The ‘greening’ of ICT in education: final report published

Further and higher education establishments across the country could save thousands of pounds – and thousands of tonnes of CO2 emissions – just by introducing simple measures, according to a report issued today by JISC. 

The report presents the findings of JISC’s Green Technology report, and outlines ways in which the intelligent use of technology can create savings of cost, energy or carbon output, and shows howLiverpool University’s self-developed ‘PC PowerDown’ software is already saving the institution £64,000 a year and over 500 tonnes of CO2 emissions..   The paper also offers guidance for ICT staff and senior managers within FE and HE to make informed decisions concerning the sustainability of their current and projected technology provision.  Commenting on the report Peter James, Professor of Environmental Management at the University of Bradford, and head of the JISC-funded SusteIT project, said, “The sector must do more to make its ICT use more sustainable, and this report raises awareness of the issues facing ICT planners and senior institutional management.  It also highlights a range of cost-effective measures that are already being taken in some institutions that could easily be introduced in others.  

These include switching off PCs, better management of cooling in data centres and the increased use of video-conferencing via the JANET network. The SusteIT project also provides a tool to prepare a footprint of ICT-related energy and carbon consumption – the first step to improvement – and inspiration in the form of over 20 case studies.” 

JISC commissioned the SusteIT project to help educational institutions meet the increasingly stringent environmental demands placed upon them by government.  

Tom Watson MP, Minister for Digital Engagement and Civil Service Issues believes this new research to be of extreme importance, especially considering its legislative context. “As the Minister responsible for our Greening Government ICT strategy, I believe this is exactly the kind of knowledge that IT strategists and policy makers need to have to hand. Morebroadly, these publications will also be relevant to directors of estates, tasked with designing educational institutions’ technology-rich buildings of the future.  The government aims to work more closely with initiatives like this, whose outputs will benefit UK education as a whole,” he said.

The Climate Change Act (2008) sets a legally binding target for reducing UK CO2 emissions by 26 per cent by 2020 and 80 percent by 2050, compared to 1990 levels. It also sets up the Carbon Reduction Commitment), requiring medium to large electricity users to monitor their consumption – with incentives for good performance, and penalties for bad.  

Other directives imposing legal obligations on institutions with regard to their use of ICT include:  

The SusteIT website contains many case studies of greener technology in action, for example:

For further information, please visit www.susteit.org.uk or http://www.jisc.ac.uk/publications  

For details of JISC’s other green technology projects, visit the green ICT blog on http://greenict.jiscinvolve.org.  

Additional information: 

1) The WEEE directive states that electrical waste should be separated from other waste and sent to authorised facilities or exporters.  

2) The ‘Restrictions on Hazardous Substances’ directive. This sets limits on the hazardous substances, such as lead and mercury, that can be used in new electrical equipment.

3) The ‘Energy Using Products’ (EUP) directive sets minimum performance requirements for energy consumption in the manufacture and use of ICT. It comes into force in 2009.

4) The ‘Energy Performance of Buildings’ directive requires minimum energy performance requirements in new and existing buildings. Cooling installations such as those in data centreswill be inspected every five years. Implementation is phased between 2007 and 11.