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Green IT

Computing Services is at the forefront of Green IT initiatives in the HE community and is committed to minimising the impact IT has on the environment.


Printing is a major environmental concern. Many analysts consider office printing to be the world’s second largest polluter after transport.

Computing Services supported the introduction of photocopiers that can be networked and used as printers.

This has reduced the number of consumables used, such as ink and print-heads and the number of desktop printers to be scrapped.

Facts about printing
  • Laser printers use a significant amount of energy when printing - it can be four times that of an active desktop PC!
  • It is estimated that 2.2 -2.8 trillion pages are printed in offices around the world each year.
  • A major component in toner is carbon black, which is produced by burning oil to create soot. 
  • Many analysts consider office printing to be the world’s second largest polluter after transport.
  • Each toner cartridge requires one or two litres of oil, and creates 4.8 kg of CO2 in its production. Over a year, in the UK alone, this represents 200,000,000 litres of oil, and the creation of 480,000 metric tons of CO2. This is equivalent to the CO2 emission of a medium size car driving four billion kilometres.


Computing Services was the first University IT department to introduce print management software to help reduce the impact printing has on the environment.

CSD introduced PretonSaver software across campus, which optimised the amount of toner used per printed page, without adversely affecting quality.

Power Saving settings

PCs on the University Managed Windows Service shut down after 30 minutes of inactivity provided no-one is logged in to the PC at the time.

The PC Power Saving feature, developed by Computing Services, was adopted by other Universities.

It is possible to opt out of Power Saving settings if you have a compelling reason to do so.

Computing Services is actively testing greener options for IT hardware 

The IT market is developing more energy efficient options in response to the consumer demand for greener products. Computing Services is actively monitoring and testing new hardware and software products such as low power drain processors and virtual servers, as part of the commitment to minimising the University's impact on the environment.

Facts about PC power consumption
  • You do not need to leave you PC on for updates to be applied overnight. Updates are applied to your computer during normal working hours.
  • Rebooting your PC does not wear out the hard disk. Modern disks are in no danger of being worn out through rebooting. They are much more likely to be damaged by being bathed in heat by being left on 24 hours a day.
  • Don’t use screen savers. Screen savers that display moving images cause your monitor to consume almost as much electricity as during active use. Even a blank screen saver only reduces monitor energy consumption by a small amount. The best option is no screen saver at all - turn off your monitor when you are not using it.
  • Conservatively assuming a 100 watt PC with an LCD monitor, actively used 8 hours per day, 5 days per week, but left on all the time, would use 930.8 kWh unnecessarily per year, or nearly 1 megawatt-hour (MWH)! And that is just one PC. There are 7000 PCs across the University.

Recycling IT equipment

Computing Services and Facilities Management have systems in place to recycle IT equipment as appropriate.

Equipment is either offered as working systems to other departments, broken for spares or disassembled/shredded for recovery of raw materials. This is inline with the Waste Electrical and Electronic Equipment (WEEE) Directive - European law that aims to reduce the amount of electrical waste which ends up in land fill sites.

Manufacturer's packaging is collected and recycled as part of the Scheme for the Central Provision of PCs.

Computing Services continues to lobby suppliers and manufacturers to minimise packaging and to use recyclable materials. Computing Services also uses the paper recycling service provided by Facilities Management for the department's waste paper and for any waste from the central printing and plotting services. 

Facts about electrical equipment waste
  • Electronic recycling in Britain is a weak point - less than half British people say they recycle their electronic waste including mobile phones, kettles and toasters.
  • Gartner Research recently predicted that 400 million computers would be replaced in homes and businesses across America in a three year period, generating large quantities of waste.
  • The average weight of both laptops and desktop is around 15 pounds, which means that in less than 10 years, computer upgrades will generate over six billion pounds of waste, not even taking into account screens.

You can take action...

Make sure your PC, monitor, printer, scanner are all switched off at the end of each day.

Only print of absolutely necessary.

Try to proof documents on screen. Use features in Word to help, such as Track Changes or different document views.

Print double-sided.

Adjust the margins on a document to maximise printing space.