Campus technology departments going green

Campus technology departments are reducing their environmental impact—and saving money—by consolidating servers.

Campus technology departments across the country are finding that investing in energy-efficient technologies has an economic benefit as well as helping to save the environment.

“We projected a 30-percent increase in power efficiency … and [are] looking at about $7,700 in annual savings,” said Daniel Lichter, director of data and network infrastructure at Saint Xavier University. Much of these savings have come from consolidating servers, Lichter said.

CDW Government LLC (CDW-G) surveyed 756 technology professionals for its 2010 “Energy Efficient IT Report” and found that three-quarters of respondents are working to reduce energy use in their IT operations. If current energy use rates don’t change, greenhouse gas emissions from data centers will outweigh those from the airline industry by 2020, the company warns.

“The power usage in the data center is ever increasing, especially with rising energy costs,” said Mark Lafferty, director of strategic solutions and services for CDW-G. “That seems to be the most popular place to review your energy strategies.”

The popularity of the environmental movement, combined with the potential to save on energy costs, inspired Lichter to change Xavier’s campus technology department.

He said the heat generated by servers had been a major energy consumer on campus.

“We did a server virtualization and consolidation initiative to reduce the number of servers that were consuming electricity and generating heat,” Lichter said. “We [also] completed the replacement of a 25-year-old air conditioning unit in the server room with a much more efficient and much more appropriate intercooling unit.”

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