Friday, April 30, 2010

Green ICT in Sydney

Charles Nolan (Director, IT Infrastructure UNSW) and James Dawson will talk about green data centre design and assessment in Sydney, 5th May 2010.
Green ICT

Within this Green ICT presentation the two presenters will touch on specific Green ICT issues within the Industry.

Charles Nolan will discuss trends in data centre technology such as high density computing and more efficient data centre cooling etc

James Dawson will explain metrics being developed and used for data centre “greening” and strategies for improving metrics once these are measured (and tracked), backed up with experiences from a real-life case study and including an update on the progress made since last year.


Charles Nolan & James Dawson

Charles Nolan is the infrastructure delivery manager and data centre consultant at UNSW.

James Dawson is the consulting enterprise architect at UNSW. ...

Labels: ,

Thursday, April 29, 2010

Queens University Live Building

The Queen's University, Faculty of Applied Science has set up a "Live Building". The mechanical, electrical and structural systems in their Integrated Learning Centre are monitored in real-time, as are many modern buildings, but in this case the information is provided live on the university web site.

As an example, it is possible to monitor if the lights are on, or off, in the rooms of the building. Also there is a real time display of the air conditioning plant. and display of electrical power use of buildings on the campus. However, the displays seemed to have been designed to impress, rather than inform. It would be good to have some simple tables of numbers and charts, rather than animations.

Curiously the campus solar array is offline awaiting the completion of paperwork with the power company.

Labels: , ,

Friday, April 16, 2010

Green IT in Higher Education

"Powering Down: Green IT in Higher Education (ID: " by Mark Sheehan and Shannon Smith as been released by EDUCAUSEERS1002, 04/15/2010). This report does not say much which is new on Green ICT, but is useful in confirming that what applies in other areas also applies in universities. It will be a valuable resource for university administrators, IT providers and sustainability professionals looking to green computing at telecommunications on the campus. But there will still be the usual frustrations, that while many are prepared to talk about green ICT, few are prepared to act to achieve it.

This 2010 ECAR study of green IT examines the stance institutions and their central IT organizations are taking on environmental sustainability (ES), the progress they are making on a variety of key initiatives, and how the work they are doing is helping them become more environmentally responsible in their business, instructional, and research activities. This study provides chief information officers and others with information about the state of ES practices in higher education and identifies practices that are associated with positive outcomes. Based on a literature review to define the issues and establish the research questions, along with consultation with higher education IT administrators and ES experts to validate survey questions, ECAR conducted a quantitative web-based survey of EDUCAUSE member institutions that received 261 responses, 77.8% of which were from the institutional ClO or equivalent. This report is based on results of the survey as well as on qualitative interviews with 31 higher education IT leaders and staff. A corporate edition is available here.

Table of Contents
Entire Study Powering Down: Green IT in Higher Education
Chapter 1 Executive Summary
Chapter 2 Introduction and Methodology
Chapter 3 Institutional Environmental Sustainability: The Basics
Chapter 4 Institutional Environmental Sustainability Initiatives
Chapter 5 Central IT’s Role in Greening the Campus
Chapter 6 Central IT Environmental Sustainability Initiatives
Chapter 7 Distributed IT and Environmental Sustainability
Chapter 8 Knowledgeability and Participation
Chapter 9 Assessing Progress
Chapter 10 Higher Education IT and the Coming Green Revolution
Appendix A Institutional Respondents to the Online Green IT Survey
Appendix B Interviewees in Qualitative Research
Appendix C Supplementary Tables
Appendix D Bibliography

Online Supporting Materials
Key Findings
Survey Instrument

Citation for this work: Sheehan, Mark C., with Shannon D. Smith. Powering Down: (Research Study 2, 2010). Boulder, CO: EDUCAUSE Center for Applied Research, 2010, available from

Labels: , ,

Monday, April 12, 2010

Compliance for Green Data Centres

Work is under way for a NABERS Energy rating tool for Data Centre. This will allow data centres in Australian to be rated as to their energy efficiency in the same way other buildings are. William Ehmcke and Graeme Philipson talked about the work to develop this rating tool at Data Centre GreenTech Melbourne 2010. This is not an easy task. There will then be training and guidance needed on how to comply. Currently there are some general books, such as Compliance for Green IT: Pocket Guide (Alan Calder, 2009).

Labels: , ,

Thursday, April 08, 2010

Engagement to Improve Learning and Teaching Techniques

I am part of a team applying for an ALTC grant to work on techniques for teaching Green ICT and applying it in universities. Essentially the idea is to take the Green ICT course I designed and use it as the basis of standards in the area and demonstrate its use in a green electronic classrooms. An interesting part of this is considering how to disseminate the results of the work. For a normal research grant the researchers would write some papers and talk at some conferences. But the ALTC requires more than just some papers and talks, as they want to see the results actually used.

ALTC produced two reports:
The project proposals are required to include "formative" evaluation o provide feedback as it goes along. Large projects (over $150,000 currently) also require formal external "summative" evaluation at the end (the cost of this evaluation can be part of the grant).

ALTC have a ten step process for evaluation:
  1. Project Clarification: What is the nature of the project?
  2. What is the purpose and scope of the evaluation?
  3. Who are the stakeholders for the project and the audiences for the evaluation information?
  4. What are the key evaluation questions which the evaluation will address?
  5. How will the information be collected and analysed?
  6. What are the criteria for making judgements about the findings of the evaluation?
  7. What resources and skills are required to conduct the evaluation?
  8. How will the evaluation findings be disseminated?
  9. What is the timeline for the evaluation activities?
  10. Is the evaluation plan internally coherent and of high quality?
For a green project some ways this might be done is to provide online forums to help get green educators together and provide them with resources. Also in person they would try out the green electronic classroom. Rather than having a two phase approach where part of the project is to do the research and then separately disseminate it, we would build tools and facilities which would be used for dissemination as well.

One of the difficulties is to find interested participants in the ALTC project. These need not be limited to university and can be companies or other organisations. It occurs to me that some of my former Green ICT students may wish to appreciate, as they work in the field in government agencies, multinational companies, Australian and North American universities. Also an obvious partner is the Australian Computer Society's educational arm, which originally commissioned the Green ICT course.

