Departments are committed to meet the sustainable operations targets on energy efficiency and carbon emissions that were announced in 2006. The targets are “outcome focussed”, and in order to meet them Departments are encouraged to put in place the most suitable means to attain them, which would include making sure computers are switched off at night. It is also mandatory for Departments to work with the Carbon Trust to identify energy savings and, when purchasing computer equipment, to do so in line with “Quick Wins” product standards, which specify only energy-efficient computers and monitors.
As well as routinely running staff awareness programmes, DEFRA are currently investigating the use of a tool to automatically shut down inactive computers at night.
Departmental performance against central Government estate targets, including carbon emissions and energy efficiency, is scrutinised in annual reports by the Sustainable Development Commission, the independent watchdog. The latest report is available at http://www.sd-commission.org.uk/watchdog.