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IT Services staff l-r:Josh Hicks, Bahram Gustaspi, Candace Le Roy, Mike Sollanych, Jay Black and Al Murray with old printers headed for recycling

IT Services Goes Green

September 23, 2010

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IT Services (ITS) is launching a sustainable computing initiative this fall (tentatively called Gaea, after the Greek goddess of Earth) to help reduce energy and materials used in targeted programs at all SFU campuses.

The program’s first two projects, WebWake and SmartPrint, will be phased in this academic year.

"It’s up to every department to make contributions towards the goal of sustainability, " says WebWake project manager, Mike Sollanych, "and as IT is a huge consumer of electricity, it’s a logical starting point."

WebWake has three components. It will allow machines to be turned off after business hours to save electricity and money, let administrators and end-users turn on machines remotely, and let administrators execute tasks after hours without having to leave machines on all night.

Users will be able to turn their computers on from home should they need to, giving them the confidence to turn off their machines without worrying about problems with updates and backups.

WebWake was successfully tested over the summer and will first be rolled out with ITS-managed end-user computers. It will then be introduced to other campuses and LAN admininstrators and finally to all end-users.

"For years, we’ve been running desktop computers overnight, so that we can do non-intrusive administration when they’re not otherwise in use," says Sollanych. "But this wastes many watt-hours of electricity."

With WebWake, he says, administrators can "put the computers to sleep and leverage their ability to respond to ‘wake-up’ messages from the network, dramatically reducing the power consumption outside of office hours."

The second project, SmartPrint, will reduce the financial and environmental costs of printing, and improve the delivery of print services across the university.

"SmartPrint will do more with less," says project manager Josh Hicks. It will improve the use of multi-service (scan, fax, print) machines, reduce single-user printers, increase duplex printing, and improve scanning, faxing and online storage of documents.

The project will start with the choice of a vendor in fall 2010. Community members can expect to access some of the new services in early 2011.

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