Whether you’re following the formal seven steps of the Eco Schools programme, keen to do more with sustainability within the school, or just want to save a load of money each year – there’s no bad reason to want to become more environmentally aware within a school.
Technology can be one of the main ways for your school to do more for our planet, and get the warm satisfaction of some serious penny pinching along the way.
Here are some ideas to consider:
Servers can often be one of the main energy drains within an organisation, especially if they’re a good few years old. Moving to cloud services is a great way to green yourself up. Cloud data centres are super-efficient in their operation, A study in the US by Northwestern University found server utilisation rates were typically 6-12%. Cloud service providers use power intelligently, resources made available when you need them and are made available elsewhere when they’re not. Economically, you only pay for what you use too rather than having a big box in the corner rinsing your energy bill.
If going cloud isn’t right for you, or maybe a step too far at the moment, one way to reduce your IT costs is to look at converged platforms. Keeping things simple, a converged platform is when your data storage and server is all in one box, instead of separate.
Depending on the technology used, it’s not uncommon to see total cost of ownership savings in excess of 40%, and a lot of that comes from green savings as you don’t have loads of power hungry machines in the server room. Nutanix (a US headquartered business that is big on this stuff) claims 40% reductions in total cost of ownership. And from what we’ve seen from our own Integrum platform, that reduction is relatively common.
Academy trusts can look at centralising their IT. Having a converged piece of hardware like this and creating a private cloud, where the infrastructure is based at the trust or lead school, for schools take their services over the internet form is one for all trusts to look at. Not only does this save energy and money compared to a traditional onsite model at each school, it also makes providing a great computing experience across all schools a hell of a lot easier.
Print management and MDS
Print management is probably the most boring, but striking way to become more eco focused. The Wild West approach to printing, where anything goes, doesn’t just cost your organisation a tonne more money than it needs to. All of that unnecessary consumption uses unnecessary paper, ink and electricity. In the US, over350 million ink and toner cartridges are lobbed out annually. Ink cartridges in landfills can take up to a millennium to decompose, as they contain resin. Getting an external company to manage it all for you and put controls in place can save you a loads of money and send you way on the way to becoming an eco-school through technology. If you’re thinking ‘way ahead of you there buddy, I’m already doing this’ then take a look at MDS (Managed Document Solutions), which can reduce or even remove the need to print.
Everyone gets excited when there’s the sniff of a new tech investment. But what happens with the old stuff? Making sure your unwanted IT equipment is properly disposed of is not only an environmental concern, it’s also a security concern too. Disposing of tech properly will give you peace of mind there’s no constituent data left behind, in addition to boosting your green credentials. It can often give you a nice little earn too if the kit’s in good nick. The amount of people we hear drilling through hard drives then putting them to landfill is still quite scary. Suffice to say, aside from possibly getting shrapnel stuck in your face, it isn’t a great way to make sure data is properly disposed of. Putting precious metals and toxic materials in the ground isn’t good for any of us either environmentally.
Our IT recycling facility runs a zero landfill scheme. We try to reduce as much as we can. The stuff that can’t be given a new lease of life is crushed down to its constituent parts and enters the supply chain elsewhere.
Regardless of which direction technology go in, the drive to become more sustainable is likely to be a big factor. If you’re considering becoming an eco-school, or just want to get greener and save some money, then we can help.