Top tips for a greener IT department

JISC has released its ‘Top Tips for a sustainable IT department’, which identifies 10 simple steps for saving energy and money, whilst still responding to users’ needs.

Steps include enabling remote PC powerdown for computers, printers and other equipment when not in use. In fact, according to the Carbon Trust, an average computer suite of 50 terminals can save nearly 40 tonnes of carbon a year just by switching equipment off when not in use.

JISC also recommends IT managers and chief information officers (CIO’s) investigating a move to thin-client devices; that is devices such as PCs that rely on a server for their main storage and computation requirements, and therefore require less energy to run. It also suggests moving servers to dedicated data centres, designed specifically to run large servers more efficiently, as well as securely.

However, the problem is not simply one of technology use. The extraction and processing of materials for PCs also has a considerable environmental impact. According to the JISC SusteIT report, UK higher education institutions generate an average of 33 tonnes a year of electronic waste a year, spending an average £9,400 on management of this waste.

Therefore another easy way for IT departments to save both energy and money is to look at extending the life of their current IT equipment by checking, for example, that vents on the monitor, case, and printer have a good three to four inches of space to get good air flow, and that they are away from any cables or cubicle walls blocking them.

Read JISC’s ‘Top Tips for a sustainable IT department’ at http://www.jisc.ac.uk/news/stories/2009/12/greentips

For more information about the report visit http://www.jisc.ac.uk/publications/documents/sustainableictfinalreport

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