In the past few years uTech has been making strides in the area of sustainability. Technology is contrary in many ways to being green and sustainable. Large amounts of electricity are consumed by technology, thousands of reams of paper are consumed by printing, wireless devices require batteries, disposal of out-dated equipment, and the need for more (memory, speed, etc.)
Technology is a tool for many but it is so much more. It is a driving force of our society. It drives our communication, our finances, and our lives. That being said, we need to find the best way to deal with our needs for technology and reducing the impact it has on our environment. This post will provide a look into what uTech has been able to do over the past year to help WIU reduce it’s environmental impact.
Efforts have been made to replace out-dated equipment with more efficient technology. From laptops & desktops to servers, drive arrays & mainframe equipment have been replaced with more energy efficient systems.
In the Enterprise area, the Data Center was remodeled last year which included new AC units that can be monitored for efficiency. A new air handling replaced 30 year old equipment and increased the efficiency by more than 40%. A new energy efficient mainframe computer and disk drives were also purchased. There is a power distribution unit (PDU) that now monitors power and VM systems will go to sleep when not in use. They have reduced the number of mainframe printers from 3 to 2. Also over the past several years the Enterprise group has worked to reduce the number of reports that are printed & delivered. In the first year printing was reduced by 40%. This number will continue to improve with the cooperation of the campus community.
The Server team has also been replacing older systems for newer and more efficient systems. The image to the right shows a significant change in the equipment. In addition the number of servers has been reduced through virtualization. In April of 2014, the team had 7 servers running 150 VMs (virtual machines). This has drastically reduced the number of physical systems we have. As of this fall, 10 old servers have been retired and removed from our systems. The server team has also incorporated distributed power management, meaning that systems are monitored and will shut down when not in use. The number of printers have also been reduced in this area as has printing.
The Network & Telecommunications team has also been working to replace old switches and wireless access points with more efficient equipment. During the summer when residence halls are not being used, equipment is turned off. The University also has a fax server in place rather than replacing fax machines. This server helps reduce printing as well. Telecommunications does phone repairs rather than purchasing new phones.
The Support Center and uTech Labs have been working hard to focus on sustainability. Computer systems are replaced with more efficient systems when needed. The Lab team has one lab that is running virtual desktops, thus reducing the number of CPUs. This number could increase in the future if the program is both sustainable and financially feasible. The biggest change in recent years has been in the area of printing. The labs have been using a print management software package for several years. This system has reduced the amount of printing and waste in our labs. More than 85% of pages were duplexed (printed on both sides of the paper). There were 1,299,946 print jobs submitted last year, 620,191 pages were not printed, saving 4.5 trees (not to mention the toner). Equivalent blub hours of this energy is 103,598.3 hours. Now that is significant! Additional areas have been added to our print management system at the department’s request. It helps people to print more responsibly.
Other initiatives that the Support Center has done are to reduce the number of printers in their area from 7 to 2, and the Support Center technicians are now using one energy efficient Mac with virtual windows instead of having a Mac and a windows system. The Classroom team has been working to replace old equipment with new and more energy efficient equipment. For example the new projectors being purchased have LED bulbs.
All of uTech has been trying to reduce the technological impact of WIU on our environment. Some of these steps seem small and some are big, but all of these steps we have taken, help us to reduce the footprint of technology on campus.
Things you can do to help reduce your technology impact:
- Purchase energy efficient equipment
- Print less
- Tun off systems when not in use
- Dispose of equipment and devices responsibly (no e-waste)
- Recycle batteries
For additional information about power consumption please see the following sites: