At the fourth annual Uptime Institute Symposium last week, the organization teamed up with the Department of Energy to award the winners of the 2009 Green Enterprise IT Awards.

The awards went to organizations and companies that had made major strides in developing reliable, sustainable and energy-efficient data centers.

Among the winners were AOL, which won for overall IT data center energy efficiency improvement for its enterprise-wide data center optimization strategy, and UniCredit Group, who took home the award for the facilities data center energy efficiency improvement award based on its free cooling system in its Munich Data Center.

For the "Joint IT and Facilities" award in data center energy efficiency improvement, MassMutual Financial Group won the award in recognition of its Green IT Initiatives program. In recognizing innovation in data center facility design, eNation Corp. won the award for its integrated green, high-density data center design.

For energy-efficient products, two awards were handed out: Verari Systems won the award for facilities-related products for its containerized FOREST data center solution, while APC by Schneider Electric took home the IT products award for its InRow line of products with Active Response Controls.

The final award, for "Green IT Beyond the Data Center," went to the University of Notre Dame's Center for Research Computing, which developed a new grid heating framework [PDF] to that puts waste data center heat to practical use, saving both cooling costs in the data center and heating costs elsewhere.

The Uptime Institute launched the GEIT Awards program in 2008 as a way of creating institutional awareness about how IT energy efficiency can enhance bottom-line profitability, while at the same time reducing a company's overall carbon footprint.

"As rapidly growing data center energy consumption impedes our economy, the national energy supply, security and the environment, it is crucial that we emphasize awareness of this challenge and encourage the industry to come together to solve it," said Kenneth G. Brill, executive director of the Uptime Institute. "With the GEIT Awards, industry has a valuable opportunity to highlight excellence and learn from each other's successes."

More about the GEIT Awards is online at UptimeInstitute.org.