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ERIC Number: EJ861262
Record Type: Journal
Publication Date: 2009
Pages: 9
Abstractor: ERIC
ISSN: ISSN-1528-5324
Powering Down from the Bottom up: Greener Client Computing
O'Donnell, Tom
EDUCAUSE Quarterly, v32 n3 2009
A decade ago, people wanting to practice "green computing" recycled their printer paper, turned their personal desktop systems off from time to time, and tried their best to donate old equipment to a nonprofit instead of throwing it away. A campus IT department can shave a few watts off just about any IT process--the real trick is planning and prioritizing to accomplish the most with the staff and budget available. Spending money isn't the only option, and in some cases, it isn't even the best option. Some of the most effective strategies are actually the least expensive. IT staff often start looking for green opportunities in the back office, particularly in costly-to-upgrade areas like data centers. On campus, though, most computers are out in the field. Even considering the extra power and cooling needs of server rooms, client technology still consumes 3.5 times as much total resources. For a more complete solution, IT departments clearly need to look beyond the walls of central IT. Over the past couple of years, the University of Maine at Farmington (UMF) has significantly reduced the carbon footprint of computers on campus. Though it has taken green steps in the back room--server consolidation, virtualization, print management--most of its gains have resulted from new approaches to client computing. UMF has focused primarily on power management and raising user awareness, while also committing to purchase more energy-efficient end-user computers. UMF has cut electricity consumption in its computer center almost in half through greener practices like server virtualization (2006-2007), air-conditioning improvements in the data center and computer labs (2007-2008), better power management on the building's 120-130 computers (2008-2009), and replacing computers in one classroom lab each year with newer, more efficient models (2006-2009). The results have been noticeable in electric bills, as well as in the increased awareness of green computing on campus. UMF also recently won the first Power Down for the Planet contest, which challenged colleges and universities nationwide to reduce energy consumption by enabling power management and purchasing Energy Star-qualified computers. While IT guided these accomplishments, the methods weren't entirely technical. UMF invested equally in publicity and campus-wide collaboration, with the idea that all users can contribute to green computing. This article describes how UMF found success with this bottom-up approach which can benefit other organizations as well. (Contains 3 figures and 13 endnotes.)
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Publication Type: Journal Articles; Reports - Descriptive
Education Level: Adult Education; Higher Education
Audience: N/A
Language: English
Sponsor: N/A
Authoring Institution: N/A