According to CDW's fourth annual Energy Efficiency IT Report published this week, 2011 saw IT departments doubling down on their green investments in effort to lower costs, improve efficiency and adapt to the changing standards of business today.

The report indicates that 54% of IT departments are focusing on energy consumption management to help meet these goals, which has proven to be a successful strategy for 75% of the 760 IT professionals surveyed in the report.

From these surveys, technology solutions firm, CDW, has identified the top eight strategies employed by these companies to help them reduce energy consumption and associated costs. It also provides the average percentage of energy consumption each strategy cut from pre-initiative consumption levels.

The result is a neat roadmap for departments searching for a set of strategies to piece together to help bring in savings in 2012.

As Norm Lillis, vice president of systems solutions at CDW, explained, "Like any other aspect of IT, energy efficiency in the data center is a multi-layer stack of solutions working together, and all available solutions deserve consideration. The combination that makes the most sense will vary with the unique environment in a data center."

Of special note in this report is the increased interest in cloud computing as a tool for energy savings. Called a "game changer" for energy efficient IT, 62% of survey respondents reported that the cloud is an important tool for savings, up from just 47% in 2010.

"While cloud computing is a market basket of discrete technologies and services," said Lillis, "it is entirely about IT efficiency, and as a strategy, it can deliver significant energy savings that will complement other solutions within the data center."