Friday, 22 July 2011

The 2011 Green Gown Award Applicants

The EAUC’s 2011 Annual GGA have gotten of to a good start. Since its launch date, 239 institutions have submitted applications in 13 different categories, one of which is Green ICT. Of the 13 different award categories the Positive Behaviour (aka Behavioural Change) and Carbon Reduction categories had the greatest number of applicants. This is hardly surprising as pressure for institutions to reach carbon targets of 34% by 2020 (in comparison to 1990 levels) is ongoing and research has shown that behavioural change is one of the main factors underpinning the success or failure of sustainable projects. The remit of the SUSTE-TECH project examines both topics and their application to sustainable ICT. Behavioural change overlaps with quite few of JISC’s greening of ICT projects (either directly or indirectly) so if you’re interested  to know what those project are, check them out by clicking on following link

The SYMPACT project.

I met earlier this week with members of the SYMPACT team at the Folk House in Bristol for lunch.  The SYMPACT project is being led by Dr. Chris Preist and Dr. Mike Yearworth and is being assisted by Paul Shabajee and Daniel Schien, both from the University of Bristol. The SYMPACT project is examining the environmental impact of both print and online media.  As the use of digital media is constantly increasing and shows no signs of reversing or even slowing down, it’s imperative at this relatively  early stage to identify the most environmentally sustainable type of media, (be it paper based  or digital) and push for its wider use.
The University of Bristol has partnered with Guardian News and Media and the University of Surrey’s Centre for Environmental Strategy to build different scenarios models that indicate how the news industry might look in the future, after a greater move towards the use of digital technology. The subject of  behavioural change is also being examined.  In this instance it involves examining the change from the use of paper materials as a source of media to their online equivalent or the uptake of electronic reader devices in place of books.
The questions the SYMPACT projects hopes to answer include; what is the environmental impact of both print and online media? How will changes in technology alter this impact over time? How is digital technology changing customer behaviour now, and how might this happen in the future? What new business models do technological advances open up, and how will they affect the environmental impact? How will environmental factors, such as carbon pricing, act as business and behavioural drivers within this system? Beyond energy and climate, what other sustainability implications might this transformation have?
At the meeting we also discussed the overlap between the SYMPACT project and that of the SUSTE-TECH project, (and indeed the aims of  JISC’s 34 other JISC Greening of ICT projects too). After our meeting, I forwarded onto the SYMPACT team, information and data on how to calculate (and how I derived) the EF of paper in the hope it would prove useful for answering their research questions. As both project’s are looking to reduce ICT’s impact on the environment I’m confident the SYMPACT and SUSTE-TECH project will continue to share ideas and knowledge on greener ICT.
For more information on the SYMPACT prpject, click on the following link

Greening Your Institution's Network Systems Workshop

Despite just 3 expert presenters at last Wednesday’s Greening your Institutions Network System workshop in Bristol, delegates graded the workshop 8.45/10.Consisting mainly of FHE Network and ICT managers concerned about the energy use of their institutions switches, routers and cables, the workshop also consisted of researchers and representatives from the private and public sectors.
 The first presenter, Prof. Jaafar Elmirghani from the University of Leeds, presented on the Intelligent Energy Aware project. One of the findings Prof. Elimirghani shared with delegates was; the more efficient you make a network system the more people are incline to use it. This of course leads to an increase in network traffic and a corresponding increase in energy use. The Intelligent Energy Aware project is working on a solution to this problem. Researchers aim to find a way of maximise the energy efficiency of network systems so that it can handle the ever increasing number of internet users, while at the same time reduce its energy requirements.
Simon Palmer, the Systems Development Officer at Coleg Sir Gar in Wales covered what his FE college has done to reduce network related energy costs. His presentation entitled “Trying to save power and putting Gigabit to the Edge” focussed on the college’s use of switches and routers and through their replacement with more efficient equipment, the college reduced its network carbon footprint by 80%.   Simon’s closing remarks on greening network equipment was for network managers “not to replace old kit until absolutely necessary”.
Finally, from the business perspective Russell Davies from Cisco Systems showcased what the network giant is doing to help customers run more energy efficient systems. Russell’s presentation included an overshot on the difficulties public sectors organisations are faced with in terms of reducing their ICT related energy use but then offered a summary of the 10 recommendations from CISCO’s Operational Efficiency Report to help tackle those difficulties.  The presentation which is available on the EAUC’s website offers an array of sustainable network solutions and is work checking out. Russell then showcased CISCO’s new LAN products and demonstrated UCS (Unified Compute Solution) direct and indirect energy use. Network managers may find the following URL’s useful and
After the presentations were complete, the Q&A session commenced. Delegates seized the opportunity to question each of the 3 presenters on the topics they’d just covered.  One of the topics covered was the difficulty of accurately establishing the Ecological footprint of ICT and Network equipment. Prof. Elmirghani agreed that as manufactures don’t have all the necessary information on their products supply chain, an accurate EF cannot be established which makes designing the most sustainable network system more difficult. Perhaps this is an area within the wider green ICT spectrum that deserves more research. If any readers are aware of a research project that is examining the EF of ICT equipment please rely or comment to this blog.
The Coleg Sir Gar and Cisco System’s presentations are available on the EAUC’s Greening ICT with JISC webpage

