Thursday, October 29, 2009

Canberra Carbon Cops Certified

The Hon Lindsay Tanner presenting John Lawler, Chief Executive Officer of ACC their Power management Certification award.The Minister for Finance, Lindsay Tanner handed the Australian Crime Commission their three Green IT certifications from Computers Off this morning at the ACC headquarters in Canberra. The ACC are the first organisation to receive all three certifications.

ACC also have a green headquarters building, but unfortunately few people will see the inside of it, due to security. The building uses chilled beam technology, rainwater harvesting and sensor lighting. The greening is subtle, but if you look up, you notice that what looks like a solid white ceiling is in fact a mesh designed to let cooling air circulate from the chilled beam above.

To achieve low energy IT certification, the ACC set its desktop computers to switch to low power mode, rationalized it servers down to about half the previous number and purchased carbon offsets for the remaining power use. They estimate savings at 435 tones of CO2 equivalent per year and $80,000 on electricity.

The minister said the government was under pressure to practice what they preach on greenhouse gas emission reduction. He said that it was easy to loose sight of the fact that not just old smoke stack technology causes pollution, but hi-tech computers do as well. He commented on the dilemma in the relationship between central coordination agencies such as Finance and the other departments, such as ACC. The job of ACC is to fight crime, not climate change. The Rudd government is crafting a hybrid arrangement to allow initiatives such as the rationalisation of data centres but allow individual agencies to use their initiative. He then handed the three certificates to the ACC.

I hope to be able to use the ACC as a case study for my Green IT students next semester.

The minister's media release and speech should be on the Minister's web site shortly.

ps: I couldn't blog this live from the ACC as their security system blocked my wireless access.

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Thursday, February 12, 2009

Free computers for bushfire victims

The Australian Information Industry Association (AIIA), with Computers Off Australia and the Australian Computer Society are coordinating the provision of free computers to Victorian bushfire areas. ICT companies have been asked to register support the AIIA website.

Unfortunately when I went to register my company, the site returned "404 Not Found". So one service I could provide is web site testing. I designed the AIIA's first web site, while I was on a course at the Melbourne Business School in 1995.

More seriously I would like to offer the people of Victoria what assistance I can with dealing with this and future emergencies:
There may also be some scope for modular computer equipped classrooms to be deployed to replace burnt out schools, libraries and other facilities.

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Wednesday, January 14, 2009

Green IT breakfast briefing, Canberra, 20 January 2008

Computers Off Australia is having a free Green IT breakfast briefing in Canberra, 20 January 2008. As well as myself, Jose Iglesias from Symantec USA and Idris Sulaiman, CEO of Computers Off Australia will be speaking:
Computers Off Australia - Green IT breakfast briefing

Computers Off Australia would like to invite you to attend a free breakfast briefing on Greening IT in 2009.

When: 8:00 - 9:30am, Tuesday 20 January 2008
Where: Canberra - Location to be advised upon registration


  • Dr Idris Sulaiman, CEO, Computers Off Australia
  • Jose Iglesias, VP of Global Solutions, CTO Office, Symantec USA
  • Tom Worthington, Adjunct Senior Lecturer, ANU Computer Studies and Green ICT Course Convener, Australian Computer Society, Computer Professional Education Program

In the recent Gershon Review of the Australian Government's Use of Information and Communication Technology report, Gershon identified a number of key elements and recommendations around sustainability of ICT.

At this briefing the speakers will provide an overview of some of the key strategies and technologies that will assist both government and non government organisations with developing and implementing their green ICT strategy and infrastructure.

Discussions will also touch on practical tips and elements of Green IT – energy efficiency and sustainability practical solutions to reduce your carbon footprint and how CIO's, IT managers and policy makers can position their organisations and their green ICT policy commitments to deal with the new lean economic environment that is taking shape in 2009.

Also covered during this briefing will be an outline of the industries ICT energy efficiency and sustainability (Green IT) courses in development by the ACS (Australian Computer Society) and how ICT organisations (ICT suppliers and users) respond to the environmental challenges and opportunities?

Speaker Bios:

Jose Iglesias is vice president of global solutions at Symantec Corporation (SYMC). In his role, Iglesias leads the efforts for integrating availability and security, into solutions of value, to customers worldwide. He is in Canberra to provide a briefing to government agencies on Symantec technology including virtualisation, asset management, power management, data de-duplication and other technologies which form part of the company’s Green offerings.

Tom Worthington is COA Board Advisor, an IT consultant and Adjunct Senior Lecturer in the Department of Computer Science, College of Engineering and Computer Studies at the Australian National University. Tom is the designer of the world's first globally accredited Green ICT e-learning course for computer professionals. ...

