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Environmental Stewardship

UB topiary on the north campus

Information technology is an integral part of the daily teaching, research, and business life of the University. It is also a consumer of energy and a catalyst for promoting the efficient utilization of energy through innovation and environmental stewardship. Programs like iprint@ub and desktop virtualization allow UBIT to conserve energy and reduce waste.

  • Green IT: Efforts are focused on reducing the impact of Information Technology assets on UB’s carbon footprint and energy consumption by implementing new energy efficient technologies, strategic replacement of old equipment, and new acquisitions which line up to support UB’s climate action plan.  This includes improving the operational efficiency of the university’s data centers through implementation of new cooling technologies and the installation of environmental monitoring systems that optimize data center operation.  Server virtualization is arguably the most effective transformative technology of the last decade.  By combining the work of multiple independent servers onto one physical server, remarkable savings in energy and space can be achieved. Virtualization can further conserve space and energy on campus by reducing the need for multiple datacenters and instead locate the virtualized servers in a single high efficiency datacenter.  In addition, video conferencing software available at the end user’s desktop or mobile device further reduces the impact on the environment by cutting down on inter campus travel. 

For a stimulating exploration into these issues developed at UB, see Guercio et al,“Implementing Green Technologies and Practices in a High Performance Computing Center” where UB was able to increase its computing power by a factor of ten while simultaneously reducing its energy consumption by 20%.

iPrint
  • iprint@ub: Since the implementation of the iprint@ub print management system in 2003, printing in public sites has diminished by a remarkable 30 million pages yearly. Managing printing with iprint saves on paper and toner costs, the energy used to run more efficient printers, and the subsequent waste disposal of unwanted printouts. In addition, student groups regularly recycle banner pages and unwanted printouts for use as scrap note paper. 
Desk Top Virtualization
  • Desktop Virtualization: This practice will provide both physical security and more suitable environments for UB’s valuable information assets. At UB we are actively virtualizing public lab desktop computing, providing access to software anywhere via My Virtual Computing Lab, and intensively improving computing power per square foot through server virtualization.
  • Electronic Document Management: Electronic document management will dramatically diminish the need for paper throughout the campus and at the same time improve the productivity of many departments that are heavily dependent on paper-based workflows.
  • Operating a Smarter Campus: UB is at the forefront of automated campus-wide energy conservation through the implementation of a pilot program for a fully integrated building level performance and monitoring system that will automatically monitor building operational conditions to maximize energy efficiency.