Friday, 15 July 2011

Green ICT from the ANU in Canberra, Australia.

I skyped Sam Fernandes, of the Green ICT dept at the Australian National University (ANU) two nights ago to catch up on what his institution had been doing to green their ICT systems. I had sent Sam the Suste-IT tool 12 months ago after he'd heard about it and The SUSTE-TECH project, from a colleague who'd attended the 2010 ACTS conference in Melbourne. Sam started using the Suste-IT tool but like many energy monitoring schemes, gathering the required data on numbers, energy consumption and operation times of ICT equipment proved too time consuming. Sam and his colleagues at the ANU have since created a programme that can detect and locate the various pieces of ICT equipment and then record their energy use. While the programme is still in its design stage it has already proved more than useful when trying to gather and monitor ICT related energy use and calculate the carbon footprint of the hundreds of ICT devices on campus. So far they have managed to estimate the energy consumption of over 22,000 ICT devices in operation across ANU's Canberra campus. The tool has identified the use of 7,600 desktops, 11,000 servers and 746 printers. The tool is being developed further with the help of Macanta, a business and management consultancy firm in Melbourne. ANU are working on improving the accuracy of the results and once fully developed, the tool may be able to generate reports that provide information about the carbon profile of ICT. The team is also working on developing the tool to provide information on the location of ICT devices across campus. I sent Sam the link to JISC's Greening of ICT projects in the hope that he and his team of researchers become inspired by the results of the JISC projects or better still decide to collaborate with JISC in the future. For more information on what ANU are doing to green their campuses' and what ground breaking research is being carried out, click on the following link; , or contact

Thursday, 14 July 2011

Procurement Managers Only Survey

 I’m in the process of creating a survey  to be completed by procurement mangers only. The results of a similar ICT manager only survey carried out a few months ago indicated that ICT managers and procurement staff are often at odds regarding which pieces of equipment to purchase for their institution. ICT managers main concern is the ability of their equipment to deliver a reliable service to staff and students, while procurement staff’s main concern is the financial cost.   The survey indicated that ICT energy use is something they consider when requesting the purchase of such equipment but whether procurement managers also consider energy use, is for the most part, still unknown.
The survey also established the level of joined up thinking between the ICT depts.  and procurement depts. (as well as that between energy and environmental depts. too). While some ICT managers sit on a sustainable committee more do not. Of those that do, for many it’s part of their job requirement, for others it voluntary. The question then remains how do institution procure for ICT equipment effectively and efficiently if the various depts.  Have different agendas?   
This time we want to hear from procurement managers and their thoughts on the process for procuring for more sustainable ICT equipment.
What sustainable ICT considerations do they think are important and should be included as part of all procurement tools and what considerations can be omitted? How much knowledge do they posses on the subject of sustainability and do they know how to apply it to their roles as procurement managers. Does their institution offer training on the subject? Are they aware of the tools available to help them procure sustainably? Its is hoped that this survey will shed some light on the tricky process of procuring for ICT equipment.
If you have any questions or suggestion for questions to be included in this survey, please e mail the SUSTE-TECH project manager Nicola Hogan at

Greening Your Institution's Networks Systems

The agenda for the July 20th Networks Greening Your Institution's Networks System event was circulated to 100’s of contacts earlier today. The event has only 4 speakers in total (including the SUSTE-TECH project manager) despite almost 50 Network contacts being asked to present. I started to wonder if this may be because not enough research has been done on the subject so far? Have research institutions and ICT manager focussed too much the energy use of other categories of ICT equipment? Did moving into the cloud distract institutions from examining the impact the use of switches, routers and cables have on their energy use ? Perhaps it’s because their energy use  may be more difficult to monitor than other pieces of ICT kit and their environmental footprint almost impossible to quantify (much like all pieces of ICT equipment)? The response from many of the Network manager asked to present was just that; they simply hadn’t enough information and/or data on the subject to be able to present on.  In addition to this, results of completed Suste-IT tools (from the SUSTE-TECH) project showed that Networks were amongst the higher users of ICT related energy use, yet only 2 institutions included addressing the issue in their Action Plans. Perhaps this is something that ICT research institutions, HE’s and their funding bodies should consider examining at some point?