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Monday, September 29, 2008

Green fix for Digital Education Revolution budget

In "Developing a Green IT strategy - Saving the planet, one classroom at a time" at the Australian Computers in Education Conference 2008 (ACEC'08), 2pm tomorrow, Mark Winter will propose power saving measures for computers in schools. He claims that this can save enough on power bills to resolve the dispute between the state and federal governments on funding of the Digital Education Revolution program:

“... states can save upwards of 50%-70% off their PC power consumption, that in turn saves money and CO2 emissions”. “The states can then use these savings to fund the installation of the new PC’s being allocated to them through the Digital Education Revolution (DER)”.

“We know that the Rudd Government’s “Digital Educational Revolution” Policy will change the way that the education of our youth is delivered, however at what cost”. “With the promised $1.2 bn in funding, more schools will have access to more PCs than ever before. More PCs means more energy consumption, which means higher electricity bills and greater carbon emissions” Winter said.

“NSW was allocated 74,838 PC’s in round one of the DER and with this comes a power bill to run these PC’s of around $4.6 million dollars per annum, so you can understand why Verity Firth, the NSW Education Minister is upset and is wanting clarification on who will be paying the ongoing costs associated with the scheme.” Mark went onto say.

“The NSW Education Minister has the ability to self fund the shortfall and can save $3.8 million in power consumption by mandating simple measures that all PC’s within school are centrally shut down when not in use. This will not only have substantial savings for the states, allowing them to use these savings to fund the ongoing costs it will also assist with reducing Australia’s carbon footprint”, Winter concluded. ..."

From: Australian Green IT initiative can resolve the federal governments funding crisis with the states around the Digital Education Revolution, Media Release, Computers Off Australia, 29 October 2008.

ps: Hope this makes sense. It was my suggestion, as one of the advisers to the CoA campaign. The Hon Julia Gillard MP, Deputy Prime Minister and Minister for Education is speaking at ACEC'08 on Wednesday morning.

For more details on how government can reduce energy costs, see my report for the Envrionment Department . For measures individual teacher can take, see the CoA web site.

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Monday, June 30, 2008

Computers Off Launch

Computers Off CampaignGreetings from the launch of the Computers Off Campaign in Sydney today at 10am.

Mark Winter started off by showing a humorous video about "Naked Tuesday" showing that turning computers off may be an easier approach than others to energy saving. He then introduced the advisors to the campaign, including myself. He then talked about his inspiration for the campaign, when he stayed in North Sydney during the Earth Hour initiative to turn off Sydney lights and being in the USA during Al Gore's "Unfortunate Truth".

Mark claimed this is the first Green IT labelling initiative (at least until someone pointed out an earlier one). To participate, organisations are required to meet program guidelines and code of practice. Companies are required to have virtulaisationor other power management software. Organisations will be listed on the Computers Off web site and selected at random to be audited, to ensure they are complying.

Idris Sulaiman, the CEO of Computers Off, the talked about the relevance of the campaign to the ICT sector in Australia, including the coming reporting requirements by government (starting tomorrow). He mentioned the will be a global launch on world environment day. One point he made that previously ice was predicted to melt at the North Pole in 2080, but now the prediction is 2018. A recent ITU report launched in London recently estimated ICT at 2.5 to 3% of the total CO2 emissions (only for computer use not counting embedded energy from making the computers). He suggested that the ICT government review could consider energy efficient measures. He pointed out that beyond simply setting screen savers, power management software can implement and monitor more sophisticated power manage functions.

Richard Collins, consultant to the federal government's energy efficiency team, pointed out that Australian governments regulate energy sue, but not computers. He showed projects that if action is not taken, computers will be come an increasingly significant proportion of home energy use. He told an anecdote of visiting a company to talk on energy use and found that the computer staff had locked out the energy saving settings on all the company's computers. MEPS in October 2009.

A media release was distributed at the launch (copy appended) and the slide presentaiton (text only appended):

For immediate release


** Pictures available on request **

Computers Off Australia’ Campaign & Labelling initiative launched to encourage Australians to save the environment… one computer at a time!

SYDNEY – Monday 30 June, 2008 – Australians can now make a real, tangible and ‘easy’ difference to our environment – on a national and global scale – by turning off their computers when not in use. The not-for-profit ‘Computers Off Australia’ campaign and labelling initiative, officially launched today in Sydney, Australia, has been developed to encourage Australians to implement power management practices on their computers – at home and in the workplace - and in doing so, save carbon emissions and our planet!