The traditional way to find partners is to quietly sound out people. However, I thought it useful to make a public blog posting and invite people to express interest.

ps: ALTC do not appear to have practice what the preach, having produced their recommendations on dissemination as large hard to download, hard to read, PDF documents. So I have extracted the summary of one, to make it easier to read:
Unravelling the complex relationship between ideas and innovations, their dissemination and their recontextualisation within and between the different levels of society, government or the higher education system as a whole, individual universities, and the students and teachers in universities has been a central task of this project in order to identify and devise strategies to engage these multiple levels in systematic and strategic change. Ideas about educational policy and reforms and innovations supporting educational change
are received and interpreted differently within and between each of the levels and the various contexts in which institutions operate (Ball, 1998). Most current models of dissemination of good teaching practice and innovations focus on sponsored workshops, seminars and courses, upgrading infrastructure, showcases of good practice and some form of ‘teaching excellence’ awards.

While these are useful and constitute a degree of dissemination, they are not sufficient to lead widespread changes in practice or implementation across an
institution or discipline.

The question faced by the Carrick Institute for Learning and Teaching in Higher Education as it considers developing a grant scheme is ‘How can large-scale educational reform in Australian universities be developed and sustained by grant schemes and other centrally funded projects?’

The aim of this project was to systematically investigate Australian and international learning and teaching grant schemes and their outcomes to determine strategies the Carrick Institute might employ to maximise the
likelihood of achieving large-scale change in teaching and learning across the Australian higher education sector, especially through its grants program. The project has identifi ed a number of conditions that have been shown to be effective in achieving dissemination of project outcomes and that engage the multiple levels of the higher education sector. It has recommended strategies for the Carrick Institute and leaders of institutions to manage multiple innovative strategies that impact on the culture and practices of universities and their departments as well as on the practices of individual academics. ...

From: Strategies for effective dissemination of project outcomes, Deborah Southwell, Deanne Gannaway, Janice Orrell, Denise Chalmers, Catherine Abraham, 2005

Labels: ,

Greening mutlicore computers

Greetings from the ANU in Canberra where PhD student Xi Yang is giving a seminar on how to use software to save power used by adding a low power cores to a computer architecture. He argues that around 2000 CPU chip designers could no longer increase performance by simply increasing the frequency the chip operated at. Instead designers included multiple cores on the one chip. Normally multiple cores of the same core designs are used. However, a better result might be obtained by using low power cores for routine tasks. The simplest example is a chip with one large core and one small core. The small core then handles routine tasks, such as slow input/output, freeing the big core for handling high performance application processing.

This technique seems to me to have considerable potential. Apart from increasing the performance of a system, it could be used to reduce the energy consumption. I use a netbook with a low power Intel Atom processor. This is more than adequate for routine web browsing, email and word processing, but is not sufficient for large application tasks. Having a high performance core would allow for occasional large tasks.

From a practical point of view a small low power processor is all most desktop computer users need. However, they will buy a higher performance unit just in case they need it. This computer will then waste energy by running idle most of the time. If they could buy a computer with a low power and high power core that would save energy, as the high power core would be unused most of the time.

Some desktop computers and laptops already include an ancillary low power chip, but this is only used to boot the computer using a stripped down operating system (usually a version of Linux or Windows CE) for quick casual browsing. The ancillary chip is unused when the main processor is active. It may be feasible to reprogram one of these systems to provide for both processors working at once. A might be to use several low power cores in place of the high performance core. As an example, eight Intel Atom cores might be provided, but normally only one would be used.

Seminar Details

OS-assisting Core: Improving the Power efficiency of Single ISA Asymmetric Chip

Xi Yang (School of Computer Science, CECS ANU)

CS HDR MONITORING CompSys Research Group

DATE: 2010-04-08
TIME: 10:45:00 - 11:15:00
LOCATION: Ian Ross Seminar Room

The power efficiency of asymmetric multicore systems can be improved by executing suitable operating system workload on low power cores. Devices interrupt handling, IO processing, scheduler and background kernel threads are suitable candidate workload.

Labels: ,

Monday, April 05, 2010

Advertising in ebooks for the iPad

With the Apple iPad now released I thought I should finish the Epub version of my Green Technology Strategies book. One insight is that the Epub format used for iPad ebooks is just a type of canned web site. So it may be feasible to have advertisements, such as those for Google AdWords and embedded in an ebook.

When their ebook reader was connected to the Internet, the reader could click on an advertisement to connect to the advertiser's web site. This revenue might be enough to make many ebooks, magazines and newspapers available at no charge to the reader.

For those who do not like the idea of advertising being introduced into books, it has been there fore at least 100 years, as some Victorian era paperback books included advertising at the front and back.

Obviously there would be the issue of what to do when the reader is offline and where to put the ads on the small screen.

Another insight this brought was that e-books don't have back covers. I was designing the cover using's online tool and wondered why the button for creating the back cover was missing from the tool. It took me some time to realise that ebooks don't have back covers, in effect there is just the title page combined with the cover of the book. The promotional material which is usually on the back cover of a paperback, or the dust jacket of a hardback book is provided external to the book in the publisher's system.

Labels: , ,

Wednesday, March 31, 2010

Coal powered Internet causing climate change

The report "Make IT Green: Cloud Computing and its Contribution to Climate Change" (Greenpeace, 30 March 2010) warns that the growth of Internet use could cause an increase in greenhouse gas emissions. Unfortunately the case in the report is undermined by the way the report is distributed: as a very poorly formatted, inefficient PDF document. The report is a 24 page 7 Mbyte PDF document. The document is therefore about 10 times larger than it need be and will be generating 10 times as much greenhouse gas emissions as a properly designed document would.

While Greenpeace make a good argument about powering data centres from renewable energy, a far greater reduction in greenhouse gas emissions could be achieved much more quickly and cheaply by making the applications running in those data centres more efficient. Greenpeace might like to lead by example, and commit to efficient online documents.
The announcement of Apple’s iPad has been much anticipated by a world with an ever-increasing appetite for mobile computing devices as a way to connect, interact, learn and work. As rumours circulated – first about its existence and then about its capabilities - the iPad received more media attention than any other gadget in recent memory. Apple Chief Executive Officer Steve Jobs finally showcased his company’s latest creation before a rapt audience in San Francisco. From their smart phones and netbooks, the crowd feverishly blogged and tweeted real time updates out to a curious world.

Whether you actually want an iPad or not, there is no doubt that it is a harbinger of things to come. The iPad relies upon cloud-based computing to stream video,
download music and books, and fetch email. Already, millions access the ‘cloud’ to make use of online social networks, watch streaming video, check email and create documents, and store thousands of digital photos online on popular web-hosted sites like Flickr and Picasa.

The term cloud, or cloud computing, used as a metaphor for the internet, is based on an infrastructure and business model whereby - rather than being stored on your own device - data, entertainment, news and other products and services are delivered to your device, in real time, from the internet. The creation of the cloud has been a boon both to the companies hosting it and to consumers who now need nothing but a personal computer and internet access to fulfill most of their computing needs.

