Office of the Vice President for Global Communications

Monday, July 26, 2010

The future of green IT at U-M

Since the March 2008 kick-off, nine project teams racked up many accomplishments in the name of the Climate Savers Computing Initiative @ U-M.

“We successfully built the foundation to change behaviors on campus while encouraging technical efforts to make IT more green,” says Roxy Block, project manager, Information and Technology Services (ITS). “Green IT can also account for some major savings in U-M energy costs.”

Desktop and Data Center/Server Room teams planted the seed by building lists of best practices, providing green IT guidelines for individuals and university units. They also inspired the data center consolidation project — Computer Power and Patch Management, and Virtualization as a Service, which make conserving energy easier for IT staff.

These best practices enabled CSCI @ U-M to advocate green computing at an assortment of campus events, including Festifall, EnergyFest, NorthFest, Green Homecoming, Earth Week, dozens of Planet Blue open houses, World Wild Life Federation and Google lectures, three e-waste recycling events, and the Green IT Symposium. Collaboration got closer with the innovative units who earned unit funding.

CSCI @ U-M accomplishments go national with the idea for Power Down for the Planet!, ITS officials say. U-M gathered a total of 4,155 pledges (5 percent of the eligible population) representing 40 different U-M departments. Collectively, the pledges of all 19 institutions involved in the competition are equivalent to the carbon offset of 3,197 tons per year, or $459,926 per year. The challenge will return in the fall.

Another piece that will live on is the Green IT Achievement Program, which makes best practices actionable and recognizes green units. CSCI @ U-M made strides in procurement information systems. ITS officials say it’s not too late for campus departments either to begin to make green purchases or start the Green IT Achievement process.

While CSCI @ U-M has ended, the project’s work will persevere. ITS aims to make sustainability a natural part of the U-M IT culture and offer resources and new services to campus. Mary Beth Stuenkel, product manager, will continue to support the Green IT Achievement program and other endeavors on behalf of ITS.

“The two years of CSCI @ U-M have taught us a lot,” Stuenkel says. “We worked through some challenges, experienced some great successes and picked up some new ideas along the way. I’m really looking forward to learning from the challenges, building on the successes and starting some new projects.”

ITS plans to keep close ties with the newly formed Office of Campus Sustainability and Planet Blue to improve green IT practices and keep the momentum of the Green IT Achievement Program.

For more information about green IT, contact Stuenkel at maryb@umich.edu.