Sustainable Computing

Computers and related technology profoundly impact Mount Marty College, from learning and business processes to the budget and the environment. The concept of “sustainable computing” considers the total cost of ownership, the total impact, and the total benefit of technology systems. Consider:
  • All computer and server inventory growth has associated costs, including staff time and support, software licensing, and infrastructure support (bandwidth, servers, hubs, wiring, etc.).
  • All old inventory buildup comes with associated risks, including increased repair time, increased maintenance costs, security risks, and inefficient operation.
  • All computer growth, whether the equipment is new or old, requires planning for future lifecycle replacements of both the computer and the infrastructure supporting it, as well as environmentally responsible methods for disposing of old equipment.

The College should practice sustainable computing, using a policy which:

  • Directs new equipment purchases;
  • Maintains a reasonable lifecycle for computers, peripherals, and network equipment;
  • Limits inventory growth;
  • Governs energy-saving computer use;
  • Plans for future donation, recycling, and disposal of equipment.

The College’s computer and peripheral (printers, scanners, etc.) inventory has grown at a rate of 10-20% annually for at least the last six years. Currently, departments are individually responsible for tracking and updating all technology equipment, often leading to imbalances or oversights and, therefore, lost productivity and extra costs. Many other schools – and most corporations – centrally manage information technology resources to ensure that those resources receive adequate support, that everyone has relatively up-to-date and appropriate equipment, and that technology resources are purchased, employed and disposed of responsibly.

To that end, Information Technology Support Services (ITSS) provides the purchasing, lifecycle, energy-use, and recycling policies below, to help the College consider long-term effects of technology decisions, plan efficient growth, and maintain a commitment to reducing waste.

Purchasing and Support

  1. Information Technology Support Services fully supports all standard, Mount Marty-owned computers purchased through ITSS within the last five years. Full support includes assisting with and repairing the standard software and hardware installed on the computer when it was first delivered to the user, but it does not include assistance with subsequent software or hardware installations not performed by ITSS department such as specialized test banks and un-documented software installed by a specific department other than the ITSS department.
  2. All computers with the standard ITSS software and hardware configuration that are purchased for home,  faculty development or special project funds, will be fully supported, but users must bring the computers to the Help Desk for repair. The Help Desk provides limited support for all home users affiliated with the College, whether or not they have standard computers. Limited support includes phone and email assistance with connecting to the College network and giving advice and suggestions for troubleshooting.
  3. Anyone wanting to purchase a nonstandard computer with College funds must consult with the vendor’s phone sales line or web site, generate an electronic or paper quote, and then give that quote to the ITSS director. ITSS will then arrange the purchase and delivery.
  4. All peripherals (scanners, printers, etc.) and extra parts (monitors, external drives, etc.) purchased through ITSS for on-campus use will receive Help Desk support for the duration of that peripheral’s or part’s warranty. ITSS will attempt to standardize peripheral and part purchases so the College buys high-quality, consistent hardware with long-term warranties. Hardware and software support and repair of peripherals and extra parts purchased for off-campus or home use will be entirely the manufacturer’s and user’s responsibility. As with all home users, the Help Desk will provide limited phone and email support.

Lifecycle Replacement and Inventory Growth

  1. The College currently maintains a five-year lifecycle for all College-owned computers and peripherals, ensuring that each computer, printer and scanner is replaced with a new system every five years, on average. The ITSS department will manage a centralized budget pool to fund lifecycle replacements.
  2. Because old computers become increasingly costly to service, all new computers or peripherals from the lifecycle pool must replace an existing system, but departments may “cascade” computers or peripherals (i.e., give a new computer to one user, give his/her used but still supported computer to another user, and remove the oldest system). Whenever one new computer or peripheral is delivered to a department, that department must give one old computer or peripheral, originally purchased by the College, back to ITSS. Any equipment not returned constitutes a net addition and requires ITSS approval. All old equipment will be donated or recycled, per the policies below.
  3. The ITSS department must approve all net additions to the inventory, excepting computers used to run lab equipment. Departments purchasing lab equipment computers should do so in consultation with ITSS.
  4. All net additions to the inventory approved by ITSS must come out of department funds. The lifecycle pool must increase in proportion to all inventory growth.
  5. Before applying for grants or special project funding to purchase computer hardware or software requiring any ITSS or College support, faculty or staff must fill out a project template and discuss it with the Executive team and ITSS. The project template addresses the total cost of ownership, including staff and infrastructure costs (overhead) required to support IT equipment and the cost of future lifecycle replacement, if the equipment will be renewed.
  6. Departments using computers to run lab equipment or instruments are exempt from the five-year average lifecycle policy, as well as review. New computers running lab equipment must carry warranty support from the manufacturer. If old lab equipment computers fail the ITSS department will not replace the equipment.

Energy-Saving Computer Use

  1. Computers should normally be left powered on, day and night during the week, as long as they are employing “sleep” (Standby or Hibernate) modes. (If they are not employing sleep modes, they should be powered off whenever they will not be needed for more than 20 minutes.) They should be turned off during weekends or whenever they will not be used for a day or more. One computer left on for a year puts 1500 pounds of CO2 into the atmosphere, and turning computers off or putting them to “sleep” reduces electricity consumption.
  2. Computer and technology equipment purchasing should prioritize energy-saving equipment, such as LCD (i.e., flat panel) monitors, which use half the power of a standard CRT display, and printers with built-in power save modes and double-sided printing capability. ITSS will prioritize purchasing recyclable, environmentally friendly equipment and paper.

Recycling and Disposal

  1. Donations : ITSS will donate or recycle all old computers and peripherals. ITSS prioritizes donations as follows: (1) donation to non-profit educational institutions; (2) donation to other non-profit organizations; (3); gifts to for-profit organizations or companies committed to environmentally sound recycling or disposal.
  2. Recycling : If ITSS cannot find institutions that will accept donations, or if computers or components are not functioning, ITSS will give them to organizations or companies committed to repairing, selling or responsibly recycling or disposing of technology equipment.
  3. Other Computer Recycling : Due to the limited available space to store these systems this will occur once per block during the academic year.  Individuals should bring old computer equipment to the Help Desk for donation or recycling during the specified window of time each block.