Google is perhaps the most famous cloud-based company to demonstrate the potential of a cloud platform to drive a hugely successful business model. All of Google’s signature products - Gmail, Google Documents and Google Earth - are delivered from the cloud.

Its ambitious project to create a digital library will be entirely hosted by servers storing most of the world’s published work, all in digitised form.

The cloud is growing at a time when climate change and reducing emissions from energy use is of paramount concern.With the growth of the cloud, however, comes an increasing demand for energy.

For all of this content to be delivered to us in real time, virtual mountains of video, pictures and other data must be stored somewhere and be available for almost instantaneous access. That ‘somewhere’ is data
centres - massive storage facilities that consume incredible amounts of energy.

But decisions about how the cloud will be built out are being made by business leaders primarily concerned with quarterly profit statements and earnings for shareholders.

Facebook vs. Yahoo

For example, in January 2010, Facebook commissioned a new data centre in Oregon and committed to a power service provider agreement with PacificCorp, a utility that gets the majority of its energy from coal-fired power stations, the United States’ largest source of greenhouse gas emissions. Effectively becoming an industrial-scale consumer of electricity, Facebook now faces the same choices and challenges that other large ‘cloud-computing’ companies have in building their data centres.With a premium being placed on access to the cheapest electricity available on the grid. In many countries, this means dirty coal.

All the same, other companies have made better decisions for siting some of their data centres. Yahoo!, for instance, chose to build a data centre outside Buffalo, New York, that is powered by energy from a hydroelectric power plant - dramatically decreasing its carbon footprint. Google Energy, a subsidiary of cloud leader Google, applied and was recently approved as a regulated wholesale buyer and seller of electricity in the United States, giving it greater flexibility as to where it buys its electricity to power its data centres.

Brown cloud or green cloud?

Ultimately, if cloud providers want to provide a truly green and renewable cloud, they must use their power and influence to not only drive investments near renewable energy sources, but also become involved in setting the policies that will drive rapid deployment of renewable electricity generation economy-wide, and place greater R&D into storage devices that will deliver electricity from renewable sources 24/7. (See page 11 for prescriptive policy recommendations for IT companies.)

If we hope to phase out dirty sources of energy to address climate change, then - given the massive amounts of electricity needed in order to run computers, provide backup power and coordinate related cooling equipment that even energy-efficient data centres consume - the last thing we need is for more cloud infrastructure to be built in places where it increases demand for dirty coal-fired power. The potential of ICT technologies and cloud computing to drive low-carbon economic growth underscore the importance of building cloud infrastructure in places powered by clean renewable energy.

Companies like Facebook, Google, and other large players in the cloud computing market must advocate for policy change at the local, national and international levels to ensure that, as their appetite for energy increases, so does the supply of renewable energy.

I have always believed that IT is the engine of an efficient economy; it also can drive a greener one
Michael Dell, Forbes magazine

In 2008, The Climate Group and the Global e-Sustainability Initiative (GeSI) issued SMART 2020: enabling the low carbon economy in the information age.i The study highlighted the significant and rapidly growing footprint of the ICT industry and predicted that because of the rapid economic expansion in places like India and China, among other causes, demand for ICT services will quadruple by 2020.

SMART 2020 also found that:
  • PC ownership will quadruple between 2007 and 2020 to 4 billion devices, and emissions will double over the same period, with laptops overtaking desktops as the main source of global ICT emissions (22%).
  • Mobile phone ownership will almost double to nearly 5 billion accounts by 2020, but emissions will only grow by 4%. Broadband uptake will treble to almost 900 million accounts over the same period, with emissions doubling over the entire telecoms infrastructure.
The Smart 2020 study also made a compelling case for ICT’s significant potential to deliver climate and energy solutions, estimating that ICT technologies could cut 7.8 GtCO2 of global greenhouse gas emissions by 2020, a 15%reduction over business-as-usual projections. The study posits that innovations from the ICT sector - when combined with increased use of renewable energy - can put the world on a more sustainable path and help keep global temperature increase below the 2°C threshold scientists say is needed to hold off the worst effects of climate change.

table ommitted

How big is the carbon footprint of the Information Technology and Communication sector?

MtCO2e =Metric Tonne Carbon Dioxide Equivalent
GtCO2e = Gigatonne Carbon Dioxide Equivalent
i Climate Group and the Global e-Sustainability Initiative (GeSI)(2008). SMART
2020: enabling the low carbon economy in the information age. Available at

2010 has been touted by many in the ICT sector as the ‘Year of the Cloud’. While this is likely a prediction that will be repeated in subsequent years, the arrival of the iPad and growth in netbooks and other tablet computers, the launch of Microsoft’s Azure cloud services for business, and the launch of the Google phone and the proliferation of mobile cloud applications are compelling signs of a movement
towards cloud-based computing within the business sector and public consciousness in a way never seen before.

3 key trends in cloud-based computing
• Continued significant expansion of cloud-based computing despite economic downturn
• Greater attention and growth in deployment of energy-efficient data centres design
• Increased size and scale of data centres being built by major brands

Key questions for cloud-based computing data centre investment
• How big is the cloud in electricity consumption and GHG emissions and how big will it become?
• Where will the cloud be built and what sources of energy will be powering it?
• How may large data centres impact the surrounding load centre’s demand for fossil fuels?
• To what extent will efficiency and design improvements reduce the rate of growth?
table omitted

How much electricity or associated greenhouse gas pollution is currently produced or will be generated to power a much bigger cloud in 10 years? The answer is far from clear, given the rapid growth, and that many major cloud brands refuse to disclose their energy footprint.

The Smart 2020 analysis forecast that the global carbon footprint of the main components of cloud-based computing - data centres and the telecommunications network - would see their emissions grow, on average, 7%and 5%respectively each year between 2002-2020.
Underlying this analysis is the number of data centre servers growing on average 9%each year during this period.

Using the global analysis and forecast of the overall ICT emissions footprint in the Smart 2020 Report as a foundation, the following reports seeks to shine a fresh light on the electricity demand of the global cloud, highlighting the scale of the potential demand and importance of where and what sources of electricity are being used to power Facebook, Gmail, and other cloud-based computing platforms.

