Acting CIO Al Blake told iTnews that DEWHA "drew a line in the sand" 12 months ago, requiring all new projects to run on virtualised infrastructure.
The success of that edict means that DEWHA will now turn its attention to what to do with systems that run on non-virtualised infrastructure, Blake said.
"We're well down the track with virtualisation," Blake said.
"We're now going into the second phase of what to do with existing infrastructure. That's a work-in-progress now."
Blake said the virtualisation of existing systems would occur as the hardware reached its end-of-life.
DEWHA is also considering the potential to roll out thin clients as part of ongoing desktop refresh cycles.
One reason to do go down this path is to reduce the lifecycle impact of hardware desktops, creating sustainability benefits for the Department.
This is in line with the requirement for Federal Government agencies to move towards a more sustainable operational model.
While advocating the inclusion of green requirements within procurement processes, Blake warned against purchase decisions based only on green benefits.
"All solutions have to be weighed up in terms of their business benefits," he said.
"We did a case study on thin client use last year that confirmed its potential but also that it isn't applicable to 100 per cent of our users.
"It would be a mistake to mandate a black or white use of technology without taking into account the business requirements as it would be to pay 10 times as much for something because it's ‘green'.
"The environmental benefits don't trump other [procurement] criteria."
Blake said DEWHA had "just finished" a request for tender process for a managed services provider that included ‘green' procurement requirements for the first time.
Among the criteria to be satisfied, bidders had to be able to offer DEWHA minimum electronic product environmental assessment tool (EPEAT) silver standard IT equipment.
EPEAT "is a procurement tool to help large volume purchasers in the public and private sectors evaluate, compare, and select desktop computers, notebooks, and monitors based on their environmental attributes", according to its website.
Bidders also had to be open to an assessment of their own environmental performance as suppliers by the Department, as well as addressing the regular tender criteria.
"We were pleasantly surprised to be able to get some very good proposals with green requirements embedded inside the RFT process," Blake said.
"Embedding environmental standards within the procurement process is a good driver to get the sustainability outcomes we all want to see."