Sustainable IT in Universities and Colleges

Sustainable IT is a subject that is going to be more and more important for all Higher Education institutions.

I must admit I didn’t realise how important Sustainable IT was until I attended an energy efficiency workshop at Cardiff University. The workshop is part of a series of events, all of which are part of the Managing environmentally sustainable ICT project by JISC and Sust-IT

All of the presentations were really interesting, Cardiff University also arranged a tour of their brand new server room and High-performance computing (HPC) cluster. It was really good workshop and I’m already signed up for the next event about New Ways of Working

Apparently the use of natural gas in power stations is decreasing and the use of coal is on the increase. When one of the panel described computers as being ‘Coal Powered’ it certainly made me look differently at IT. I’m now planning a complete review of our server rooms and an investigation into exactly how much electricity we use, and where the inefficiencies are. The panel also made the point that going green is not only good for the environment, there are also huge cost savings that can be made by adopting greener practices. As students become more and more interested in the green credentials of an institution the electricity usage, efficiency and carbon footprint of an institution will become a factor that students begin to consider when selecting an institution.

The rising cost of electricity means that we all have to start taking notice of the electricity we use, if we don’t then energy bills will spiral out of control and cuts in other areas will have to be made to enable institutions to pay their bills. This might sound like doom mongering, but the panel explained that in the private sector decisions to cut staffing and other resources are already being made because of the high cost of electricity.

The British Computer Societey are working on an EU Code of Conduct for server rooms / data centres. Institutions will be able to sign up to the code of conduct when a final version of the document comes out later on this year. I will be looking into this Code of Conduct, and if possible I would like to get Edge Hill signed up to the document. Institutions signing up to the code will be given some EU marketing materials to display withing the institution. Signing up for this EU recognised Code of Conduct would further enhance the green credentials of the institution.

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One Response to Sustainable IT in Universities and Colleges

  1. The Carbon Trust are now backing the BCS in their datacentre efficiency research, see the link below for more details.

    http://www.computing.co.uk/computing/analysis/2220545/carbon-trust-funds-datacentre-4098906

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