The first of the two adjustments were made to the analysis used in the Smart 2020 Report to disaggregate the projections for growth in the main components of cloud based computing, and place in context of electricity demand and renewable energy supply. The third adjustment incorporates some bottom up analysis of energy demand from data centres in the US, and the scale impact on the size of the overall electricity demand if more accurate estimation of the energy demand and GHG emissions associated with large data centres.To make the data of the report more accessible as an instrument to evaluate the projected impact of the cloud on electricity demand and their relationship to energy policies, the Smart 2020 analysis has been deaggregated to show overall electricity consumption as outlined below.

table omitted

The results available from the Smart 2020 Report are shown as tones of carbon emitted and not in energy units (e.g. electricity consumed kWh). The emission factors used come from McKinsey and Vanttefall Cost Curve, which are not disclosed in the report.

Using a publicly-known global factor for the global carbon intensity of electricity production,WRI’s CAITi, the equivalent electricity consumption is derived as shown in Table 2.

table omitted

Smart 2020 Adjustment #3:
Top-down vs. bottom-up adjustment for data
centre energy consumption
While the Smart 2020 report did a very credible top-down analysis of global data centre consumption, it is important to compare this with a bottom-up approach. Based on the 2007 bottom-up analysis conducted by the US Environmental Protection Agency (US EPA), the estimated electricity consumption of US data centres is 1.7 times larger than the top-down analysis by the Smart 2020 report estimated for the US and Canada combined. If this factor is to be applied to the global electricity consumption in Table 2, the data centres portion would go from the 194.2 to 330 billion kWh and, as consequence, the total cloud energy consumption (data centres plus telecommunications) would be 622.6 billion kWh -; a number that is 1.3 times larger than reported under the Smart 2020 report.

table omitted

Adjustment #3
Adjustment #1--reduction of scope of telecoms network reporting
Smart 2020 Adjustment #1:
Scope of Telecoms network reporting
The Smart 2020 Report provides carbon footprint figures in MtCO2e as a combination of two sources of emissions: indirect emissions from electricity use (scope 2) and indirect emissions from upstream
production (scope 3), or embodied carbon. To show electricity or energy use emissions separately, a correction factor [Scope 2/ (Scope 2+3)] will be applied as shown in the table for adjustment #1. This correction factor for Scope 2 is derived from the information provided on global internet footprint in the Smart 2020 Report, which includes PCs in addition to telecoms and data centres.

Mobile phones accounted for 43%of the carbon footprint of Telecoms. However, to keep the analysis focused on the infrastructure of the cloud and related energy consumption, the energy footprint of mobile phones will be subtracted, as PCs (desktops and laptops) are not counted in this analysis, phones
will be also subtracted. The 270 MtCO2e without mobile phones translates into 154 MTCO2 globally.

table omitted

Projected regional growth of data centres

Unless cloud data centres are strategically placed to utilise or be co-developed with renewable sources of electricity, the data centre operators are stuck with the same problem everybody has, and having to accept the mix of clean and dirty energy sources that the electric utilities rely upon to feed the grid.

Growth of energy-efficient data centers
More cloud-computing companies are pursuing design and siting strategies that can reduce the energy consumption of their data centres, primarily as a cost containment measure. For most companies, the environmental benefits of green data design are
generally of secondary concern.

Facebook’s decision to build its own highly-efficient data centre in Oregon that will be substantially powered by coal-fired electricity clearly underscores the relative priority for many cloud companies. Increasing
Key trends that will impact the environmental footprint of the cloud the energy efficiency of its servers and reducing the energy footprint of the infrastructure of data centres are clearly to be commended, but
efficiency by itself is not green if you are simply working to maximise output from the cheapest and dirtiest energy source available. The US EPA will soon be expanding its EnergyStar rating system to apply to data centres, but similarly does not factor in the fuel source being used to power the data centre in its rating criteria. Unfortunately, as our collective demand for computing resources increases, even the most
efficiently built data centres with the highest utilisation rates serve only to mitigate, rather than eliminate, harmful emissions.
table omitted

Yahoo! Data Center (Lockport, NY)
Yahoo! is currently building a $150 million US dollar data centre near Buffalo, New York, which will be completed in May 2010. The site was chosen in part due to the low cooling costs expected in the region and the ability to use fresh air cooling, as well as the ready access to lowcarbon and low-cost hydro power. The New York Power Authority has approved 10 megawatts of low-cost hydro power for a first phase of construction for a Yahoo! facility. A second phase, expected in the spring of 2012, would receive an additional five megawatts of power.

Apple Computer (North Carolina, US)
Last year, Apple began construction on a $1 billion US dollar data centre in western North Carolina, close to where Google also cited its recent data centre investment. North Carolina’s electricity production is
high. Coal-fired power plants account for about 60%of the State’s electricity generation, while the carbon intensity of the electricity generation in 2005 was 561.4 gCO2e/kWh.

Table omitted

Comparison of significant cloud data centres ...

From: "Make IT Green: Cloud Computing and its Contribution to Climate Change", Greenpeace, 30 March 2010

Labels: , , ,

Thursday, March 18, 2010

On/Of switch symbol confusion

on/off switch symbolThe commonly used power on/off symbol used on computers is officially the IEC 5009 standby symbol. There is a high quality open access version of the symbol in the Wikicommons. This symbol is often confused with on/off.

Labels: ,

Tuesday, March 16, 2010

Green ICT education references

Google Books looks like it will be very useful for finding references. As an example I was helping prepare an application for a grant to work on green ICT education. To make this look plausible, I needed a page or so of references. So I typed "green ICT education" into Google Books. This produced a list of 717 books, including at number seven, my own "Green Technology Strategies". From this and similar searches I quickly found some useful reference. Unlike a conventional search through a physical library, you don't have to go and get the book off the shelf: the search takes you straight to the relevant page of the book:
Title Green Technology Strategies
Author Tom Worthington
Publisher Tomw Communications Pty Ltd, 2009
ISBN 0980620139, 9780980620139

Outline of approach to an accredited internationally aligned green ICT course.

Title Future Trends and Challenges for ICT Standardization
Author Ramjee Prasad
Publisher River Publishers, 2010
ISBN 8792329381, 9788792329387

See page 234 on education and generic approaches to ICT.

Title Sustainable schools: are we building schools for the future?, 2006-07.
Author Great Britain: Parliament: House of Commons: Education and Skills Committee
Publisher The Stationery Office, 2007
ISBN 0215035968, 9780215035967

Page 66 discusses delivering sustainable learning environments.

Title Sustainable development and innovation in the energy sector
Author Ulrich Steger
Editor Ulrich Steger
Edition illustrated
Publisher Springer, 2005
ISBN 354023103X, 9783540231035

Discusses the role of education in the energy sector in development.

