Information technology can have a significant impact on sustainability performance, particularly for an arts and media school with a strong technology focus. Technology impacts Greenhouse Gas emissions and other environmental and social issues in three important ways: energy consumption, resource conservation, and waste generation. Columbia's IT team is aware of these issues and has been working to best manage equipment while maintaining functionality.
What are we doing?
Server Virtualization Project
Columbia's IT department's largest reduction effort to date has been their 5 year plan to virtualize all Information Technology managed servers on campus. As of 2012, two-thirds of IT servers have been switched to virtual servers. Once complete, IT servers will be 95% virtualized with only a few physical "worker" servers remaining. These results will lead to a reduction in electric from running the equipment to the HVAC needed to cool the equipment.
Back to top.
Recycling of electronic equipment must be done in an environmentally conscious way due to heavy metals and other contaminants in hardware. This practice ensures we are in accordance with Illinois State Law SB2106. Before material is sent to be recycled, IT tries to find outlets for materials to be reused on campus only. When materials are at the end of their life, a recycling pick up is scheduled with Vintage Tech Recyclers . Vintage Tech is a local Woman-Owned Business with a focus of keeping materials out of the landfill.
Back to top.
Effective use of IT equipment reduces the need for paper, from printing to storage. Document imaging technology is being utilized where available to digitize files reducing the need to store or print physical materials. Online documents are stored on our Feith database. To date the amount of files stored is equivalent to about 906 file drawers with 3500 documents or 302 three-drawer file cabinets.
Back to top.
IT Green Team
As part of the Sustainability Roadmap, Columbia has created a Green IT Team. The team members consist of staff from our Information Technology department and Columbia's Cheif Information Officer. Below are some of the ideal goals and actions for this team.
The Information Technology Green Team's Goals:
- Complete IT managed server virtualization project by 2015.
- Incorporate energy savings functions on computers in all areas of the college..
- Reduce paper and other technology consumables.
The Information Technology Green Team's Actions:
- Draft sustainable purchasing policy for campus-wide technology.
- Incorporate all production equipment (servers/workstations, lighting, boards, recording equipment) into power saving mode to optimize energy savings.
- Research document imaging options for online document management and storage.