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Why Do Colleges Do Green IT?

ACUTA, the Association for Information Communications Technology Professionals in Higher Education, has released a survey of green attitudes in IT. Granted, the number of respondents to the survey was around 80, so this may not be a statistically robust tally of green attitudes in college IT departments, but it may give some hint at what gets valued, and what doesn’t.

We skipped right down to question 5, which asked what colleges had done to be more green. Three-quarters of respondents bought new equipment, while a little over half said they turned off power on machines whenever possible, and 20 percent reworked the network for simplicity and fewer devices. A vast majority said that they were recycling machines (what “recycling” in this case means is unclear) and that they were reducing printing.

The green image is a powerful one. About 25 percent of respondents said green practices paid off in energy or cost savings, but 35 percent found a payoff in green PR.

When asked what would motivate an institution to institute a green-IT program, 92 percent cited the potential for energy savings and 80 percent cited a potential for cost savings. A little more than 50 percent said a sense of environmental stewardship or a desire to be a green school would be a motivator.

Of those who weren’t pursuing a green-IT program, budget limitations were by far the major roadblock. A third of respondents said that they weren’t pursuing green IT because they couldn’t prove that the program would save money. —Scott Carlson

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