Labels: ,

Friday, March 05, 2010

$20,000 for Student Green ICT Idea

The Telecommunications Society of Australia has announced the completion for the fourth annual Eckermann-TJA Prize. I will be encouraging my Green ICT Students, to enter the competition. This year the competition is for the best paper by university students on sustainable ICT. The top students get $5,000 and their university $10,000.

... Entries will be judged on the extent to which they demonstrate the tangible benefits that an innovative use of broadband communications technology can deliver in supporting a sustainable environment. For the purposes of the competition, broadband is defined as providing an always-on, low-latency network connection supporting data speeds in excess of 250 kbps over fixed or wireless networks. ...
Last years winner was Chris Goodman for "Bunjil - A Social Network for Proactive Monitoring of Tropical Rainforests":
A tool is proposed to help protect tropical rainforests through early detection of deforestation. The solution automates delivery of the latest satellite images into a collaborative geographic social network. This connects local conservation groups in remote tropical regions with a network of volunteers who share the timely analysis of satellite images. Volunteers are prompted to review the latest images of an area from various sources and mark-up any recent changes observed, such as new roads or clearings. The solution captures the coordinates and sends concise reports to the local group to respond to the observed threats. ...

From: Goodman, Chris. 'Bunjil – A social network for proactive monitoring of tropical rainforests'. Telecommunications Journal of Australia. 2010.; Monash University ePress: Victoria, Australia. : 4.1–4.16. DOI:10.2104/tja10004

Labels: , , ,

Sustaining small ICT business in Canberra

I presented evidence on "Sustainable ICT Procurement" to the ACT Legislative Assembly Public Accounts Committee, 9:30 am yesterday, as part of an Inquiry into ACT Government Procurement.

The hearing started on time, with three MLAs and about five audience members. The ACT Government is more of a town council, that a regional government. The Committee Room 1 of the Legislative assembly was small, but well equipped. There are very sturdy looking native timber desks, with microphones built in (the hearings are recorded and a transcript prepared).

The hearing was chaired by Ms Caroline Le Couteur MLA (Greens). The ACT has a Labour minority government, with support of the Greens. Like Senate hearings I have attended, there was a colleguete atmosphere, without overt politics. As usual, as an "expert" I was treated very respectfully by the committee.

I made a brief opening summary of my submissions and then answered questions. There was considerable interest in the idea of having green standards for procurement and for working with the commonwealth. There was no interest in green education. There was also considerable interest in impediments to small business in the tender process.

I suggested that the federal government would most likely adopt US Energy Star version 4 for computer purchases. It was unlieklt that the EPEAT standard would be made mandatory, as so few products currently comply.

A series of questions I was not prepared for were about the need for professional indemnity insurance for consultants. I suggested that it would be useful if the level of insurance required could be capped. I explained that government contracts generally required me to have $10M insurance. I suggested this would be better capped at $1M and the Australian Computer Society was working on having this introduced first in NSW. However, on checking later, I found the figure for the ACS Limited Liability (NSW) Scheme is $1.5M and came into force in NSW on 1 January 2010. So it would seem sensible for the ACT to match this $1.5M.

As I was asked about insurance, I raised the issue of Worker's Compensation insurance. My company is required to have this insurance, even though I am the only employee. The paperwork is onerous, requiring a statutory declaration from myself every six months and a statement from my accountant, as to how much I was paid. It is necessary to wait for the accounts to be finalised and get three signatures on one piece of paper. The forms a routinely late as a result and the insurance company is obliged to threaten me each time that they will inform the ACT Government who will then prosecute me. I explained to the committee that the requirements where not as onerous in NSW. I suggested that these be relaxed for micro businesses and explained to the committee that otherwise I may move my business to NSW (many other ICT professionals may do likewise).

ps: I previously wrote to the ACT Government and opposition requesting the worker's compensation law be changed, but they declined to do so:
Date: Tue, 21 Aug 2001 09:26:51 +1000
To: ACT Attorney-General stefaniak(a)
From: Tom Worthington
Subject: Request Change To Workers Compensation Act
Cc: Shadow ACT Attorney-General stanhope(a)

This is to request a change to the Workers' Compensation Act 1951 - SCHEDULE 3 paragraph 10 to remove the requirement for employers to provide a certificate from a registered auditor and a statutory declaration of wages paid. Three people are required to sign a paper form to verify the wages paid by an employer. This is an unnecessary burden, particularly on small bushiness, and precludes the use of electronic commence.

Paragraph 10 currently requires the Employer to supply the insurer with:
(a) a certificate from a registered auditor stating the total amount of wages paid to workers; and
(b) a statutory declaration setting out:
(i) the determined categories of workers employed by the employer; and
(ii) the total amount of wages paid ...
I suggest this be changed by:

1. Omitting sub paragraph (a), and
2. Replacing the words "a statutory declaration" with "an approved form".

This change would allow the Minister to approve a form which simply requires the employer to detail the wages paid. Electronic as well as paper forms could be approved. Electronic signatures would not be needed, as the transaction with the insurer would be sufficient to provide verification at least equal to the current system.

The employer could fill in a paper form or a web form on the insurer's web site. They would later be presented with those details in an invoice for payment. The invoice and payment could be electronic. Paying the invoice would be evidence that the employer received the invoice and considered the figures it was calculated from were correct.

ps: My small business consults to the Federal Department of Employment, Workplace Relations and Small Business on e-commerce and its implementation for business:

Labels: , , ,

Sunday, February 28, 2010

Greening IT Book

I just came across the e-book "Greening IT: How Greener IT Can Form a Solid Base For a Low-Carbon Society" (edited by Adrian T. Sobotta, Irene N. Sobotta and John Gotze, 2009). The book is 194 pages and avialable free online (2.3 Mbyte PDF).
Acknowledgements iii
Contents v
1 Prologue 1
2 Our Tools Will Not Save Us This Time - by Laurent
Liscia 5
3 Climate Change and the Low Carbon Society - by
Irene N. Sobotta 17
4 Why Green IT Is Hard - An Ecomonic Perspective -
by Rien Dijkstra 31
5 Cloud Computing - by Adrian Sobotta 65
6 Thin Client Computing - by Sean Whetstone 89
7 Smart Grid - by Adrian Sobotta 111
8 How IT Contributes to the Greening of the Grid - by
Dr. George W. Arnold 127
9 Green IT Industry Review - by Ariane Rüdiger 143
10 Out of The Box Ways IT Can Help to Preserve Na-
ture and Reduce CO2 Simultaneously - by Flavio
Souza 169
11 Epilogue 181
Index 185 ...

