Eco-Friendly IT Initiatives

Don’t we all want to “save”?  Saving trees, paper, time, or money, we all want to save something!  This week I read an article in the April issue of Campus Technology entitled “Lean Green Machines”.  The focus of the article was sustainable eco-friendly initiatives that result in real cost savings.  Highlighting higher ed IT departments, Campus Technology selected eight of their favorite green practices. From their list I selected five.

  1. East Los Angeles College – use solar panels to generate campus electricity.  One of the nation’s largest green programs in history, the Lost Angeles Community College District has spent over $6 billion modernizing and greening its colleges since 2002.
  2. Shippensburg University – launch campaign to teach energy awareness.  The “Environmental StewardSHIP” program was created in 2009, and since then has included education through the school newspaper and modifying power settings on student computers to use less energy.  Turns out knowledge is power, literally.
  3. Creighton University – replaced their traditional paper-based end of course evaluation system with an online system.  Cutting waste by about 3 million sheets of paper, the school is making good on its promise to be more environmentally responsible while saving an estimated $40K per semester in paper costs alone.
  4. Butler University – use the heat from their data center to heat college building.  Now this is really clever!  Data centers produce a tremendous amount of heat, so much so that large air conditioner units are used to keep them cool.  In the Fall of 2010, Butler began repurposing this heat through transferring it to the building’s hot water system, and is used to preheat outside air for use inside.  Officials estimate currently the data center is providing 20% of the heat production and when the data center is fully equipped as high as 40%.
  5. Drexel University – use library books natural insulating abilities to cool the library.  Drexel learned to precool the building at night using their air conditioner when electricity prices temperatures are at their lowest.  During the day they turn one of the two units off.  The temperature in the morning is a comfortable 70 degrees and only rises about 5 degrees by the end of the day.  What’s the secret?  Turns out all those books are natural insulators and store the cool air from the evening to keep things comfortable during the day.  With a savings of about $25K per year, this is an easy fix any school can implement.

To learn more about money saving, environmentally friendly initiatives your school can implement, read the complete article here.  SmarterServices™ is an environmentally friendly company.  We provide web-based tools that allow schools to collect data without paper.  In particular SmarterSurveys™ is an online end-of-course evaluation system.  To learn more about what makes SmarterSurveys unique watch this 2 minute video.  For a free, no-obligation virtual demo, click here.