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Archive for the ‘Energy efficiency’ Category

New IT building: What is a Place of Work?

Thursday, December 12th, 2013

Our fairly intensive participation in the design process for the new IT building got me thinking about what a place of work is and why a knowledge New IT building NW perspectiveorganisation, like an IT division, would have one. The new building is essentially an office building: it will not house technical infrastructure such as the data centre, but will be the place of work for the division’s engineers, system administrators, technicians, architects, analysts, software developers, managers, etc.

Besides the admittedly exciting “green” design features, such as the vertical garden, optimal orientation, solar PV panels, rainwater harvesting, bicycle store, and various other efficiency elements that will make it far more energy-efficient  and sustainable than other buildings of its type, the other intriguing possibility that it presents is the opportunity to influence change in the culture of the IT division. The catalyst for this “change of culture” could be the university’s new norms that require that all new office buildings be “open plan”. For an organisation that has become accustomed to being housed for the past 25 years in what can only be described as a “rabbit warren” of cellular offices leading off dark, desolate corridors, this is a radical departure. There seems to be much trepidation and negativity about our “open plan” future, some of which at least is simply related to humans’ default discomfort with change of any sort 1. (more…)

New electricity meters in the main data centre

Friday, September 20th, 2013

The IT Division, with the help of Facilities Management, has installed two new energy meters in the main data centre (DC) that will enable us to monitor energy consumed by all equipment within the DC, including the cooling and ventilation systems. The meters will enable us to calculate the Power Usage Effectiveness (PUE) of the DC, which is the ratio of energy consumed by all equipment to that consumed by computing and networking equipment.

The DC’s PUE is in the range 2 to 2.5 depending on external ambient temperature. This means that for every watt going to the computers, another watt or more is going to cooling and ventilation equipment. Various interventions will be undertaken to reduce PUE and minimise energy consumption. At present the DC consumes between 1.1 and 1.3 GWh per annum and the energy bill is now the responsibility of the IT Division.

Under the new electricity accounting regime, the monetary value of energy savings will accrue to the IT Division for one year, and can be invested in further energy efficiency.

SA Green IT SIG Webinar 3

Friday, November 19th, 2010

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:

  1. Kimon – UCT’s online car pooling systems for students, RideLink
  2. Adriaan – UJ’s renovation of its data centre cooling
  3. Charl – update on UCT’s e-waste initiative
  4. Charl – UCT’s energy-monitoring system under implementation.


Green IT versus real-world IT Practice?

Friday, July 9th, 2010

Forrester Research has noted a trend where companies are recognising the strong linkages between so-called Green IT initiatives and the more traditional IT priorities of more efficient usage of IT assets, cost-savings, improved resilience, customer satisfaction, etc. In fact, IT executives report less and less emphasis on “doing the right thing” and regulatory compliance as drivers for Green IT, and growing emphasis on lowering operating and energy costs and improving the resilience and reliability of IT infrastructure.

Read the article here

SA Green IT SIG Webinar 2

Friday, April 30th, 2010

South Africa’s higher education sector held its second Green IT special interest group (SIG) webinar yesterday under the auspices of the South African University Directors of Information Technology (ASAUDIT).  There were 13 participants from SU, UCT, NMMU and RU. Charl Souma of the University of Cape Town (UCT) and Dolf Krige from Stellenbosch University (SU) each gave a slide and audio presentation on sustainable IT initiatives on their respective campuses via Adobe Connect’s webinar infrastructure. (more…)

Preparing to pay for data centre energy usage

Friday, March 5th, 2010

Last week Dolf Krige of the Facilities Management Division presented their plan for monitoring, measuring and managing energy use on campus to the Sustainable IT Competency Centre group. Essentially the first phase implementation comes down to installing 87 intelligent energy meters during 2010 – with the goal of devolving the cost of electrical energy usage, which is currently centrally funded, to departments and divisions. Devolution of electricity costs will concentrate minds and promote energy efficiency because the financial savings will accrue to the user entity.


Syracuse U builds greenest data centre?

Monday, January 4th, 2010

Syracuse University and IBM have designed and built a Green Data Center that will not only house the university’s ICT infrastrastructure, but also double as an energy efficiency laboratory. It is expected to consume 50% less energy than a conventional DC:

Preliminary PUE results for SU’s data centre

Thursday, December 17th, 2009

Continuous energy measurements in Stellenbosch University’s main data centre (DC) have been taking place since April this year. We now have minute-by-minute data spanning the coldest season and some summer months – and the results are starting to become interesting. (more…)

Energy star rating the way to go?

Thursday, July 23rd, 2009

An interesting post on the BCS ethics blog discusses whether we should rely solely on ratings such as energy star?


“Is the Energy Star rating the be-all and end-all in terms of your green credentials? Melvyn Wray of Allied Telesis discusses the ways in which manufacturers can improve the green credentials of their products.”

Power Options implemented on all IT Windows XP domain workstations.