This book started out as two people’s commitment to save the planet, and one guy crazy enough to suggest that a book was the way to do it. All three of us can now call ourselves the editors of this exciting, internationally collaborative, and non-profit (Creative Commons licensed) project. ...

From: "Greening IT: How Greener IT Can Form a Solid Base For a Low-Carbon Society", edited by Adrian T. Sobotta, Irene N. Sobotta and John Gotze, 2009.


More than power efficiency for Green Data Centres

Mr Simarjit Chhabra, Chief Information Officer, Xtralis (and Green CIO award winner) pointed out at Data Centre GreenTech Melbourne 2010 on Friday that "Green" is about more than just energy efficiency. He concentrated on the US Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design (LEED) Green Building Rating System. This takes into account the use of materials as well as energy. It also considers the way the building is used.

Mr Simarjit Chhabra used the example of his own Xtralis building. The building has only one cabling system for both voice and data. Also the servers have been virtualised (with auto fail-over). Desktop equipment was standardised with environmental guidelines, including recyclability of the equipment. Equipment was leased, rather than purchased, with the lease company required to dispose of the equipment responsibly. Networked double sided printers were installed. As well as environmental benefits this resulted in financial savings and IT staff reduction.

Labels: , ,

Friday, February 26, 2010

Metrics for Australian Data Centres

The first talk I attended at Data Centre GreenTech Melbourne 2010 was William Ehmcke and Graeme Philipson from Connection Research (to be renamed "envirAbility") explained they have a contract with the Environment Department to produce data centre metrics for Australia (for release later in the year). With all of this it may be time for an update to my book "Green Technology Strategies" and the e-learning courses for Open Universities Australia, Australian Computer Society, and the Australian National University.

Graeme argues that the deficiencies of current metrics, such as Power Usage eEfectiveness (PUE) and Data Center Infrastructure Efficiency (DCiE) are overstated. Current measures of efficiency are limited to the efficiency of the data centre to deliver power to the IT equipment. The idea is to measure how much energy wasted on cooling and the like. Not all the energy delivered to the IT equipment is usefully employed, but measuring how much does useful work, is difficult.

Ideally there would be a measure of Data Centre Energy Productivity (DCeP). This would be the ratio of "useful work" to energy input to the data centre. However, measuring what is "useful work" is not simple. Efficiency could vary depending on what computer equipment is installed, what software is used and how busy the system is. Because of the difficulty of measuring "useful work", industry groups typically set an arbitrary figure of 5% (that is 95% of the energy is wasted in a computer).

US EPA are to issue PUE based metric next month for energy efficiency. As EPA measures are commonly used, this new measure is likely to be widely adopted. This will be a 1 to 100 scale. It should be noted the PUE measures the efficiency of the data centre equipment, not the computers in it.

They mentioned that CompTia sustainability practices examination to be released in the next month, which includes their framework. However, CompTia were previously planing to have this out in December 2009.

The Green IT Promotion Council (GiPC) of Japan (グリーンIT推進協議会), have developed a draft Datacentre Performance Per Energy (DPPE) measure. Unfortunately the material has not yet been translated to English. I was able to use a machine translation to find:

DPPE is a combination of the following four elements ...
  • DUE (Data Center Use Efficiency): Effective Use 電力効率 Power Efficiency
  • ITPE (IT Performance per Energy): processing of
    能を電力で割った値 Divided by the power capacity
  • D C i E (Data Center Infrastructure Efficiency) の逆数でエネルギー効率指標 PUE energy efficiency indicators in the inverse
  • GPE (Green Power Efficiency): Natural Energy Utilization
From: Green Data Centre Trends, KIIS Quarterly, Volume 6-1, December 2009 (データセンターのグリーン化の動向 )
Australia has the NABERS environmental rating for office buildings. There will be mandatory disclosure of this rating for building sales and eases for larger buildings from July 2010. Because data centres consume so much energy they were distorting the building ratings. The example was given of the ABS Building in Canberra (one I know well) which had difficulty with its energy rating due to the large data centre.So Envirbility are developing a NABERS rating for Data Centres for the Environment Department. This is due to be completed in four months time. There is no mandatory disclosure for data centre efficiency currently scheduled. One interesting comment was that because these data centres are within general purpose buildings, there is less variation in efficiencies depending on location, than for dedicated centres.

Envirbility argue that PUE is a reasonable measure. Others such as Compute Units Per Second (CUPS) from Emerson, places emphasis on the processors, not other equipment. It should be noted these measures would be useful for comparing similar equipment and applications only.

There were interesting questions about how holistic measures should be. As an example, there are power losses between a remote power station and a data centre. If this is not included it will penalise co-generation plants, which do not have as high transmission losses.

As an applications software person, I find these measures of efficiency less than encompassing. There seems to be little point in saving a few percent on power efficiency if this is used to power a web server which is delivering documents which are so poorly designed they are wasting 99% of the capacity.

Labels: , ,

Thursday, February 25, 2010

Sustainable Canberra Government

I will be giving evidence on "Sustainable ICT Procurement" to the ACT Legislative Assembly Public Accounts Committee, 9:30 am, 4 March 2010. This is in Committee Room 1 of the Legislative assembly, London Circuit, Canberra, as part of an Inquiry into ACT Government Procurement. The public are welcome to attend and I would appreciate some moral support.

Labels: , , ,

Thursday, February 18, 2010

Post Copenhagen Climate Change Event Online

The ANU Climate Change Institute will host a free event on climate change strategies "Post Copenhagen: Where Do We Go Now?" at the Australian National University , in Canberra, 12.00 pm to 1.20 pm, 23 February 2010. The event will also be streamed live online.

Professor Will Steffen, Executive Director of the ANU Climate Change Institute will host a post COP 15 Climate Change Conference public event.Get the inside story of what went on at the Climate Change Conference in Copenhagen in December.

Take the opportunity to engage with ANU students and researchers who attended the Conference. Internet live streaming will be available for people unable to make it to ANU on the day. The event is free. Students and the general public are most welcome. There will be an opportunity to ask questions and internet participants can interact through a live web forum. ...

