Sustainable information and communications technology (ICT) - What You Can Do

Action plan

Improved ICT sustainability

Charles Sturt University has recently taken a number of steps to improve ICT sustainability including:

  • establishing automated processes for shutting down public access computers after hours across the University
  • implementing a proactive default energy management policy on staff computers which places computers in hibernation mode after hours
  • consideration of Energy Star ratings in the procurement of computers – find out more about the performance of individual equipment at the Charles Sturt University Computer Shop webpage
  • relocation of enterprise servers to externally-hosted, state-of-the-art data warehouses offering best practices in energy efficiency (e.g. hot and cold aisles)
  • continual advancement in video and desktop conferencing technologies ensuring these are convenient to access and offer a viable alternative to face-to face meetings requiring physical travel
  • rationalisation of standalone printers to shared multi-function devices to reduce equipment needs and associated energy use
  • partnership with Ricoh Australia for used toner cartridge recycling
  • driving the proportion of e-waste sent to landfill towards zero via a comprehensive asset collection and re-sale process

Steps you can take to support sustainable ICT systems in place across Charles Sturt University include:

  • avoid modifying proactive energy management policies and duplex / black and white printer settings that have been established on your computer
  • using a powerboard with master power switch to eliminate stand-by power
  • ensuring you make use of the toner cartridge recycling system available across Charles Sturt University
  • placing used batteries from wireless peripheral devices into the nearest battery recycling bin
  • becoming familiar with the various Charles Sturt University conference technologies and ensuring you and your colleagues make use of these whenever possible in place of physical travel
  • always logging an IT Service Desk request and submitting an Asset Disposal Form when you have an obsolete Charles Sturt University issued computer or peripheral device that requires responsible disposal
  • returning old laptop batteries to the university Computer Shop for responsible disposal
  • recycling your obsolete university issued mobile phones be returning these to the Charles Sturt University Computer shop for safe removal of data and disposal via our partnership with the Cerebral Palsy Alliance
    CSU Datacentre Sustainable ICT

Relocation of the data centres to Sydney from Wagga and Bathurst in 2016 - impactful

"There have been several significant improvements at Charles Sturt University in the Sustainable Information Communication Technology framework since the benchmarking workshop held back in December 2014.  These include increased awareness amongst DIT staff, to look for opportunities to make sustainability improvements that align with their work priorities.  Sustainability improvements have been included in existing activities.  Other changes have been improved power management of audio visual and video conferencing equipment and personal computing devices (PCD) and the overall visibility and management of power use for staff PCD's.

However, the most significant change was the Data Centre Strategy which has resulted in the decommissioning of the data centres at Wagga Wagga and Bathurst in 2016.  This had the biggest impact in terms of terms of energy savings and reducing our environmental footprint.  It improved the efficiency of our power usage in one of our biggest power consumption areas.

Before the Data Centre Strategy was implemented, we had limited visibility of the power we used. We had outdated and inefficient sustainability technologies in the data centres that support the whole university.  A big financial and sustainability cost was running the air conditioners in inefficient computer rooms to cool servers, storage and communications equipment.

Firstly, we undertook a rationalisation of the amount of devices that drew power. We decommissioned and removed technology that was not needed, improved the penetration of virtualised servers and storage, and were able to turn off old devices which had a significant impact. Improvements have been made in the overall amount and type of ITC equipment required.  

The second step involved a major shift in the physical IT infrastructure to more efficient data centre environments in Sydney.  Now, the new Macquarie Telecom Data Centres have much better energy efficiency by using best practice technologies in climate control.  This has resulted in significant savings in power consumption.  We have less waste because we have rationalised the servers and put them in advanced efficient locations, which has driven down power consumption and costs."

By Phil Roy, Director of Applications and Integration, Division of Information Technology, 2017.