Office of the Vice President for Global Communications

Thursday, February 18, 2010

Achieving Green IT benefits units, U-M, environment

Going green in information technology can help the environment while preserving natural resources. Going green also can save money for each unit and the university. To reduce the university’s carbon footprint and costs, units are encouraged to participate in the Green IT Achievement Program.

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Learn more about the program and available resources with the Quick Guide to Green IT Achievement.

“Using energy-efficient equipment is just good business. It reduces our energy usage and our greenhouse gas emissions,” says Tim Slottow, executive vice president and chief financial officer. Slottow presented the Green IT Achievement Program to executive officers and endorses all three levels of recognition.

The Green IT Achievement Program recognizes green computing best practices at the unit level — from awareness and purchasing to power consumption of desktops and server rooms.

The average desktop computer wastes more than half the power delivered to it. Servers are more efficient but waste one-third of the power consumed. This wasted electricity unnecessarily increases greenhouse gas emissions and the cost to power computers.

To date, the Climate Savers Computing Initiative @ U-M presented awards to 20 different units. There are three levels — bronze, silver and gold — each demonstrating a department’s commitment to conserving IT energy.

When Stephen McClatchey heard about the program, he signed up as a pilot participant.

“The achievement program puts (IT sustainability) out there through a legit program,” says McClatchey, manager of Information Technology Services at the College of Pharmacy. “Overall it’s a good idea.”

Taking the lead on achieving green IT for a department starts and ends with a basic checklist. Insight from an IT professional is necessary for accurate feedback.

The Green IT Departmental Checklist also links to resources that better assist eco-friendly activities. Resources include Virtualization as a Service, which is dedicated to most efficiently utilizing server energy, and Computer Power and Patch Management, an easy solution to managing computer power settings. Taking advantage of these services can improve a unit’s achievement level.

“The checklist brought out key items that we may not have thought about,” McClatchey says. “It was helpful identifying more things we can do, in addition to what we planned.”

Public acknowledgement includes certificates, Web badges, and pledge posters for silver and bronze winners. Tree dedications are reserved for gold achievers. In addition, action plans are given to bronze and silver awardees to help them continue their green IT campaigns.

Front row (from left): Therese Hustoles, Gretchen Kopmanis, Susan Douglas, Ken Grafmiller, Therese Kummer, Ken Heskett
Second row: Megan Leonard, Lisa Boehr, Brian Wallace, Bakari Wooten, Teresa Smith
Third row: Christina Mekas Robinson, Debra Paris
Fourth row: Jaime Howe, Birgitta Killough, Jeffrey Kolodica, Sherry Mason
Fifth row: Anna Maria Caruso, Tim Ahlgren, Kristi MacKenzie
Sixth row: Tina Williams, Lori Burger, Kathleen Xydis
(Photo by Rick Richter, Department of Psychology)