Tuesday, 21 October 2008

Green IT Audit

Our auditors have just completed a "Green IT" audit on us, and I met them yesterday to discuss the first draft of the report and their recommendations. Interesting discussion about the difference between what we as a department can do, and what the University must recognise is its responsibility. Lots of recommendations for action, but on first glance, most of them very sensible. Some will be easier to do than others such as looking at procurement policies, educating users (will that be easy?) to save power by turning machines off, using low power screen savers etc. Some will be harder because they will cost money including looking at DC and alternative energy power sources, optimising computer room airflow, installing sub metering so energy use per department can be measured. Some will be political, such as consolidating computer rooms, ie removing them from departments and locating all servers in our central machine rooms. Some will be impossible, such as powering down servers out of hours - I did point out that defining out of hours on a 24 hour campus and with distance learners all over the world would be a bit tricky!

I'm pleased to say that we came out of it very well, and we were commended on the actions we have already taken to reduce our carbon footprint, but there's still a lot to do. Don't get me started on printing again.....

6 comments:

Andrew said...

If you can do it, turning servers off seems like an attractive proposition, but has some other side effects that need to be taken into consideration. The main one I can think of is decreased reliability... you may remember the "thermal event" (aka. miniature fire) that iceberg suffered, whilst being turned back on when we were low on power in the Computer Centre!

However, the side effects aren't all positives. Think how confident you'd be in your servers all starting up properly after a power outage!

Andrew said...

Of course, I meant "aren't all negatives"!

Andrew said...

One other thing I forgot to mention is that Google have some interesting information on how they try to improve green performance in their data centres.

Owen said...

At the JISC Innovation Forum earlier this year there was a session on Green IT. One of the most striking things for me was that the vast majority of power usage in a University case study (actually at Sheffield - so I guess this ins't news to you) was PCs (48%) - so targetting this is probably going to be a first priority.

The other thing that was very striking was that transferring the cost of power to depts was a key way of reducing energy consumption - once you add it to a budget line, people suddenly start taking notice apparently!

I was impressed by the recent post by Dave Pattern at University of Huddersfield about installing low power OPACs at http://www.daveyp.com/blog/archives/410

I'm not aware of much work being done at my own institution on this, which is a shame - I hope it is my ignorance rather than the lack of things happening

Anonymous said...

just think where your university could be in the People & Planet's Green League 2009 if you bought in a good energy consultant who could search the web!

Chris Sexton said...

Hi Andrew - I remember the "thermal incident" well! Thanks for the link to the google stuff - very interesting.