Green Computing
at Binghamton University

Goals and Objectives

It is the goal of Information Technology Services to join other energy saving projects at Binghamton University to save money and protect the environment. 
We will provide information to the campus about reducing power consumption, reducing greenhouse gas emissions, promote energy efficiencient products, and provide recommendations for PC settings.
Additionally, the ITS Department will embark on its own "Green IT" initiatives to meet those goals. 

Current Accomplishments

  • Implemented campus wide computer equipment recycling program.  We recycle desktops, laptops, monitors, servers, cables, keyboards, printers, copiers, audio speakers, communications equipment, etc. We have recycled over 200 skids of equipment since the program's inception in May 2008.  Note: a skid contains roughly 72 cubic feet of equipment.
  • Server Virtualization - the Networking group has virtualized over 50 Intel servers and removed them from the network.
  • Outsourced e-mail to Google Apps Education Edition.
  • Reduced the number of active air conditioning units in the main machine room from 5 units to 4 units.
  • Reduced the number of active air conditioning units in the Watson School server farm (G03B) from two to one.
  • Raised air conditioning temperature from 66 degrees to 74 degrees.
  • Working with Facilities to bring in free outside air into machine room for cooling.
  • Improved air flow in the main machine room - plugged holes in the raised floor to balance air pressure so it moves to areas of the room where it is needed.
  • Implemented environmental monitoring in machine room.
  • Added filler panels to the racks to improve air flow to properly cool equipment resulting in the elimination of two floor fans at an estimated savings of $300 per year per fan.
  • Reduced demands for printing reports for administrative systems by converting reports to electronic formats from hard copy printing.
  • Installed materials in main machine room with funding obtained from VP Van Voorst with the assistance of Physical Facilities.
    • Perforated floor tiles to be placed in server farm area.
    • Flexible baffling to be installed under the raised floor to seal cold air leakage and direct cold air to proper locations.
    • Hot aisle containment curtains to be installed in server farm to exhaust hot air back to a/c units and eliminate mixing cold and hot air back into machine room
  • Installed duct work in the machine room to bring in outside air for cooling.
  • Replaced older servers with new energy efficient models
  • Expanded environmental monitoring in main machine room to allow staff to closely watch humidity levels
  • Developed a university wide campaign to reduce PC power consumption.
  • Began moving external departmental servers to the centralized site for improved power management and efficiency

Next Steps

  • Reduce paper consumption campus wide
  • Research network tools that will enable sleep settings for computers in pods and labs
  • Evaluate alternative energy sources
  • Create a university wide printing campaign to reduce paper and toner consumption
  • Review air temperature requirements for servers located in the main machine room
  • Investigate the value of implementing an enterprise wide fax server to reduce faxing costs
  • Virtualize unix servers
  • Research cloud computing alternatives

Energy saving tips for personal computer users -

These simple changes to your computer's power management settings can translate into lower energy use for the University and lower greenhouse gas emissions.  On average, you could save about $25 to $60 per year per device in energy costs.  And if 4,000 PC users did this on campus, BU could save $100,000 to $240,000 annually!  This can also result in lower office cooling loads resulting in additional savings of $5-$25 per PC annually.

Here are some recommendations:
  • Do not use screen savers as energy savers since they continue to use the monitor at full power.
  • Configure your monitor and hard drive to turn off after 15 minutes of inactivity and turn off your computer after 30 minutes of inactivity.
  • Shutdown your computer at night, on the weekends, and when your on vacation.
  • Power down your audio speakers and printer too!
  • Review your computer's power settings and adjust accordingly.
  • Use duplex printing option to save paper.
A simple touch of the keyboard or mouse will wake your computer. 
To maximize the battery life on your laptop, consider being more aggressive with your settings.

We understand that certain circumstances may impact your ability to change your power management settings.  Settings can be adjusted to meet your computing needs.

Tips For Printing Smart

  • Set the default on your printer, copier, or multi-function devices to print duplex.
  • Print duplex whenever possible.
  • When buying a new printer, copier, or multi-function device, purchase a device that is duplex capable. 
  • Proof or preview documents online before printing.
  • Avoid printing e-mails to simply read them.
  • Use electronic versions of documents when possible.
  • Share documents electronically using Google Docs, Blackboard or e-mail.
  • Reuse paper that has only been printed on one side.
  • Think before you print!

Helpful Links

Here are some helpful links relating to "Green" initiatives.


Subpages (1): PC Power Management
Frank Saraceno,
Aug 19, 2010, 9:54 AM