Sustainable Information Technology In Tertiary Education (SUSTE-IT)

The University of Bradford, in partnership with the NGO SustainIT has completed a one year project for the Joint Information Systems Committee (JISC) to investigate ways in which information technology within universities and colleges can be made more sustainable. The core staff are Professor Peter James and Lisa Hopkinson, from Bradford's HEFCE-funded Higher Education Environmental Performance Improvement (HEEPI) programme.

The SUSTE-IT project reflects the increasing importance of ICT-related energy and environmental issues, in the sector and elsewhere. For example, there is ever growing consumption (and even more rapidly increasing costs) of electricity in data centres, and in computers and peripherals; legislative and other pressures are requiring reductions in ICT-related carbon emissions, and the WEEE Directive is creating new requirements for equipment end-of-life.

The project outputs include:
A main reports containing analysis of the environmental and social impacts of ICT and recommendations for the sector;
Four technical reports containing detailed analysis of the environmental and social impacts of (a) Personal Computing; (b) Data Centres; (c) Printing and Imaging; and (d) results of the SusteIT survey;
A series of case studies showcasing innovative measures from universities and colleges around the country;
A series of events showcasing best practice from institutions and facilitating networking between relevant professionals;
Tools to support more sustainable approaches.

Some key issues addressed by the study include:

  • Overall ICT impacts - what proportion of HE energy consumption is related to ICT, how is this broken down, and how much will it increase in future. What are the areas where a) immediate ‘win-win' methods of reducing energy consumption and environmental impact can be adopted, and b) where there are more intangible synergies between environmental improvement and other areas of ICT functionality.
  • Networks and configuration - whether moves to thin client approaches, server virtualisation, and extended IP networks deliver significant environmental benefits.
  • Hardware - how data centres can be made more energy efficient; the most sustainable purchasing options for ICT equipment; how energy consumption by PCs, laptops, printers and imaging equipment can be minimised; how recycling/reuse of end of life ICT equipment can be increased.
  • Applications and use - how ICT applications such as ERP and Intranets can reduce resource consumption; how e-learning, new ways of working, greater use of conferencing technologies and other ICT-related actions can reduce travel by staff and students.

See Publications, Cases and Tools for the outputs from this study.

Click here for the JISC project scope and tender document.

To contact the project email susteit(at)