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Green Computing

Lab Upgrades

Computer Energy Use SavingsDuring the summer of 2009, the Hampshire College IT department replaced 85 computer lab workstations in the library, Natural Science (NS), and Cognitive Science (CS) departments. These upgrades cut the overall energy use of these workstations in half.
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lab workstation Most of the new systems purchased were Mac Mini’s. We chose the Mini because it’s versatile (it can be attached to any type of external monitor), economical, and has a very small footprint, both physically and in terms of energy use.

We also replaced the CRT monitors in the labs with LCD flat-panel displays, which use half the energy. This includes a number of all-in-one models of Macs such as the eMac or iMac, which have a CRT monitor and CPU bundled as a single unit.

For our higher-powered computers in CS and NS we replaced PowerMac G5s with Mac Pros. The Mac Pros are much more powerful but use half the electrical energy of the G5 model.

We've utilized a feature of the new computers that enable us to further reduce overnight energy consumption by setting them to shut down when the buildings close. Both monitors and computers have energy-savers settings enabled and will go into sleep mode after being idle for a short time.

Reuse and Recycling

As a result of the lab upgrades, the old equipment was no longer needed, but remained functional. In an effort to keep working equipment out of the landfills and recycling centers, we organized a donation program and gave many computers to a local non-profit organization and also gave a number of machines to Hampshire employees and students for home use. Non-functional items were recycled through the Five Colleges recycling program.

Limiting Printing and Recycling Paper
Hampshire has a pay-for-print system for our lab printers and public copiers. This means items do not actually print until the students pay for and authorize the print job. This significantly reduces wasted paper, energy consumption, and toner replacement. Duplex settings are the default for the public printers and copiers, as well as all staff computers, which further reduces paper consumption.

Hampshire works to provide the community with tools that allow paper-based acitivities to move online, including:

  • Moodle - a course management system which allows faculty and students to share and collaborate on electronic documents and assignments
  • Community websites - a space for community members to share electronic documents
  • TheHub - provides access to administrative functions such as e-billing, online timecard processing and paystubs, budget reports, course evaluations and registration, and divisional contracts and evaluations.
  • DSpace - a place for students to submit their Division III work to be archived

Recycling bins are placed prominently in all computing labs.

Server Virtualization
IT operates approximately 109 servers. As stand-alone machines with 300w power supply, these would collectively use 785kwH of electricity per day, or 286,452 kwH per year, costing the college $33,200 annually. By virtualizing or consolodating multiple servers onto a single physical server, IT only has to operate 20 servers instead of 109. This saves the college 233,892kwH per year, or $27,100 annually. That energy reduction eliminates 161 metric tons of CO2 (carbon dioxide) emissions from the atmosphere annually. This is the equivalent annual emissions from 31 cars or 375 barrels of oil.

What You Can Do

  • Activate your computer’s power management features so that it enters low energy mode (sleep or standby) when idle. See About Energy Saver sleep and idle modes in Mac OS X for Mac instructions. Windows 7 power saving tips can be found at Windows 7 Power Management.
  • Turn off your computer at night or when you leave the office for extended periods.
  • A power strip that powers your computer, printer, router, and other equipment will allow you to turn off everything with the flick of one switch. Be careful, though, not to overload your powerstrip.
  • Remember to unplug battery chargers and power adapters when they finish charging or are not in use.
  • Turn off monitors when they're not in use. A CRT monitor (the old, bulky type of monitor) uses approximately 80% of the energy in a desktop system, and an LCD monitor (flat panel) uses about half that of a CRT. Even if you don’t plan to turn off the computer, consider turning off the monitor for a little extra savings.
  • Screen savers do not save power; they were developed as a way to avoid screen burn-in, and can actually cause a computer to use more power. Instead of using a screen saver, consider using sleep/standby settings. If security is an issue, OS X and Windows have settings that allow you to require a password on wake. On a Mac you can find this setting in System Preferences-->Security, and on a PC it's in Control Panel/Power Options Properties/Advanced.

Contact Us

Information Technology
Harold F. Johnson Library Center
Hampshire College
893 West Street
Amherst, MA 01002
Fax 413.559.5419

© 2014 Hampshire College 893 West Street Amherst, MA 01002 . 413.549.4600