According to Mark Winter, Founder of Computers Off Australia, “I realised about seven months ago when I told my two youngest children that we were going to wash the car and they got into the car, ready to drive to the carwash rather than grab a bucket and sponge as I would have done when I was a kid, that the world is a very different place today.”

“Moreover, it really hit home to me that if we don’t start making a difference now, in every seemingly ‘little’ way we can, our children are going to have an even bigger problem with the environment than we have today.”

“ Soon after, I read in a Gartner report that the ICT industry accounts for approximately 2% of global carbon dioxide emissions, which is equivalent to the emissions of the aviation industry. I knew then where I could start… and the idea for Computers Off Australia was born,” he added.

The objectives of the ‘Computers Off’ campaign are to form part of a new development of practical programs being offered by the Information and Communication Technology industry to improve energy efficiency and deal with global climate change. This initiative also supports an industry-wide target to achieve a 50 per cent improvement in Australia’s and global computer energy efficiency by 2010.

The Computers off ‘label’ has been created to act as the computer industry’s guide to help individuals, business and government quickly and easily identify those organisations that are doing their part to reduce their power consumption and are in turn reducing their CO 2 emissions.

Industry associations including the (AIIA) Australia Information Industry Association and the (ACS) Australian Computers have provided their endorsements and support behind this campaign and labelling initiative.

“ The opportunity for us here in Australia is to lead by example and show the rest of the world that we can achieve something that we probably didn't think possible. By coming together and turning our computers off when they are not being used, not only can we can make a real difference, we can leave our children’s children with a habitable planet. Then, our plan is to take this initiative to the rest of the globe,” Mr Winter concluded.

Check out the Computers Off commercials –

Come on Australia, start turning your computers off when not in use
and implement new ways to save energy and the environment!


For media information or a media interview with Mark Winter, Founder of ‘Computers Off Australia’, please contact:

Kerryn Nelson
Managing Director
Big Mouth Marketing Communications P/L
Ph: + 61 3 9558 3122 E: kerryn.nelson(a)

Did you know?

People don’t generally leave their televisions on all day while they are at work or away on holidays,
yet across Australia, millions of work computers are on all night – wasting energy, costing businesses, places of learning and the government over one billion dollars in electric generation costs and contributing to global climate change.

According to a Gartner Report, the global Information and Communications Technology industry (ICT) accounts for approximately 2% of global carbon dioxide emissions, which is equivalent to the emissions of the aviation industry.

According to a recent report by the Department of Environment and Water Heritage , there are now more than 16 million PCs within government departments, institutions and businesses and approximately 8 million PC in Australian homes.

If Australian home users, businesses and the government start to turn of their computers when they are not in use and implement automated power management, they will collectively save in excess of $1.3 billion ($1,332,407,232) per annum and we will reduce our carbon emissions by 7,938,926 tonnes per annum!

This is equivalent to taking 1,373,517 cars off the road, planting 2,165,260 trees and 8,882,715 homes that would be lit for a year with the energy saved by power management (at 12c electricity cost per kWh).

How BIG an impact can you make by turning off your computer?

By turning off your computer each night when you leave work for a year you will help save as much energy as it takes:

  • to run a clock radio for 1,392 weeks

  • to make 9,280 bags of microwave popcorn

  • to wash 464 loads of washing

  • to use your blow dryer for 5,568 hours

  • to vacuum for 464 hours

  • to produce 3,480 plastic bags

  • to run your microwave 24 hours a day for a week

  • to boil your kettle for 24 hours a day for 268 days

By turning off your computer tonight when you leave work you will save as much energy as it takes:

  • to run a clock radio for over 3 weeks

  • to make over 20 bags of microwave popcorn

  • to wash over 1 load of washing

  • to blow dry your hair over 12 times

  • to vacuum for over 1 hour

  • to light a 100 watt light bulb for over 10 hours

By turning your computer off tonight when you leave work will save approximately 100kgs of coal from being used - that’s a saving of over about 120kgs of CO 2 emissions.

What is the ‘Computers Off Australia’ Campaign and Labelling Initiative?

The objectives of the ‘Computers Off’ campaign and labelling initiative are a part of a new development of practical programs being offered by the Information and Communication Technology industry to improve energy efficiency and deal with global climate change.

The Computers Off campaign is a simple, yet important initiative which is designed to educate business, government and home users about how we can all help reduce Australia’s carbon footprint by implementing power management practices on our work and home computers.

The Computers off ‘label’ has been created as the computer industry’s guide to help business, government and individuals quickly and easily identify organisations that are doing their part to reduce their power consumption and in turn reducing their CO 2 emissions.