Thursday, May 28th, 2009

We implemented GPO policy scripts on all IT Windows XP workstations that are part of the STB domain.

The script implements the following settings:
1. Monitor time out after 30 minutes if running on AC Power.
2. Disk time out after 60 minutes if running on AC Power. The disks are completely stopped.
3. System Standby after 120 minutes if running on AC Power.

A further implementation will be to Hibernate after 180 minutes if running on AC Power.

The current script will not change Power Schemes on any Vista or later Operating Systems. For Windows Vista and later Operating Systems, we will implement GPO policy templates. This will be implemented at a later stage.

How IT can help cut carbon emissions

Monday, May 18th, 2009

While wrestling with carbon emission abatement in writing an assignment on future renewable energy scenarios as part of my studies, I came across an interesting report from McKinsey & Co about the IT sector’s potential to help to reduce carbon emissions. (more…)

Buying the right, green PC

Wednesday, April 15th, 2009

Greener computing does not simply mean minimising energy consumption of the PC during its operational life, but also during its full lifecycle from “cradle to grave”. It also means minimising material throughput i.e. recycling and re-using, and disposing of hazardous e-waste responsibly. So while much of this blog and a big part of our sustainable IT campaign is focused on energy efficiency in operations and e-waste, it is also important to review our PC procurement policies. (more…)

Energy meters now running in the Data Centre

Tuesday, April 14th, 2009

Our IP energy meters are up and running in the University data centre, thanks to the efforts of Conrad Bright and Christiaan Brand. We will now watch the results and learn about the DC’s consumption. The one meter measures total supply to the DC, while the other measures output from the UPSs (i.e. power to computing equipment). The meters started logging at around midnight. The night was cool and the servers not that busy, yet it seems that PUE was in the range 2 to 2.2 (roughly). This means that for every watt going to the computers, another is going to the aircons. It will be interesting to see how it changes as the day heats up.

Next steps are to a) provide a dashboard on this blog and b) correlate readings with local weather data.

Video: Adobe’s green HQ

Thursday, April 9th, 2009

Greenmonk reports that Adobe’s HQ in San Jose, California, has achieved triple platinum certification in LEED (Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design). Watch the fascinating video:

Printing footprint @ Stellenbosch University

Friday, March 27th, 2009

Further to Le Roux’s post – which indicates an average annual printing volume of 16 million pages on our network printers – I ran the numbers through HP’s carbon calculator (in this post). The results are … sort of scary….


Earth Hour

Wednesday, March 25th, 2009

Sign up and switch off your lights this Earth Hour.

Sign up now and become part of what could be the single most powerful demonstration of global solidarity on any matter in the history of the planet.

By signing up, you are pledging to switch off your lights on Saturday, 28 March 2009 at 8:30pm. Your name will form part of a 1 billion-strong petition that will be sent to the Climate Change Conference in Copenhagen at the end of the year to put pressure on world leaders to pass legislation on climate change.

Go to the following web address and sign up. http://www.earthhour.org.za/?refer=7654e48bb44182f477264e243e2572ea (more…)

Microsoft relaunches Green IT site

Friday, March 20th, 2009

Microsoft recently launched it’s new-look Environment site, including a Green IT section which focuses on energy and cost savings. White papers, case studies, energy calculators and solutions deal with energy savings in the data centre and on the desktop – and also with the benefits of using online collaboration tools instead of long-distance travel to meetings.

Printing carbon footprint calculator

Thursday, February 26th, 2009

Here’s a useful tool for calculating the carbon, energy and cost impacts of printing solutions. As we know printing volumes on campus are enormous – and enormously wasteful. This calculator helps you calculate the environmental and cost impact, obviously shows the savings and lower impacts to be realised with HP gear, and compares their solutions with those of competitors. What is really nice is that it can be localised for South African Rands and energy costs.

Activating Power Management on PCs saves money

Thursday, February 5th, 2009

Gartner has published an article that shows that by simply activating power management on PCs, an organisation of 2500 PCs can save 43% of the power consumed by those PCs (433 MWh), which translates to an annual saving of about R240 000 in South African terms. Furthermore, planned Eskom tariff increases will escalate these savings rapidly. (more…)

Building a green data centre

Thursday, January 8th, 2009

Here’s an interesting post from Tom Raftery at GreenMonk with practical tips about building an energy-efficient data centre:

One of the low hanging fruit in our DC design was going for cold aisle containment. This simply involves sealing the cold aisle (roof, doors and blanking panels) … this stops air mixing and avoids the warm air from the servers heating the cold air you have just spent a fortune cooling.


Source super efficient UPS’ … these UPS’ operate at up to 98.4% efficiency. That is a massive improvement over traditional UPS’ which were typically only around 75% efficient.


Typical data centers operate at 19-21C (66.2-69.8F) but in conversations I have had in recent months with HP, Sun, Dell and IBM all have said their equipment will operate no problem in data centers at temperatures of 25C (77F)…