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Smarter, Greener Learning

26th February 2009
City Hall, London

"Honest straightforward style, strong on facts and experience, not a lot of ecobabble"
"Very practical 360 degree view of topic"
"Real life examples, knowledgeable presenters, great location"

Reflecting from City Hall

Event Report

The Smarter, Greener Learning event aimed to offer the latest strategic thinking together with practical advice to help learning providers accelerate their implementation of sustainable business practices.

The day was introduced by Will Pickford, Head of RSC London and Julian Bream, Deputy Manager RSC London kept us on schedule.

Video - Will Pickford: Introduction

Intelligent Buildings

Richard Everett

Richard approached the Green agenda from the angle of intelligent and new buildings. Emphasising the pedagogic drivers on new builds; that space utilisation has the power to condition behaviours, aid communication and enhance productivity; economy, efficiency, effectiveness and efficacy are key measures of any building’s success; regarding lighting, heating and systems: intelligent use – impose control but allow local over-rides if needed.

Presentation: Intelligent Buildings (Powerpoint) 

Video - Richard Everett: Intelligent Buildings

Findings from the SusteIT Project

Professor Peter James

Peter reported back on the findings of the JISC-funded SusteIT project. Largely focussed towards HE the material covered had application in the FE and other sectors as well. The presentation drew attention to case studies and tools for ICT carbon footprinting calculation (available from http://www.susteit.org.uk/files/index.php). The impact of the lifecycle of manufacture, transport use and recycling was examined. Potential action plans to reduce the environmental impact of activity aimed at senior management, desktop PC use, printing and technical infrastructure were outlined. 

Associated publication: Strategic overview (PDF format)

Presentation - SusteIT Report  (Powerpoint) 

Video - Professor Peter James: Findings from the SusteIT Project

Sustainable IT

John Pollitt - Head of IT Services, City College Norwich

John Pollitt’s presentation offered a comprehensive and practical approach to Green computing, he covered the why and how while asserting green computing is “not just for tree huggers”.

From calculating energy use and cost with small plug-in devices, to audits on the power consumption of desktops using SusteIT’s new tool, to planning the energy requirements of a new data centre, this presentation focused on how to know what is happening with your energy use and how to reduce it.

John tracked an improving picture in terms of modern PCs power needs before confronting us with the ‘gotchas’ of users’ increasing demands e.g. “I need a huge LCD, 2 would be better”, multiple mobile devices and the persistent issue of packaging – especially when buying hundreds of units at a time.

Presentation: Sustainable IT  (Powerpoint)

Video - John Pollitt: Sustainable IT

Green IT

Graham Francis - Director of IT Services, Havering Sixth Form College (SFC)

Green IT is firmly on the agenda at Havering SFC. Various software applications enable workstations to be shut down at a given time or from a central point by a teacher or technician. The 33 traditional servers – estimated to be using a maximum of just 8% CPU capacity - are to be replaced by 3-5 blade servers with their associated reduction of power consumption and air conditioning requirements.

To be considered for purchase by Havering,  printers must be capable of double-sided printing (by default), have a sleep mode and be toner efficient. In addition, the move to electronic communications using:
Moodle (Teaching and Learning
Sharepoint (College Administration)
Parentmail (Reduced printing and postage)
Email (College Bulletin)  
is contributing to a smaller carbon footprint at the college.

Presentation: Green IT  (Powerpoint) 

Video - Graham Francis: Green IT

Smarter, Greener Learning at Colchester SFC

Tim Harrison - Colchester Sixth Form College (SFC)


Tim Harrison described the experience at Colchester, a large Sixth Form College with 3000 students and IT hardware that included 1000 PCs/laptops and over 60 servers.

Colchester’s new building opened in 2008 and incorporates green developments such as rain water collection stored to flush toilets, light sensors and solar panels which help power the building and pass any surplus back to the national grid.

The need to rationalize the increasingly diverse IT hardware and software in use also gave Colchester the opportunity to consider improving sustainability.  Servers in particular had multiplied leading to power hungry, and noisy, server rooms. Tim’s presentation traces the path towards virtualization, the choices made and benefits realised, including reduced power consumption, lower maintenance and replacement costs and smaller space requirement.

Presentation: Colchester Sixth Form College  (Powerpoint) 

Video - Tim Harrison: Smarter, Greener Learning at Colchester SFC

Association of Colleges - Green Colleges Campaign

John Perks  - Association of Colleges

John outlined the AoC’s Green Colleges Declaration and associated Campaign, which encouraged colleges to sign up to Green principles with a strategy called “From Here to Sustainability”. The strategy covered four main areas: Buildings, Curriculum, Transport, Policy and Practice. Buildings agenda includes Energy Conservation Management, use of eLearning to reduce physical footprint, use of more efficient IT. Curriculum agenda builds sustainable IT into the curriculum for IT and environment courses. Transport and associated carbon footprint reduced and monitored via IT use. Policy and practice encourages the development and review of institutional strategies.

Associated publication: Achieving Green Colleges (PDF)

Presentation: Green Colleges  (Powerpoint) 

Video - John Perks: Association of Colleges - Green Colleges Campaign

Sustainable Development in the FE and Skills Sector

Debbie Watson - Director of Policy & Innovation, Learning and Skills Council

The LSC Strategy “From Here to Sustainability” (not to be confused with the AoC strategy) has four main areas: Positioning of the Learning and Skills Sector, Buildings and Estates, Curriculum, Community and Business. Some progress has been made to date, but not comprehensive cross the sector and the potential for this is uncertain with the abolition of the LSC in 2010. This changing context leaves funding gaps to be filled and strategic opportunities to be maintained regarding communication on the sustainability agenda and sector leadership.  2010 priorities include celebrating practice and developing skills for a low-carbon economy. Post-2010 the roles of LSIS, DIUS and Ofsted still have to be defined.

Sustainability Online Resource and Toolkit for Education (SORTED)

Presentation: Sustainable Development  (Powerpoint) 

Video - Debbie Watson: Sustainable Development in the FE and Skills Sector

Final thoughts

'Being Green' is a duty of everyone, regardless of sector.
There are already good examples from across the regions of work being done to implement green strategies.

If you missed this one....a Smarter Greener Learning Conference will also be taking place in  Edinburgh 22nd April.

Evan Dickerson
e-Learning Advisor

Rosemary Leadley
Information Officer

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