Labels: , ,

Saturday, February 13, 2010

Malaysian Green Technology Policy

The Malaysian Ministry of Energy, Green Technology and Water provide several energy efficiency policy, industry and householder guides via their website. While the content of these is very useful (the incentives for industry in particular), the formatting of the reports in very large PDF files makes them difficult to access:
The policy is in Bahasa Malaysia, but web based translation does a reasonable job (other documents are in English):
Green Country Technology Policy

iii foreword from Prime Minister of Malaysia
iv foreword from Minister of Energy, Technology: Green and Clean
02 Background
04 Definitions
05 Green Country Technology Policy
06 Objectives
08 National Goals
11 Strategic Thrust
17 Key Indicators

From: National Green Technology Policy - eBook (Part 1 translation), Malaysian Ministry of Energy, Green Technology and Water, Pusat Tenaga Malaysia, July 2009

Incentives For Renewable Energy & Energy Efficiency in Malaysia

Table of Contents

1. Introduction 2
2. Purpose of Handbook 2
3. Definitions 2
4. Fiscal Incentives for Renewable Energy (RE) 3
4.1 Eligibility for RE Incentives 3
4.2 Types of Incentives for RE 4
4.2.1 Pioneer Status (PS) 4
4.2.2 Investment Tax Allowance (ITA) 4
4.2.3 Eligible Activities for PS and ITA 4
4.2.4 Import Duty and Sales Tax Exemption 5
5. Fiscal Incentives for Energy Efficiency (EE) 5
5.1 Eligibility for EE Incentives 5
5.2 Types of Incentives for EE 6
5.2.1 Pioneer Status (PS) 6
5.2.2 Investment Tax Allowance (ITA) 6
5.2.3 Eligible Activities for PS and ITA 6
5.2.4 Import Duty and Sales Tax Exemption 6
6. Choice of Optimum Incentives 7
6.1 Eligibility for PQ Incentives 7
6.2 Types of Incentives for PQ 7
7. Application Process for RE and EE Incentives 7
7.1 Third Party Distributors for Import Duty
and Sales Tax Exemption 8
8. Conclusions 9
Annex 1: Calculations for ITA benefits 10
Annex 2: Extracts from Budget 2009 15
Annex 3: MIDA Guidelines 17
Annex 4: ST Guidelines 25

From: Incentives For Renewable Energy & Energy Efficiency in Malaysia, Malaysian Ministry of Energy, Green Technology and Water, Pusat Tenaga Malaysia, October 2009

Your Guide to Energy Efficiency at Home


What is energy efficiency? 2
Why do we need to use electricity efficiently? 2
Electricity consumption in your home 4
Cost of electrical appliances usage 4
Formula to calculate the cost of
using electrical appliances 5
Reducing your electricity bills 8
Auditing your home 8
Energy labelling 15
Energy performance of electrical equipment 15
Energy Saving Tips in:
• The Kitchen 18
• Refrigerator and Freezer 18
• Kettle 20
• Oven And Microwave Oven 21
• Cooker Hoods 22
• The Laundry And Bathroom 22
• The Living Room 26
• Home Entertainment 30
• Computers 32
• Lighting 34

From: Your Guide to Energy Efficiency at Home (Part 2), CETREE - Center for Education and Training in Renewable Energy and Energy Efficiency, Malaysian Ministry of Energy, Green Technology and Water, November 2009

Labels: , ,

Tuesday, February 09, 2010

Green ICT Job at ANU

The Australian National University is advertising for a Green ICT Project Officer. ANU Green previously arranged projects for my Green Information Technology Strategies students to do. So the content of that course will give some idea of what the job involves.

Green ICT Project Officer

  • Facilities and Services
  • Fixed Term of 14 Months

We are seeking a qualified, highly organised person with excellent communication and problem solving skills to undertake research to investigate the current size and makeup of the Universitys computer fleet. The project will identify ways to reduce the carbon footprint of ICT and work towards the installation of energy efficient technology that reduce ITs environmental impact.

The project is funded for fourteen months and will have specific milestones to be achieved through the life of the project. The appointee will be required to provide progress reports to the Associate Director, F&S and the Director DOI.

The position will also establish and maintain a public website to inform the ANU community of the progress of the Green ICT Project.

Contact: Bart Meehan T: 02 6125 4148 E:

To be eligible to apply for this position you must have an appropriate Australian or New Zealand work visa.

Labels: , ,

Wednesday, February 03, 2010

Green Learning Commons

Prompted by "What Happened to the Computer Lab?" I was asked by Idris Sulaiman if there are any Australian guidelines on Green Computer Labs. This is a good question. Computer labs are evolving into general purpose computer equipped teaching spaces in the information commons and spreading across university campuses, as well as vocational education and schools. As a result there will be more computers using more energy (and causing more e-waste) at educational institutions. Green guidelines for these are therefore becoming more important.

The guidelines for university teaching spaces in Australia are mostly about how many square metres of space to allocate per student. The allocations for computer equipped labs are much higher than for traditional classrooms. This will cause a further environmental problem for education, as computer equipped spaces become the primary form of teaching space on campus. This could result in a doubling of the environmental footprint of the institution, as well as greatly increased costs.

As I teach my green ICT students, the the best and primary way to reduce the environmental impact of computers is with efficient, cost effective design. Building a computer equipped classroom which requires half as much space per student will reduce the materials required and energy use. If it is cheapr to build as well, that will make it more likley it is built.

There are some good examples of computer equipped learning centres in Australian universities, some of
which I have visited and commented on in my blog under the headings classroom design and flexible learning centre.

Perhaps we should look at writing some guidelines and build two prototype green computer labs.

Some time ago I did a short exercie to see how one of the ANU Computer Science computer labs could be adapted for belnded learning. With this I propsoed to double the number of students the room could hold and allow for individual, group and whole class learning styles.

Also I proposed a portable centre, which would be a airline carry on wheeled bag with enough equipment for a dozen studnets.

Perhaps we could build some prototypes using ALTC funding and provide some guidelines. The results can then be incorporated into free open access e-learning materials, in a similar format to my Green Technology course, but perhaps with some more video and audio.

Others might like to join in this work.

Labels: , ,

Wednesday, January 27, 2010

Large print edition of Green Technology Strategies

Green Technology StrategiesThe large print edition of Green Technology Strategies is now available. After looking at the options for large print I took the easy way out and simply enlarged the existing typeset version to A4. This increases the print 130% to 14 points. This is a bit small for a for a large print book but has the advantage that the pagination and layout are the same as the regular edition. When I revise the book I will look at changing the font used and allow for a large print edition in the basic design.

Labels: , , ,

Wednesday, January 20, 2010

Producing a large print book

With the e-book, paperback and hardcover editions of my book "Green Technology Strategies" available, I thought I might try a Large Print edition. These books use fonts of 16 to 20 points to make them easier to read for those with limited vision.

Guidelines usually suggest a sans serif font and wider spacing for large print books. For a novel, the larger font is usually accommodated by using smaller margins, a slightly larger page and increasing the number of pages in the book. But for a textbook, the page numbering can be significant.

