Went to my first meeting of the University Corporate Responsibility Group today - very interesting, and an area where we can add a lot of value. "Green IT" can contribute to many of the workstreams we're looking at in terms of reducing the University's carbon footprint. Every project CiCS initiates has to have sustainability built-in and an environmental impact assessment carried out, and we've done a lot recently - PC power usage which led to us changing our recommendations for PC buying and a campaign to turn all devices off when not in use and automatic powering down of machines, low power servers, virtualisation to reduce the number of servers we run, and changes to the design of our data centres. The last one is a major project and will require substantial investment to reduce the cooling we need, but will significantly reduce our energy usage and costs. Printing is another area where we will be making a number of recommendations (like - DON'T PRINT). Have I mentioned I think we print too much?
Business travel is an area we'll be looking at over the next few months. Is the journey really necessary - can we improve our video conferencing facilities to reduce the need? If there is a need to travel, what's the most efficient and carbon friendly way of doing it? I was thinking about my journey last Friday - I had a 3 hour UCISA meeting in Oxford, and spent 5 hours on a train getting there and back. I suppose I could have used teleconferencing or videoconferencing but would have missed out on those 5 hours of uninterrupted time to read papers, write papers and do all of those things that I don't get time to do here. Interesting conundrum.I do always use the train though - never drive.