Metering and Managing Energy Consumption in Data Centres

I attended the  Metering and Managing Energy Consumption in Data Centres workshop in Leeds last Tuesday. The event, attended by at least 20 delegates and had 4 speakers, offered real insight into how to manage and monitor your data centres energy use. Rob Bristow has already blogged extensively on the event (see Rob’s Blog) so there’s not much point in me repeating the details of the event, except to reiterate the main outputs from the workshop.
They were;
1.  there are many and varied methods of collecting and then monitoring the energy use of data centres. Energy meters that work for one server may not integrate with another. Continuing to try several different methods, types of equipment and points of monitoring until energy usage is being measures, is key!
2. Once data has been gathered, the most important aspect is following through on initiatives that will reduce energy consumption.
This is easier than many IT managers realise. The SUSTE-TECH project ran 2 Data Centre Efficiency workshops, the slides of which are available on the EAUC’s SUSTE-TECH website: The slides contain very useful information on the number of ways to green your data centres and even offer examples of best practice.

Slides from the Metering and Managing Energy Consumption in Data Centres workhop are available on

Saturday, 2 July 2011

The EAUC's Green Gown Awards

The EAUC's Green Gown Awards recognise exceptional initiatives by universities and colleges across the UK to become more sustainable. The Awards are widely recognised as the most prestigious recognition of environmental best practice within the further and higher education sectors.Categories this year include; carbon reduction; energy efficient construction; and of course Green ICT.
So if your institution has improved its ICT systems by either reducing its energy related requirements, utilised more environmentally friendly equipment or implemented an initiative that created less ICT related waste then the Green ICT category is for you. 

For more information click on the following link.
Good Luck to all Green ICT entrants !!

SUSTE-TECH workshops during the summer of 2011

Upcoming Workshops

An event examining the energy use of networks is being planned for July 20th, 2011 at the University of Bristol's Graduate School of Education. Speakers at the event will include ICT managers from a range of FHE institutions and researchers from various JISC funded projects. A link to register to attend this event will be created shortly so please return to this webpage for furthur details. Details of the event are below on the "save the date flyer"

Utilisation of Space Through the Use of ICT.An event that examines how the use of innovative communication technologies are influencing the design of physical learning spaces in FHE institutions will be held at the University of Birmingham on August 24th. Hear from those who have carried out such research and learn how ICT can help declutter and streamline classrooms and lecture theatres, thus enhancing the pedagogic experience. Speakers from one of JISC's various e-learning and pedagogy project's will present on their findings, as will the head of the University of Leeds' "INTelligent Energy awaRE NETworks" project. Represenatives from the ICT business sector will also present

Improving Sustainability Across Estates

On June 30th, the JISC funded SUSTE-TECH project ran a workshop that examined how, through the clever use of ICT, estates managers can run their campus more sustainably. Over 40 delegates registered to attend the event and speakers from both the FHE and business sectors presented on what they had done to reduce energy consumption and wastage of resources by employing technology.

A presentation from the host institution’s Head of Building Operations, Kevin Cope highlighted how Imperial College have reduced their plants and services carbon consumption and how ICT infrastructure underpinned it’s delivery. Steve Scott, director of Campus Services at Queen Margaret University presented on how their sustainability strategy for the new Musselburgh campus contained a vision statement that aimed at developing a “sustainable community for learning and life”. Their holistic sustainability strategy emphasised getting the basics right first so they designed sustainability in from the start that incorporated their ICT systems. 

From the business sector, Dave Everett from RM-Utileyes presented on how real-time utility monitoring at a primary school resulted in savings of  thousands of pounds even though the school was unaware of any obvious performance issues.

Finally, Prof. Peter James Director of The Suste-IT Project showcased what a selection of UK HE institutions had done to reduce energy costs and reach carbon targets.  Feedback from the delegates was very positive with the workshop scoring an 8.25/10 for overall success.
As FHE estates struggle to find efficient ways of saving money, this workshop demonstrated how this sector wide issue can be tackled.  All presentations are available on the EAUC’s Greening of ICT with JISC workshop webpage :
P.S. Watch out for upcoming workshops on Greening Your Institutions Network Systems and Utilisation of Space Through the Use of ICT.