The Green IT agenda has raised its profile in recent months around the region. The RSC London hosted its Smarter, Greener Learning event at City Hall in February, which gave a wide-ranging exploration of the issues involved.
Several key messages emerged from the specialist speakers and provider representatives at the event:
- JISC-funded SusteIT project: Focused towards HE the material covered has application in the FE and other sectors as well. Including case studies and tools for ICT carbon footprinting calculation (available from http://www.susteit.org.uk/files/index.php).
- New builds: emphasising the pedagogic drivers so that space utilisation has the power to condition behaviours, aid communication and enhance productivity; economy, efficiency, effectiveness and efficacy are key measures of any building’s success.
- Energy use: costs can be calculated with small plug-in devices; audits on the power consumption of desktops using SusteIT’s new tool; planning the energy requirements of a new data centre.
- Auto power-down: use of software applications to enable workstations to be shut down at a given time or from a central point by a teacher or technician.
- Purchasing impact on carbon footprints: printers capable of double-sided printing (by default), have a sleep mode and be toner efficient. Move to electronic communications using Moodle (Teaching and Learning), Sharepoint (College Administration), Parentmail (Reduced printing and postage), Email (College Bulletin).
However, these messages are often balanced by the ‘gotchas’ presented by users’ increasing demands. e.g. “I need a huge LCDs, but 2 would be better”, multiple mobile devices and the persistent issue of packaging and recycling – especially when buying hundreds of units at a time.
Our programme of information gathering, awareness raising and sharing of good practice about the Green IT and sustainability agendas will continue over the coming months and conclude with a Green webinar in June.