The University of Hertfordshire was keen to migrate to space-saving flat screen desktop PCs. But space was just one consideration; with clear environmental policies in place, the university wanted to maximise energy saving too.
Following comparative testing and review, the university chose RM Ones - complete with greener performance thanks to ecoquiet IT technology.
The University of Hertfordshire (UH), Hatfield, educates 24,000 students and employs 2,500 members of staff. With an international, business-like outlook, the university is both ambitious and entrepreneurial. Over 2000 of its students come to study from overseas.
The university currently has over 5000 PCs with over 1500 as 'open access' machines across three campuses and other satellite sites.
The faculty believes everyone at the university has a part to play in reducing environmental impact - a philosophy exemplified by the university's Environment Team web site. (Click here to view).
Actively engaged in raising environmental awareness, UH is delivering several key initiatives on campus. These include a programme to reduce its 'carbon footprint'; 'EcoCampus', a national Environmental Management System (EMS) and award scheme for the higher education sector; a Sustainable Purchasing Policy; and a campus-wide strategy to recycle 40% of waste by 2010.
Three years ago the university took the decision to migrate towards flat screen displays instead of CRT monitors. At a practical level, the aim was to free up desk space for students and staff. But for the UH there were other key environmental benefits, too. Theft considerations led the team to look at all-in-one systems. Five solutions were reviewed, with a clear winner - the RM One - emerging. Since choosing this model the university hasn't looked back; the RM One now accounts for a vast majority of the university's PCs in both staff and open access machines alike.
This year (2008), all PCs purchased will include ecoquiet technology - RM's innovative 'greener PC' engineering which dramatically reduces desktop footprint, energy consumption, heat generation and operating noise.
As Head of Information Systems, Andy Wroot is responsible for all desktops and delivering the applications across the university's three learning resource centres. Buying 400-600 systems a year, he's also part of the Southern University purchasing consortium - and well informed of the market choices available.
"The ecoquiet option instantly stood out," Andy explains "Saving energy to meet our campus efficiency targets is a Number 1 priority. Having worked in partnership with RM for over 20 years, we know their machines well. We've provided feedback on several occasions, and it's always been acted on. In fact, version 2 of the RM One incorporates some new functionality we specifically requested."
Ever mindful of environmental impacts, the university conducted its own independent research into PC power consumption.
Five configurations - a 19" RM One V2 ecoquiet (Core2Duo processor), a 17" RM One (3GHz Intel Pentium 4 processor) a 19" RM One (3GHz Intel Pentium 4), a 15" CRT and desktop (2.8 GHz Pentium 4) and a 17" LCD desktop (3 GHz Pentium 4) were measured over a typical 12-month cycle of use to compare the KW hour energy demand over a year.
Amazingly, the 19" RM One V2, with its Core2Duo ecoquiet technology, used just 827 KW h - just 64% of the power required by the smaller screen 17" LCD and desktop with a 3 GHz Pentium 4.
By choosing ecoquiet technology UH was able to achieve a significant power saving without a detrimental effect on PC performance.
In the library, the ecoquiet technology is having a further positive impact. With whisper-quiet operation, the new RM One machines generate less than 27 decibels - 14 decibels less than a standard PC. The constant background noise of PCs no longer exists within the area, resulting quieter environment for students to study.
The reduction in heat output from the RM ecoquiet will allow further energy efficiency gains: air conditioning will be relied on far less to keep rooms cool in hot summer periods.
Michelle Dixon, the university's Environmental Advisor, recognises the importance of making environmentally informed procurement choices - particularly when it comes to energy consumption for equipment like campus IT.
Michelle observes, "There are currently 169 universities in the higher education sector supporting 1.8 million students. Together, we're all purchasing £200 million of energy each year. We have a duty of care to scrutinise every way possible way to minimise our carbon footprint. Technologies like RM's ecoquiet map directly to sustainable purchasing policies like ours. We're more than ready for greener IT performance like this."
Michelle is proud the university is a force for change. "We've got many measures already in place at UH. Currently, we spend over £1.8 million a year on electricity and gas to heat and light buildings and run appliances, such as computers, photocopiers and printers. Our carbon management programme, for instance, will see us reducing our manageable emissions by 20% over the next 5 years."
Michelle continues, "Sustainable procurement is another focus. We have a variety of measures in place to test our decisions - from looking at the whole life costs of purchase to choosing goods from ethical, fairly-traded and environmentally sound sources. Institutions need to look at the whole picture carefully before they buy."
Previously PCs had been highlighted as one of 20 commodities that the university classed as 'high impact' and 'high expenditure'. Thanks to RM's ecoquiet technology, future PC purchases will be more sustainable. Andy Wroot sums up the experience: "ecoquiet technology is absolutely worth the investment - it's giving us tangible energy saving returns."
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