Green IT at City University City Green Monitor
One of the main initiatives that have been employed by the City University within the Information Technology (IT) department is that of the Green Monitor where a computing room has been set up by a group of students aimed at recording data from an environmental perspective (Green Dragons, 2014). This initiative is both effective now and in the long run with wider possible uses in the future. This initiative is currently in its infancy with the wider use under analysis here as to how it can foster green IT going forward.
Monitoring devices created as part of this initiative are used in order to calculate the CO2 emissions within the room itself, and then, using this information, energy consumption can then be ascertained. The aim of this initiative is to ensure that the students and staff across the University understand the impact that each computing hour has on the environment. This is therefore an initiative aimed at improving the environmental position in relation to the IT function and understanding how simple actions such as shutting down the PC at the end of the day or turning down the brightness on a monitor can have an impact on the CO2 emission (Curry et al 2012).
This initiative is an information gathering initiative that allows the University and then wider organisations to monitor the impact of their behaviours in such a way that may influence behaviours in the future. This paper will look at the strategy and concepts associated with power management in green IT before then going on to look at the likely behaviours and changes that are going to ensue as a result of this green IT initiative and then to draw conclusions on the impact of the initiative as the final section of the report.
Power Management Concept within Green IT
The notion of Green IT was established substantially by Murugesan in 2008 stating that Green IT involves a wide range of activities including designing, using and manufacturing not only the use of the computers but also any systems associated with the renewal or purchase of such items so that there is a minimal impact on the environment (Murugesan 2008).
There is a suggested indication from this notion therefore that a monitoring initiative such as the one in discussion here is a suitable area of Green IT and arguably the crucial first step as it is impossible to put in place improvements without understanding the changes and impacts in the first place. A key strategy within this area of Green IT is to put in place approaches and processes that offer greater sustainability.. For example in this case the use of remote monitors within the IT department could then be rolled out to usage in any other department that uses IT or any other item that could be used more effectively to improve sustainability.
It is further noted that in a modern IT system there is a mixture of technology, people, hardware and networks. Therefore any area of Green IT needs to consider all of these factors, for example user behaviours the broader impact on networks and hardware need to also be considered.
Consider for example the Advanced Configuration and Power Interface (ACPI) which is a standard used across the entire industry to allow the operation systems to change and control the way in which the power-saving aspects operate, so that the system to a certain extent manages itself (Therien, 2011). This can be done in an entirely automated way or can allow users to set tolerated levels for example how long until a monitor goes onto ‘energy saver’. These strategies and approaches are critical to the monitoring area as this is ultimately the aim of monitoring so that changes can be put in place to improve overall sustainability.
Possible Uses and Recommendations
Having put in place monitoring through remote sensors the IT department is now able to provide information to the next stage of the network to develop mechanisms that will allow the IT itself to manage and improve the environmental impact that computers have. For example it is shown that CRT monitors use more power than slimmer LCD monitors and having an understanding of links such as this allows the University (and other organisations) to make decisions at the purchasing stage that will impact on what happens in the longer run. Similarly it is noted that LCD monitors will use a cold cathode fluorescent bulb as a general source of light with some of the newer displays using different technologies such as LEDs to ensure that less electricity is used (Infoworld 2009).
Fundamentally the aim of monitoring in this way is to ensure that there is a greater understanding obtained of the usage of electricity by simple activities so that this can then be used to firstly influence user behaviours and secondly can then be used to develop technologies that will create automatic controls within the technology items itself.
In summary this report indicates that one relatively simple initiative of monitoring the electricity usage within an Information Systems laboratory can lead to information which is then vitally important across a wide range of departments. For example understanding that a change in the technology of a monitor can reduce electricity usage and improve sustainability will then allow companies and organisations to change their choice of monitor over a period of time and to train users to amend their use of the monitors by reducing brightness, all of which will come together to improve Green IT across the campus.
Curry, E., Guyon, B, Sheridan, C and Donnellan, B (2012) “Developing a Sustainable IT Capability: Lessons From Intel’s Journey,” MIS Quarterly Executive, vol. 11, no. 2, pp. 61–74.
Green Dragons (2014) City Green Monitor, Available at: http://www.green-dragons.co.uk/projects/citygreenmonitor/
InfoWorld (2009) Green IT. Available at: http://www.infoworld.com/d/green-it/used-pc-strategy-passes-toxic-buck-300?_kip_ipx=1053322433-1267784052&_pxn=0
Murugesan, S (2008) “Harnessing Green IT: Principles and Practices,” IEEE IT Professional, January–February, pp 24-33
Therien, G (2011) “ACPI 2.0 Specification Technical Review, Intel Developer Forum” (ppt). Intel Corporation.