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Posts Tagged ‘carbon footprint’

ICT Building post-occupancy survey report

Tuesday, June 7th, 2016

The IT Division took occupancy of its new, green building in October 2015. The event was preceded by months of interventions aimed at preparing staff for the change, not only of location, but also of work style and culture. After the dust and the emotions had settled, we ran a post-occupancy survey in April of this year. The raw, aggregate results may be viewed here:

Post-occupancy ICT building survey report (pdf)

There are many interesting conclusions to be made, one of which is that although concerns over personal and storage space were vocally expressed before the move, the vast majority of staff is quite satisfied.

We intend to repeat the survey in future in order to “take the temperature” and track whether the operation of the building, as an integral part of our work system, is improving.

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…)

Solar PV energy for new IT building?

Friday, September 20th, 2013

Construction on the IT Division’s new building commences early in 2014. In line with the goal of constructing and operating a “green” building, the IT Division has, along with the Facilities Management Division, ensured that the design incorporates the necessary for solar PV arrays on the roof and integration into the energy supply. IT has requested the Centre for Renewable and Sustainable Energy Studies (CRSES) to model solar power generation for the building and to calculate the financial pay back period.

The intention is that, based on the models, the IT Division will approach the Finance Division for a loan to incorporate solar energy generation into the building construction project.

UCT follows Stellenbosch U with rideshare cloud service

Monday, January 28th, 2013

Rumour has it that our peers across the Cape Flats have also signed up with FindaLift’s rideshare service. UCT was the pioneer in launching an online  rideshare – or lift club – service for students and staff with RideLink some years ago. The software behind RideLink was specially developed for UCT at the time. It now appears that they have decided to migrate to FindaLift’s cloud service.

FindaLift offers a closed rideshare system to institutions such as universities that allows students and staff to advertise and find lifts to, from and on campus while helping to ensure their safety and privacy. Stellenbosch University launched its rideshare service, as part of its Mobility Plan which seeks to create more sustainable campus transport options, last year. Maties FindaLift – http://maties.findalift.co.za – may be accessed by current students and staff and requires a valid university email address to register with.

Although Stellenbosch is still regarded as a residential campus, the reality is that a significant proportion of the student body commutes to campus on a daily basis.

SU launches rideshare “cloud” service

Friday, September 7th, 2012

Here is an example of how information technology can be leveraged to contribute to a sustainable campus. A lift club (or rideshare) scheme has been launched on campus that uses a cloud-based, closed rideshare service from FindaLift.

FindaLift screenshot

Stellenbosch University encourages the combined use of a range of transport options, including walking, cycling, campus shuttle services, lift clubs and public transport, to establish a sustainable and environmentally friendly campus and town, as part of its comprehensive Matie Mobility Master Plan.

With Maties FindaLift students and staff can advertise and find lifts using a Google Maps interface. Access to the free service  is limited to users who possess a valid Stellenbosch University email address. The fact that the service is closed to the university community goes some way to assuaging safety concerns and ensuring a trusted environment.

The service merely puts members of the community who have rides to share into contact with members who need lifts. But it is important to read the terms and conditions and the excellent FAQs.

The interesting thing about Maties FindaLift is that its use is not limited to students and staff on the main Stellenbosch campus, but could be used in the vicinity of the Bellville Park, Tygerberg, Saldanha and Worcester campuses as well – and potentially “anywhere in the world” where groups of Maties may be interested in sharing lifts.

The Mobility Plan and Sustainable IT

Tuesday, February 28th, 2012

What on earth has the newly unveiled university Mobility Plan to do with information and communications technology? Quite a bit actually. It is another example of how ICT can be an enabler for sustainability elsewhere on campus – the third leg of Sustainable IT.

(more…)

Sustainability or Green Reporting

Friday, December 9th, 2011

Information technology can enable the achievement of sustainability goals on campus in many ways, including by providing sustainability assessment and reporting tools. More than two years ago when students initiated and drove the population of a “sustainability scorecard”  with the purpose of conducting a sustainability assessment and setting the bar, information technology played an insignificant role. The scorecard was presented to management but never published and there has been no subsequent assessment.

Recently, however, the request came to the IT Division to investigate the local market for carbon footprint assessment and reporting tools. A very brief report on sustainability reporting (pdf) was prepared and submitted. It briefly explores the world of sustainability and integrated reporting, considers reporting frameworks and standards (such as the GHG Protocol, Global Reporting Initiative, STARS (a framework for higher education) etc.), and reviews a sample of sustainability management suites and tools.

Finally it recommends that:

…any choice of a sustainability application suite should be delayed until the university’s sustainability strategy has been determined.

… that it is necessary for the university to select and implement a sustainability assessment and reporting framework in order to identify sustainability indicators, help it develop its strategy, assess progress, report to stakeholders and benchmark against similar institutions.

The recommended assessment and reporting framework is the Association for the Advancement of Sustainability in Higher Education’s (AASHE) Sustainability, Tracking and Rating System (STARS). Stellenbosch University is an international member of AASHE.

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…)

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….

(more…)

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.