Sustainable Computing

A Greener Approach to Computing

As part of UNC Asheville’s sustainability efforts, ITS has made the following efforts towards environmentally responsbile computing:

  • Configuration of faculty, staff, and lab computer hardware to meet or exceed  Energy Star and/or EPEAT Gold standards.
  • Our standard computer configurations include the most power efficient CPU and power supply options available.
  • Configuration of faculty, staff, and lab computer software to reduce energy consumption when not in use.
  • We engage vendors, such as Dell and Apple, who actively participate in programs to mitigate the environmental effects of computing and e-waste.
  • We have moved to leasing most faculty, staff, and lab computers and servers.
  • We have moved to a 4-year refresh cycle for faculty,staff, and lab computers. When compared to a common 3-year refresh cycle this means that we save more than 100 computers worth of e-waste per year.
  • We have implemented a “one machine per FTE” refresh program to reduce the total number of computers on campus. Our estimate is that this will save 5-10 computers worth of e-waste per year.
  • We offer laptops as a default package option for faculty users.
  • We have moved to LCD displays wherever possible.
  • We have consolidated the majority of campus servers into a VMware virtualized server environment or engaged off-campus hosted server solutions, such as Google Apps. This results in fewer physical computers in the campus server room (less e-waste) as well as significantly less electricity and heating/cooling used to run campus systems.

Sustainable Computing Around Campus

ITS also works with other campus organizations towards greener computing:

  • We have worked with the Student Environmental Center and SGA to advocate duplex printing and facilitated duplex printing where possible across campus.
  • We have worked with the Copy Center/Finance office to make the most of the available networked multi-function devices (copier, printer, scanner, fax) and advocated scan-to-email in place of printing.
  • We have worked with the OneCard office to provide a print conservation/pay-for-print system for lab printing. Common metrics estimate up to a 50-60% reduction in printing under this sort of system.
  • Prior to pay-for-print we had implemented a page count-based limitation on print jobs in campus computer labs. This limits individual print jobs to 50 pages or less. In the past it would not be uncommon for us to find several hundred pages of a print job left on the printer unclaimed and wasted.
  • ITS has been an early adopter of the Bulldog Buyways electronic purchasing system. This should significantly reduce the paper consumption associated with purchasing everything from pencils to computers.

Future Efforts

Future efforts in the area of sustainable computing will involve:

  • Electronic document management. Can significantly reduce the amount of paper and toner used and the number of printers need on campus.
  • Consolidation of printing devices. Instead of a desktop printer for every individual ITS encourages users and departments to consolidate their printing on to more cost efficient and less wasteful departmental printers and copiers.
  • Scan to email. ITS works in collaboration with the Copy Center/One Card office to provide scan-to-email services wherever a multi-function printer/scanner/copied is available. These devices are available in some areas of campus now; future efforts will seek to make scan to email available to all campus printing stations.