Monthly Archives: January 2009

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 ‘Waste Electrical and Electronic Equipment’ directive        
  • The ‘Restrictions on Hazardous Substances’ directive      
  • The ‘Energy Using Products’ directive
  • The ‘Energy Performance of Buildings’ directive

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

  • The University of Edinburgh is using measures such as ‘free cooling’ to save over £500,000 per annum in energy costs at the Hector supercomputer facility
  • Sheffield Hallam University’s replacement of 120 actual servers with 300 virtual ones is reducing energy consumption by 80 per cent
  • University of Gloucestershire’s ICT Managers role in the institution’s environmental improvement initiative has stimulated actions for greener procurement, print management, and virtualisation.  

For further information, please visit or  

For details of JISC’s other green technology projects, visit the green ICT blog on  

Additional information: 

  • A series of Smarter, Greener Learning Conferences have been organised by JISC Regional Support Centres and will start at London’s City Hall on 26 February 2009 before moving on to Birmingham on 18 March and Edinburgh on 22 April. The conferences will bring the latest thinking and practical advice to managers in further education and skills to help inform their implementation of sustainable business practices in IT. 
  • More information on the Directives:

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. 

  • Peter James is a Professor of Environmental Management at the University of Bradford. He is co-director of the HEFCE-funded Higher Education Environmental Performance Improvement project. This organises the annual Green Gown Awards and, amongst other activities, benchmarks the environmental performance of student residences. His previous career included spells as a management consultant, as a BBC journalist and as founding CEO of the Centre for Sustainable Engineering. In his non-Bradford time, he continues to work as an environmental and business consultant and as advisor to Government departments and RDAs. His publications include books on Driving Eco-Innovation, Sustainable Measures and The Green Bottom Line.