To find out more about how you can get involved, visit

Computers Off Australia Launch Presentation

  • Mark Winter - Founder


  • 10.10am Screening - (Naked Tuesday Viral Commercial)

  • 10.15am Dr Idris F. Sulaiman, CEO - Computers Off Australia

  • 10.25am Richard Collins, Consultant to the Australian Government's Equipment Energy Efficiency Team

  • 10.45am Ian Birks, President - AIIA (Industry Association)

  • 10.55am Screening - (Recycled Stationary Viral Commercial)

  • 11am Otto Reuttinger, Business Manager - Lenovo

  • 11.10am Dean Downes, IT Director - St Aidens Anglican Girls"â"¢ School

  • 11.20am Screening - (WaterBoy Viral Commercial)

  • 11.25am Questions

  • 11.40am Mark Winter - Closing remarks

Introduction - Where it came from

  • Original idea of Computers Off Australia:

    • Launch of "Lights Off Australia" (Now Earth Hour)
    • Al Gores, Inconvenient Truth
    • Gartner report indicating IT accounts for 2% of global emissions
  • The need for someone to take some action and do something
  • Found like minded people

Board of Advisors

  • Tom Worthington

  • Robin Eckermann

  • Hugh Grant

  • Bianca Wirth

  • Paul Harapin

  • Dr Idris F. Sulaiman - CEO

Computers Off "Campaign"

  • Simple and important initiative

  • Educate home, business and government on how to reduce CO2 emissions

    • Power Management

    • Server and workstation Virtualisation

    • How to start on the carbon neutral path

  • Essentially a national marketing campaign

      • Education specific focus

Computers Off "Labelling"

  • Computer industry's guide to identify organisations TAKING ACTION!

  • Not products, just companies

    • What are they doing internally with this ICT infrastructure

    • Power Management

    • Server and desktop virtualisation

  • Challenges organisations (NO GREEN WASHING)

  • Gives the consumers choices

  • Meet the "Computers Off" labelling requirements

  • Randomly carry out an independent audit

  • Global launch date - World Environment Day 2009

The Labels

An organisation or individual that have implemented/activated Power Management on their home and/or work PC.

An organisation or government department that have virtualised their server or desktop infrastructure.

An organisation or individual that have reduced their ICT carbon footprint and have purchased carbon offsets to become carbon neutral.

The "Computers Off" label

  • The worlds first Green IT labelling initiative

  • The computer industries guide to identify organisation doing their part to reduce their carbon footprint

  • Encourage organisation to improve the use of power throughout their ICT infrastructure

  • Keep the bastards honest "Green Washing"

  • Global launch date - World Environment Day 2009

How does it work?

  • Organisation must meet the labelling requirements, follow the program guidelines and code of practice

    • Have a power management and /or virtualisation policy in development or in place

    • Provide a statement stating your IT carbon reduction strategy

    • This is to be provided on company letterhead

  • We will randomly select a number of licensees and carry out an independent audit

The home user

The education user

The corporate user

Computers Off Australia
First step in a greater role for ICT in addressing Climate Change

  • Idris F Sulaiman - CEO


  • About COA

  • Aims

  • Vision

  • Focus

  • Closing comments

  • "Previously scientists had a totally ice-free Arctic Ocean by 2080, but later revised the date to 2030. More recently, computer models have suggested an ice-free summer may occur by 2018"

  • It seems unthinkable, but for the first time in human history ice is on course to disappear entirely from the North Pole this year"¦" The Canberra Times, Saturday, June 28, 2008 from The Independent, p. 3

About Computers Off Australia (COA)

  • Not-for-profit organisation and campaign

  • National initiative targeting business, government, education sectors & individual consumers

  • Assist in practical steps in reducing their energy use & their CO2 footprint - both for individuals and organisations

  • Promote organisations adopt network power management tools and implementing their IT emissions reduction policy

  • Offering the worlds first Green IT labelling initiative for both individual members of organisations.

