efforts

As organizations continue to adopt programs and practices to drive environmental responsibility throughout the enterprise, IT is increasingly important to the broader enterprise green efforts. Perhaps the strongest indicator, 83% of IT departments report they are now responsible or cross-charged for electricity, providing a strong motivator for IT to reduce energy costs.

Moreover, 89% think IT should play a very or extremely significant role in green efforts and 82% have a corporate green advocate, with more than one-fifth focusing exclusively on IT initiatives.

Core Green IT Initiatives

IT professionals are regularly deploying several key initiatives for green IT purposes. Replacing old equipment was the most popular strategy, with 95% reporting new energy efficient equipment as part of their strategy, followed by monitoring power consumption (94%), server virtualization (94%), and server consolidation (93%). Additionally, more than half (57%) of respondents see software-as-a-service offerings as green solutions.

View the Green IT study in its entirety.