Monday, 10 October 2011

Green ICT workshop at the 2011 ACTS Conference in Adelaide, Australia.

It been almost two weeks since I attended the 2011 ACTS conference in Adelaide and I’m only now getting around to blogging about it. At the conference I hosted a green ICT workshop along with Sam Fernandez and Bart Meehan both of ANU. A quick show of hands at the start of the workshop showed that it was being attended by 27 delegates most of which were environmental or sustainable managers (of one type or another). Unfortunately no IT managers were in attendance. However, a few sustainable and environmental managers confirmed that their institutions had a green ICT strategy of sorts in place and were there to learn more on the subject. I presented on the aims of the SUSTE-TECH project and ran through its methodology, results of the 15 participants Suste-IT tools and green ICT action plans. At the end of the session I encouraged delegates to take what I considered to be the 3 most useful points away with them, use the Suste-IT tool, remembering the “4 M’s”, (math, meet, merge, make)  and to go on line and learn more about the 34 other JISC projects that are researching the subject of Green ICT.
Sam Fernandez and Bart Meehan presented on what they had done at ANU to green their IT system. They covered the issue of ICT formerly being regarded as the “sacred cow” of campus operations in that it daren’t be touched by anyone outside of the IT department. Thankfully this has changed since the realisation that ICT is a significant energy consumer. Sam focussed on what he described as the “big ticket item”, Data Centre management. In fact ANU are setting up a separate group specifically to manage their data centres. Bart and Sam covered how they are building the case for change by communicating results with stakeholders and are taking the collaborative approach to tackling the energy use of their data centres by getting involved with other organisations. Their mantra for this collaborative was “I have a problem and I need your help”. This mirrors what 2 other presenters (John Rolls and Mal Chia, see next blog) said was crucial to getting stakeholders involved in sustainable projects.
While neither of the presentations showcased groundbreaking findings in Green ICT (next year perhaps) it was reassuring to see institutions on another continent experiencing and tackling hurdles in energy management the same way as those in the UK. One of the more interesting outcomes of the project was that so many delegates were still unaware of what exactly green ICT is.  So I recommended reading any of the hundreds of Green ICT books that are available, in fact  I’ve mentioned a few in older blogs and tweets. At the ACTS 2012 Conference I hope to present on how far the SUSTE-TECH participants have come since deciding to participate in 2010. I also hope to be able to showcase their financial and carbon savings and focus on which of the sustainable technologies helped get them to a greener level.    

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