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Green Computing: The Environmental Impact of Desktop Computing Catherine Steeves Associate Chief Librarian, ITS Gillian Maurice Sustainability Coordinator University of Guelph Presentation to OLA – February 1, 2007 What is Green Computing ?

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green computing the environmental impact of desktop computing
Green Computing: The Environmental Impact of Desktop Computing

Catherine Steeves

Associate Chief Librarian, ITS

Gillian Maurice

Sustainability Coordinator

University of Guelph

Presentation to OLA – February 1, 2007

what is green computing
What is Green Computing?
  • The positive (or least negative) relationship between the physical computer and its impact to the environments in which it moves through from cradle to grave
green computing why
Green Computing – Why?
  • Growing public environmental awareness
  • Increasing impacts on environmental and human health
  • Corporate social responsibility
cradle to grave approach
Cradle to Grave Approach
  • Full life-cycle analysis, not just the product on our desks
  • Looks at:
    • Manufacturing
    • Use during lifetime
    • Disposal and reallocation
manufacturing fossil fuels
Manufacturing – Fossil Fuels
  • Average desktop computer with monitor requires 10 times its weight in chemicals and fossil fuels to produce
  • 240 kg of fossil fuel for CRT monitor (United Nations University)
  • 266 kg of fossil fuel for LCD monitor (Williams, 2003)
manufacturing monitors
Manufacturing– Monitors
  • CRT – lead and zinc leachate mean monitors are hazardous waste (Lee et al., 2004)
    • Lead: bioavailable in soil - can attack proteins and DNA, as well as interfere with nervous system function (Bechara, 2004; Needleman, 2004)
  • LCD – 4-12 mg mercury /unit (Williams, 2003)
  • Liquid crystals – polycyclic or halogenated aromatic hydrocarbons, 588 different compounds
    • 4% have potential for acute toxicity, but show no mutagenic effects in bacteria tests(Williams, 2003)
manufacturing other toxins
Manufacturing – Other Toxins
  • PBDE – similar structures to PCB and DDT
    • Bioavailable, environmentally persistent, biomagnifies in blood, fatty and liver tissue (Domingo, 2004)
  • Extraction impacts – refining of petroleum for energy and plastic, mining and smelting of metals
  • Solvents in microchip fabrication – hydrochloric acid, hydrofluoric acid, arsenic, benzene and hexavalent chromium(Williams, 2003)
use environmental impacts
Use – Environmental Impacts
  • Electricity consumption for desktops and peripherals
    • 120W CRT+CPU; more for older machines

Ontario Ministry of Energy, 2005

use environmental impacts9
Use – Environmental Impacts
  • Fossil fuel power – Greenhouse gas emissions, mercury atmospheric pollution, SOX and NOX lead to acid rain and smog formation
  • Nuclear power – difficulties with long term management of radioactive wastes
disposal electronic waste
Disposal – Electronic Waste
  • Short product life expectancy (2-4 years)
  • Same toxins in manufacturing process can cause environmental contamination
  • Human health risks
  • Lead, barium, chromium, CNS disruptors etc. (Baul, 2002)
  • Human rights problems – “Exporting harm”
e waste impacts in china
E-waste Impacts in China

Photos Courtesy of Basel Action Network

manufacturing good news
Manufacturing – Good News
  • Greener technology
    • PBDE-free plastic
    • lead-free soldering
    • fewer toxic solvents
    • Plastics labelled with recycling codes
    • Less material used
  • Independent certification bodies e.g.TCO, Nordic Swan, EU Eco-label
use good news
Use – Good News
  • New technology often more energy efficient
    • Laptop 15W total
    • LCD system: 80W total
    • CRT system: down to 120W from 270W
  • Independent certification bodies e.g., TCO, Nordic Swan, EU Eco-label
  • Energy saver features are now standard
waste good news
Waste – Good News
  • Recycling
    • Metal recovery
    • Semi-precious metal recovery
  • Stewardship pledge (Basel Action Network)
university of guelph campus
University of Guelph Campus
  • 110,000,000 kWh of electricity
  • 4,700 homes
  • 9.2 million dollars
  • 32,800 tonnes of carbon dioxide per year, or over 7,000 cars (in one year)
breaking down electricity
Breaking Down Electricity
  • 50% mechanical
  • 35% lighting
  • 15% plug-load
  • Where can we find efficiencies?

