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Going Green: Small Steps, Big Impact

A University Business Web Seminar Digest (Originally presented April 7, 2011)

The green movement focuses on four factors: clean energy, energy efficiency, environmentally friendly production, and the conservation and reduction of waste materials. Information technology offices at institutions can exercise great control in energy efficiency benefitting not only the institution, but the surrounding community as well.

Karli Green, Senior Product Manager, Campus Management:

"Pilot programs at many institutions show that you can save money and the environment at the same time.

Flat is good. By replacing old CRT monitors you get both a cost savings and a reduction in energy as well.


There are many benefits to going green, including the cost savings and reduction of environmental waste. It is easy to become focused on the dollars we can save, but reduction of waste in our communities and environmental improvements are just as important."

Here are four small steps your institution can consider to start making an impact.

Switch to LCD/flat screen monitors. Replacing CRTs with LCDs can significantly reduce energy costs. A CRT uses 160 watts per hour while an LCD uses 35 watts. For each LCD deployed, 365,000 watts are saved each year. Multiply that out with your local utility rate and you'll see real savings in the range of $60 per year per monitor. LCDs also save on carbon dioxide emissions. A UC Berkeley pilot of 150 deployed LCDs produced $4,300 per year in emissions savings alone. LED monitors are another option. As a newer technology, they are more expensive, but are even more energy efficient, utilizing less than 20 watts per hour.

Establish policies to put your computers to sleep during idle time periods.

A sleeping PC uses less than 10 percent of the power used by an active one; a laptop uses only 1-2 percent of battery power. Some university pilot programs show how this can add up:

  • At Indiana University School of Education, a pilot "sleep study" projected a savings of $500,000 per year.
  • Yale University conducted a pilot using 105 computers and estimated per computer savings of $40 per year.
  • The University of Oregon projected its annual cost savings on 12,000 computers to be $360,000.
  • The University of Hawaii projected that powering down all 10,000 networked PCs each night would save $1.5 million per year.

If you think you are achieving the same results by having screen savers activated, think again. A computer running a screen saver uses virtually the same amount of power as an active one and it can prevent a computer from entering sleep mode. With new monitors, you should disable or remove the screen savers.

Use Smart Strips. These are a step up from standard surge protectors. They utilize a control slot to shut down other connected devices when the control device is shut down. This eliminates the power draining of devices that takes place even if they are turned off?just because they are plugged in.

Deploy power management software. This can help maintain facility energy policies by scheduling managed computer power-downs or sleep cycles around maintenance windows and work time. Institutions that have deployed power management systems have saved anywhere from $50,000 at Howard Community College to $400,000 at Stanford University.

Mercer University, a private institution in Georgia, is an example of a facility that has made a commitment to conserving energy and supporting individual projects on campus. Mercer is piloting the use of thin-client systems to ultimately replace nearly 1,000 desktops. Thin clients are not only energy efficient, but also smaller, so they produce less electronic waste that must be removed. The university has also partnered with the Department of Defense to recycle or dispose of the electronic waste.

Going green involves everyone working together. It's important to use your notification systems, such as Talisma CRM or the constituent relationship management program you use, to inform and educate your faculty, staff , and students. Utilize the tools you have on campus to generate awareness, provide information, create excitement and anticipation, and create buy-in and adoption of your program.

To view this web seminar in its entirety, please visit