Reducing your school's power consumption - Be GREENER

How can you reduce the school’s power consumption and CO2 emissions?

What is the best way to recycle your old hardware and ensure you buy new kit with less environmental impact? Can you use ICT to change the way you work so that everything you do becomes greener?

The ratio of computers to students is rising constantly and, with it, energy consumption. As electricity costs climb ever higher, the pressure to cut power costs also grows. The latest energy-efficient PCs can cut power consumption significantly which means that your school can use less power. As schools add new hardware and replace outdated equipment, there is a real opportunity to cut costs and cut CO2 emissions dramatically.

In addition, working with the right vendors and resellers, schools have a chance to introduce new equipment that is much easier to recycle and which contains a fraction of the harmful materials built into its predecessors.

Cutting Energy Consumption

It is easier to build a case for reducing CO2 emissions than for other environmental initiatives because there is a clearer rationale: the school’s budget. Reduced energy consumption means lower bills. Since a typical desktop PC can cost over £50 a year in electricity alone, even a modest cut can produce a big saving across a large site. Here are some strategies to achieve a saving:

  • Optimise power settings. Power management features on Desktop PCs save up to 481kWh or 241kgs of CO2 per year.

  • Source criticism. The ability to check sources, evaluate information and discriminate between trustworthy and untrustworthy data is a vital skill in life and especially online. Working in a school-controlled medium like a weekly podcast from students in different subjects helps teach source criticism for creators and listeners alike. Joskos can help you proactively manage this process.

  • Choose systems that meet the latest ENERGY STAR® standards. With 80 PLUS power supplies and other features, all Joskos recommended current line-up of Business Notebooks and Workstations and many Desktop PCs meet this standard. This can translate into savings of between £3 and £29 annually per computer. In addition, energy-efficient PCs generate less heat which keeps classrooms and libraries cooler, especially in the summer.

  • Switch to energy-efficient notebook PCs. With energy-saving features available on some models, Notebooks run longer without recharging. For example, battery life (and power consumption) is reduced by features such as Ambient Light Sensors which dim the display in low light conditions. For teachers who use laptops to prepare classes and access the school network when working from home, this is a chance to cut the environmental cost of their use at the same time as giving them computers that run for longer before they need recharging.

  • Choose notebooks with smart power adaptors. Chargers and power adaptors are hidden villains when it comes to energy savings. For example, a typical mobile phone charger draws power even if the phone is not attached or is fully charged. This is why they are often warm to the touch. By contrast, there are some HP and Dell AC Adapters for Notebooks that only draw around half a watt when they are not charging a laptop. For schools that use laptop trolleys or keep laptops racked up in a computer room ready to loan to students, this can add up to a big power saving.

Green Hardware and Software Habits

Choosing the right supplier and buying the right hardware is a necessary, but not sufficient, step towards minimising schools’ environmental footprint. Technology enables changes in working practices. For example:

  • Use notebooks to enable anytime, anywhere working and learning. With optional 3G Mobile Broadband and built-in Wi-Fi wireless networking, Notebooks let students and teachers stay connected wherever they go.
  • Use webcams to allow video conference and online collaboration tools to create virtual classrooms and opportunities to collaborate beyond the school gate.
  • Put existing paper-based systems online. Creating intranets and learning portals will reduce the amount of paper you need to print and encourage collaboration between students and their lecturers.

Our friendly, professional knowledgeable consultants can help you clarify what you want to achieve with your ICT systems in your school. And, without using IT gobbledygook, Joskos can make recommendations and suggest solutions, whatever your problems or needs.

At each stage of the process, we will ensure that you remain in close contact with our trusted IT professionals. They will provide tailor-made assistance throughout the installation, ensuring as little disruption as possible to your teaching commitments.

The DCSF’s National Framework for Sustainable Schools argues that schools should be “models of energy efficiency” and “models of good global citizenship.” Reducing CO2 emissions from ICT is one way to achieve both goals. At the same time, reducing energy consumption saves money. The rewards of improved recycling, reduced packaging and hazardous materials are less tangible but no less important. When it comes to the environment, Joskos sets high standards for itself and its products and we can help schools rise to the challenges set by the DCSF Sustainable Schools programme.