15% = $1.38 million, 4,900 GHG, 1200 cars

finding efficiencies
Finding Efficiencies
  • Sustainability Office commissioned study to look at environmental impacts of computers on campus
  • Report released: Environmental Impact of Computer Information Technology in an Institutional Setting: A Case Study at the University of Guelph
  • President asked the CIO to strike a task force
green computing task force
Green Computing Task Force
  • Terms of Reference
    • Identify green computing best practices
    • Examine computing procurement guidelines
    • Identify energy conservation strategies and practices
    • Identify equipment disposal procedures
    • Recommend a campus awareness program
task force members
Task Force Members:
  • Aiden Abram, Student Representative to ISC
  • Gillian Maurice, Sustainability Coordinator, Physical Resources
  • Blair Nonnecke, Associate Professor, Computing and Information Science
  • Catherine Steeves, Chair, Associate Chief Librarian for Information Technology Services
  • Dale Stevanus, Manager, Purchasing Services
  • Jeff Walker, Systems Support Manager, Library
university of guelph policy on environmental protection
University of GuelphPolicy on Environmental Protection
  • Acknowledges a responsibility for and a commitment to protection of the environment on a continuous improvement basis
  • Promotes and supports environmental management policies and environmentally responsible practices at every level and every department
  • Is committed to minimizing environmental impacts arising from the university’s activitiesUniversity of Guelph - Environmental Health and Safety’sPolicy on Health and Safety 851.01.01
best practices policy
Best Practices – Policy
  • Northland College Sustainability Mission Statement
  • Sustainable Development Policy for the Association of Canadian Community Colleges

International Institute for Sustainable Development Sustainable Campus Policy Bank

recommendation campus policy
Recommendation – Campus Policy
  • Although beyond the scope of this task group, it is recommended thatthe University revisit its policies and consider the creation of an institutional environmental mandate to build a strong foundation for green policies, initiatives and program
current context computer procurement
Current Context – Computer Procurement
  • Typical computer procurement selection criteria :
    • functionality and specifications required by the user
    • commercial aspects that offer best value (best combination of functionality, price, service and other desired criteria)
    • compatibility with existing equipment and use
best practices computer procurement
Best Practices – Computer Procurement
  • Trent University’s Environmental Procurement Policy
  • McMaster University’s Responsible Purchasing Statement/Commitment to Safety and the Environment
recommendations computer procurement
Recommendations – Computer Procurement
  • Purchasing Services develop a green purchasing policy for computers
    • Companies which manufacture and operate in environmentally sensitive ways
    • Manufacture to electrical efficiency standards
    • R&D to improve products’ environmental impact
best practice disposal
Best Practice - Disposal
  • Current UG e-waste disposal program represents a best practice
  • E-waste is divided into two separate streams, CRT monitors and all other electronic equipment
    • General e-waste is sent to Production Works where it is dismantled and redistributed to scrap companies and recyclers
    • CRT monitors sent to an environment friendly Toronto-based company
recommendations disposal
Recommendations – Disposal

Maintain current program, plus:

  • Obtain suitable space for storage of e-waste and monitors
  • Develop and implement methodology for tracking tonnage diverted from landfill
  • Formalize reuse and reallocation procedures and policies
current context guelph environmental awareness
Current Context – Guelph Environmental Awareness
  • Sustainability at U of G Website
  • Person to person workgroup presentations
  • Student to student presentations
  • Enviro Rep in-residence program
  • Tips and tools promotional materials
  • Campus media outlets
recommendations awareness
Recommendations – Awareness
  • Campus Awareness Program
    • Survey to gauge awareness of energy reduction and waste reduction practices and identify barriers to participation
    • Campaign development offering incentives and long-term behaviour modification strategies
    • Measure success and publicize success
best practices energy conservation
Best Practices – Energy Conservation
  • Implementing power management options on machines
  • Reducing the overall “on” time of the system as a whole
  • Reducing the overall “on” time of the monitor in particular
energy conservation strategies
Energy Conservation Strategies
  • Survey current computer power management policies and practices across campus
  • Coordinate participation of IT personnel in an energy reduction plan
  • Develop configuration standards, with IT personnel, to reduce energy consumption of computers
conclusion from cradle to grave
Conclusion: From Cradle to Grave
  • Top 3 priorities for Guelph:
    • Energy conservation strategy
    • Campus awareness
    • Procurement guidelines
  • What can your library do?
for more information
For More Information…
  • Environmental Impact of Computer Information Technology in an Institutional Setting: A Case Study at the University of Guelph
  • Report of the Green Computing Task Group Campus Computing and the Environment
  • Sustainability at U of G
  • Computer Professionals for Social Responsibility Resources on Computers and the Environment
  • Environmentally Preferable Purchasing-Electronics US Environmental Protection Agency
  • Electronics Product Stewardship Canada
contact us
Contact us:

Gillian Maurice

Sustainability Coordinator

Catherine Steeves

Associate Chief Librarian, ITS