South Africa’s higher education IT sector held its third Green IT special interest group (SIG) webinar today under the auspices of the South African University Directors of Information Technology (ASAUDIT). There were 11 participants from SU, UCT, NMMU, UP, UNISA and UJ. Kimon de Greeff and Charl Souma of the University of Cape Town (UCT) and Adriaan Vorster of the University of Johannesburg (UJ) presented on the following:
- Kimon – UCT’s online car pooling systems for students, RideLink
- Adriaan – UJ’s renovation of its data centre cooling
- Charl – update on UCT’s e-waste initiative
- Charl – UCT’s energy-monitoring system under implementation.
Kimon’s demonstration and explanation of Ridelink highlighted a fine example of how ICT can be employed to drive sustainability on campuses. Key points that were made included:
- students demand a slick, modern user interface, similar to what they’re used to on social networking sites
- employ the social networks that students use, such as Facebook, to enhance Ridelink’s networking function
- provide students with an incentive to car pool, or share rides, by giving registered Ridelink members access to premium parking on campus.
Here is Ridelink’s promotional video:
Adriaan’s presentation on how UJ improved cooling and energy efficiency in its data centre emphasised the value of an engineering approach to solving problems. Here the eventual technical solution was driven by measurement and understanding of the thermal dynamics of the data centre. So far a 37% improvement in energy efficiency has been achieved, although the solution is as yet not optimal. The relatively large capital investment will pay back within 5 or 6 years, however.
For ASAUDIT members, the presentation can be downloaded from here. If you’re unsure of credentials, let me know.
Charl reported on how UCT’s “Let’s get WAST-(Ed)” e-waste campaign is gathering momentum. A great deal of the success appears to be attributed to ICTS’ partnership with the e-Waste Alliance, who have engaged with campus building managers and arranged individualised collection schedules, etc. Between April and September this year, 7.5 tons of e-waste were removed from campus.
Finally, Charl gave an online demo of UCT’s PowerStar online energy monitoring system, whch currently monitors UCT’s ICTS building and the two data centres. It will be expanded to monitor 160 campus buildings in time. No decision has been made as yet regarding energy monitoring in university residences.
I would like to express my thanks once again to the presenters for their time and effort in sharing with us. We aim to run the next webinar in early 2011 and welcome suggestions of topics.
If you would like to be informed about ASAUDIT Green IT SIG activities and future webinars, contact me at ralph [at] sun dot ac dot za.