  • Campaign support
    - Individuals on Board, Industry, Government & Consumer bodies


  • Focus in three areas:

  • Reducing energy consumption of
    computers and other ICT equipment

    • encouraging behavior change in stakeholders:

    • A) business

    • B) government

      • C) education sector

      • D) individual consumers

  • Promoting network efficiencies to be gained through the use of power management and CO2 emission monitoring software in all IT-using sectors

  • Promoting collaboration by stakeholders to recognise the best ways to make
    power management and ICTs play a critical role in addressing global warming


  • Lower ICT total CO2 emissions (now approximately 2.5-3% of global CO2 emissions)

    • According to ITU London Symposium (17-18 June 2008) includes

    • includes all "in-use" commercial and government ICT and communications but

    • does not including "indirect heat" (generated during in-use) and

      • does not "embedded energy" using in ICT equipment

    • Equivalent to the aviation industry

  • The Good News:

    • There are substantial inefficiencies in the technology and use behaviors that can be readily addressed

    • Centralised Power Management and virtualisation can cut computers & monitors CO2 emissions in 2009-14 by 9.18 Mt CO2 or at least 2.3 million cars of the road (given a conservative take up)

Which equipment uses more power?


  • To raise awareness, promote implementation measures reduce energy consumption of computers and ICT-equipment

  • To scope measures that target existing large ICT initiatives to deal with their on energy efficiency and environmental performance

  • To provide a firm, quantitative basis for immediate, medium and longer term specific greenhouse response measures


  • Energy cost rise (rising price of crude reaching record levels - >$140/barrel)

  • Reporting regulations (Corporations emitting more than 125 Kt of CO2 must report. Fine of up to $200,000, audit by regulators.)

  • Government "leading by example" using its enormous purchasing power to drive markets for cleaner and greener goods and services helping to bring down prices for all Australians"(see )

    • Government Leadership in Sustainability Inter-Departmental Committee
      (10 departments) with the aims to reduce energy and water use, set targets on renewable energy use and use government procurement

    • Government ICT efficiency review (DoFD): setting "ICT Best Practice" standards

    • Post-Kyoto Agenda: Input to Garnaut Review (greater ICT role in supplementary measures to the Emission Trading Scheme, ETS), "green" and "white" papers


  • "Digital Education Revolution" education program - $1.2 billion plan to put over a million computers in schools

  • National energy efficiency goal that "will put Australia on track to being at the forefront of organisation for Economic Co-Operation and Development (OECD) energy efficiency improvement"

Closing words

  • COA is working to raise awareness and get stakeholders to implement measures dealing with their total energy consumption attributable to the ICT

  • Improve energy efficiency of "in-use" ICT hardware as the first steps

  • Deploying power management and virtualising server and workstation infrastructure leads to significant reduction of standby and idle power losses

  • ICT equipment monitoring of CO2 footprint will bring better energy performance - supplement minimum standards for ICT equipment

  • Manufacturers/distributors/users to measure and develop strategy to improve energy efficiency in ICT producing sectors:

  • Australia needs and can perform better than OECD"â"¢s average in many areas of equipment energy efficiency: ICTs can play a critical role

  • Cost of inaction is greater than cost of action, act now!

Thank You

Idris F Sulaiman
CEO, Computers Off Australia

For more information, please visit:

Screening - (Recycled Stationary Viral Commercial)
Screening - (Waterboy Viral Commercial)

ps: Robin Eckerman wants the Government solar rebate restored. ;-(

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Sunday, April 20, 2008

Computers off Australia

"Computers off Australia" is an initiative to reduce the carbon footprint of computers by helping people to implement power management on their computers at home and work. There has been some recent media coverage of the project.

A few weeks ago Mark Winter from inTechnology Distribution asked me to help with the campaign. At first I thought it might be a token effort, much like the Earth Hour. But in talking to people about Green ICT, I discovered than many people were under the mistaken impression that computer screen savers saved electricity (when in fact they waste power) and had no idea how to set the energy saving features on their computer. So I agreed to help out.

The idea is to establish"Computers off Australia" as a not-for profit organisation. As well as myself, Professor Robin Eckermann (noted broadband expert and green telecommunications expert) is assisting. The campaign aims to find an extra 6 to 8 people and an advisory board of IT and non-IT professionals to assist with developing new ideas.

Dr Idris Sulaiman, who previously worked on energy saving initiatives with the federal government is heading the organization. He is keep to hear from organizations willing to contribute resources to the campaign (in return for acknowledgment).
Recently established environmental organisation, Computers Off, has appointed its first CEO/economist as it looks to build links between its IT-based initiatives and government. ...

From: IT environment group strengthens government links
Computers Off appoints former government lobbyist to assist industry and government with more efficient IT management
, Nadia Cameron 17 April, 2008 11:54:16, ARN, IDG

ps: The value of the Computers Off web site was brought home to me recently when I was attempting to set the power saving on a friend's Apple Mac computer. I realized I had no idea what to do, so I went to the Apple Mac instructions on the campaign web site and followed what it said. This process for both Mac and Windows is harder than it need be, as the "screen saver" and "power management" settings are in different places and can conflict with each other.

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