Our 2013 post "Too Little Focus on Green ICT in American Higher Education" looked at a number of indicators, including a Sierra Club program.
Sierra Club's 2013 10 Coolest Schools' rating system gives "...a percentage of  available points based on the percentage of computers purchased that are registered EPEAT Silver or Gold." Also, "Institutions earn half of  available points by having a program to refurbish, reuse, or recycle electronic waste generated by the school. Institutions earn half of available points for having a similar program for electronic waste generated by students." Those two account for less than 3% of the 1000 points available, so it is not surprising the Sierra Club offers only one Green ICT citation as well: American University for its "quarterly e-waste drives."
Things have not improved three years later.
We've noted that there has been too little focus on Green ICT in American higher education. This does not mean that colleges and universities in American and around the global aren't making any progress at all - you can click on the 'education' tag above to see examples. We regularly add updates about global higher education in this post -- the latest looks at an American University's attempt to make an impact on student e-waste.
Intel's white paper Solar Power for PC Deployments: Enabling ICT Beyond the Grid is a clear and consise overview of how to calculate solar capacity for off-grid ICT. The methodology is illustrated with a case study about creating a solar-powered computer lab for a school in rural Bangladesh.
We have long advocated for Green ICT awareness in ICT4D. A 2015 paper "Assessing University Students’ Attitude toward Green Computing Practices" from Nigeria provides insight into the short-term future of Green ICT in the region.
Most ICT gear - core facilities, communications infrastructures, and edge devices - runs on DC power. Converting AC to DC within a building is inefficient, on-site renewable power generation is often DC to begin with, and super-efficient LED lighting is also DC. All this seems to make DC power distribution an attractive option for ICT facilities, but there have been vigorous arguments for and against. Recent events, beginning a 380-V DC standard for ICT power distribution in 2011, suggest the tide is turning in favor of DC distribution.
Image courtesy IEEE Spectrum
Updates from the Americas (ex-USA). Click here for regional Green ICT updates from around the globe. Click on 'Americas' tag above for all news about the region.
The data center community has been very focused on reducing energy cost with "free cooling" - disposing of waste heat using natural cooling sources such as cold air and cold water. Even use of seasonal ice for datacenter cooling has been considered! Now, an article from Brazil offers a a unique perspective on a bias implicit in this focus.
We've regularly looked at datacenter and equipment consolidation. Consolidation can reduce resource consumption and environmental toxins by reducing energy use and equipment purchasing, yet consolidation efforts without careful implementation and appropriate safeguards can lead to catastrophic failure points. Two articles in the same week about a major American university illustrate the point.
Containerized modules have become building blocks for mega data centers. These plug-and-play units offer cost-effective scalability for hosting cloud applications needing only a homogeneous platform. A UK nonprofit known for providing refurbished computers to developing countries now offers an innovative containerized ICT solution for use in disaster areas and remote communities. Computer Aid International launched its ZubaBox in 2012 with the slogan "ICT Hub-In-A-Box Offers Internet Connectivity Anytime, Anywhere". The concept has now been nominated for an award.
The Pacific Island Schools Connectivity, Education, and Solar (PISCES) Project has installed a Solar-in-a-Box kit as a computer lab at a primary school on the island of Udot in the Federated States of Micronesia. The installation illustrates several ways in which Green ICT technologies and practices can deliver ICT to remote areas. (We've updated this post with a note about the second phase of PISCES.)
We've covered technology to reduce paper use when printing. What about reducing ink use? A high school student's study found that his school could save $21,000/year by switching typefaces...and the United States government could save $234 million!