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What's Your Carbon Footprint? Sustainability and Green IT Initiatives That Make a Difference  - Notes

What's Your Carbon Footprint? Sustainability and Green IT Initiatives That Make a Difference  - Notes

Southwest Regional Conference (2009) Closing general session

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  • Ann Kovalchick,  Deputy CIO, Tulane University


  • Elizabeth Davey, Director of the Office of Environmental Affairs, Tulane University
  • Ed Kelty, Vice President/CIO Information Services, Rio Salado College
  • Pattie Orr, VP for IT and Dean of University Libraries, Baylor University


Supporting our institutions’ sustainability efforts and responses to climate change will be a key role for higher education IT in the decades to come. Do you know your carbon footprint? Do you know what it will take to reach climate neutrality? Whose responsibility is it on your campus? What can IT do that has high impact? What best practices are emerging for IT units? Three leaders for campus sustainability and green initiatives will provide a framework for your own participation in critical discussions and actions on your campus.

Ann Kovalchick provided an introduction including a description of the matrix of sustainability projects that was developed for an ECAR report by Don Spicer and Suresh Balakrishnan of the University System of Maryland. The matrix places green IT projects in to the easy to hard to do against the low to high impact of success.  Copies of the matrix were distributed at the session. 

The panelists each described the biggest Green IT challenges and successes at their institutions.

Tulane – Liz Davey

Greatest challenge – recycling electronic equipment

Greatest success – energy saving strategies – including an Energy Star showcase dorm.

Rio Salado – Ed Kelty

Greatest challenge – communication and understanding of issues – including the differences in “sustainable” vs “green”

Greatest success – two things – 1) distance education (600 courses online, simulated labs and more, almost no in-person requirements, 2) virtualization

Baylor – Pattie Orr

Greatest challenge – Communication – (many constituencies, people don’t read)

Greatest success – double-sided printing

ECAR Sustainability Matrix

Clickers were used to identify what campuses are doing now in each quadrant of the matrix.  There was a big bump at “Virtualization” about 91%

Key efforts might be:

•         Lead change (develop strategic implementation)

•         Provide analytic tools (reporting, tracking, measuring)

•         Provide technical insight (advise  & educate according to business needs)

NOTE – a next step coming right up:

IT Power Management Summit:
An educational webinar brought to you by The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency ENERGY STAR Program and The Climate Savers Computing Initiative
Date: March 30, 2009
Time: 12pm–2pm ET / 9am–11am PT<>

Q & A

Regarding Data center savings – are there tools for metering so you can get data?

Yes – there are tools.  These and other resources have been discussed  on the new constituent group’s  “”

Suggestion is to use pilot projects to collect some data before scaling upward.

Good data is needed.

However, the crisis we are in now indicates that we need to get to at least the low hanging fruit as quickly as possible while we work towards other efforts – do it, if you can…

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