The largest paper size offered by LuLu's print on demand service is A4 (8.26 x 11.69 inches). My PDF typeset original is designed for U.S. Trade (6 x 9 inch) with a 11 point Times Roman font. Simply by printing on larger A4 paper will enlarge the pages 130%, increasing the font to 14 points. This is a bit small for a for a large print book. I could reduce the margins to .5 inches (the minimum for LuLu), which would allow the text to be enlarged to about 138%, or about 15 points .

Other changes would require redoing the typesetting of the book. Currently I have just one typeset version for hardback, paperback and the e-book. Some of changes could be made to this with a large print version in mind, so the one original would work for all. As an example, a slightly larger font could be used for the standard editions, such as 11.5 point (up from 11 point) and slightly larger margins (1 inch up from .79). This would allow a larger large print version wile maintaining compatibility. Others require a different typesetting for the large print edition.

Times Roman is a serif font, which is not recommended for readability for those with limited vision. LuLu provide a limited range of fonts, which those in supplied PDF documents are converted to before printing (so it is best to start with one of these). Of the LuLu supported fonts, these are sans: Arial, Tahoma and Verdana. Of these Verdana looks the most suitable as it designed for readability at small sizes. Changing the font to Ariel adds about 10 pages to the book. Verdana is more generously spaced and ads about 20 pages. Increasing the font to 16 point would increase the book to 156 pages.

It might be worth changing the font for the e-book version as well as the large print edition. In fact it might be worth reversing the usual priority, where the print edition is seen as normal, and large print and e-book versions are derived from these. A standard size print edition with 11.5 point Verdana would look a little unusual, but be very readable.

Also adding 20 pages to the book might make it more marketable, with the customer feeling they are getting more (even if what they are getting is more white space). Originally I laid the book out to minimise white space, ignoring some printing conventions (such as starting a new chapter on an odd numbered page), so it looks a little crowded. Adding more white space, a larger font and larger margins would increase the book from 114 to 172 pages (a 50% increase).

Labels: , , ,

Tuesday, January 19, 2010

Green Technology Strategies in National Library Archive

The web version of my book "Green Technology Strategies" has been selected by the National Library of Australia for long-term preservation in the PANDORA Archive of online publications by Australian authors. Unfortunately they used the e-book ISBN which is for the PDF version (this has been removed). I didn't have an ISB issued for the web version.

Also the catalogue entry says "Only available online" which is misleading as the book is also avialable hardcover, paperback and PDF e-Book. The NLA have still not catalogued the printed version of the book after a month.

Labels: , ,

Monday, January 18, 2010


Towards Sustainability Indicators for Musuems in Australia (Eleanor Adams, 11 January 2010) provides a set of pilot sustainability indicators for Social, Cultural, Economic, and Environmental sustainability. The report is 85 pages of PDF (720 kbytes).

One shortcoming of the report is that there is no mention of the well known concept of "corporate social responsibility", as reported on by companies such as Telstra, which cover social an environmental performance using national and internationally developed measures. Some of this reporting, particularly on energy use, is mandatory under Australian law, as discussed in my book "Green Technology Strategies").

It would seem to make sense for museums to use existing measures, even if these are not mandatory for them, rather than make up new measures.
Sustainability is a goal for many institutions, including museums, but as yet there are no museum-specific methods for measuring sustainability. Museums can be both sustainable businesses and vital parts of sustainable communities. In this report it is proposed that the role of the museum in a sustainable community be considered under the four pillars of sustainability: culture, society, the environment and the economy. The pillars are then used to form the themes of a pilot set of sustainability indicators for museums. In consultation with some major Adelaide based collecting institutions about the pilot indicators, it was found that there was interest in having an effective, directed and efficient measurement system available. The consultation helped to refine a model for such a system, and to develop recommendations for future directions.

From: Abstract, Towards Sustainability Indicators for Musuems in Australia, Eleanor Adams, University of Adelaide and Collections Council of Australia Ltd, 11 January 2010

Labels: , ,

Thursday, January 14, 2010

Green Technology Strategies Hardback Book in Print

Green Technology StrategiesAfter some problems with the LuLu publishing system, the hardback edition of my book "Green Technology Strategies" is avialable (ISBN: 978-0-9806201-4-6) This took two hours to create, starting from the paperback edition.

The process of producing a hardback edition of an existing paperback book was something I thought would take a couple of minutes. have a button to push to create a hardback if you have already set up the files for a paperback. This seemed to work, copying all the book details to the hardback. I just had to specify if I wanted the book covered in cloth (with a dust jacket) or have a glossy printed paper cover (I went for the glossy paper).

The cover and book content were unchanged from the paperback. But then I noticed there was no where to enter the ISBN of the hardback (issued by Thorpe Bowker) which is different to the paperback. A check with the LuLu help files and some head scratching told me I had to go back a step before the one I started at. The problem was that LuLu assumed I would use an ISBN issued by them.

Then the subtitle on the cover did not quite line up the way it did on the paperback. This might be due to the slight difference in the size of the cover. A hardback cover extends a few mm beyond the pages of a book, whereas a paperback cover is the same size as the pages. I had to manually break the text in the subtitle so "carbon emissions" was on one line.

Then I found the LuLu price calculator kept rounding the price up one cent more than the amount I entered.

That all took about an hour to fix. Then I realised I had to modify the content of the book to include the new hardback ISBN in the front matter (LuLu automatically generates the ISBN and barcode for the book cover, but leaves the interior up to the book's creator). That required generating a new PDF file of the entire book and checking the pagination and paragraph numbering, then uploading it. Also I had to remember to upload the new front matter to the web version of the book and the e-learning version in the ANU Moodle content management system (which is the version my students actually read).

Last of all I found that the preview of the book (so people can browse before buying) was missing. The LuLu preview generator appeared to be producing a blank preview. After going through the process a few times I discovered the preview was being generated, just not displayed.

One thing which did work was that LuLU linked the downloadable e-book, paperback and hardcover editions of the book together, so that customers can see they have three versions to choose from.

All that took another hour. I guess that publishers earn their money after all. ;-)

Labels: , , , ,

Wednesday, January 13, 2010

Applying frameworks to sustainable use of ICT

In "Green ICT Capability Maturity Framework" (4 January 2010) I asked if RMIT/AIIA derived the idea for their project from the Capability Maturity Model (CMM) developed by Carnegie Mellon University (CMU). RMIT have taken me to task for this, pointing out that they have not yet done their research and are only at the stage of collecting data, by way of a a Green ICT Capability Survey. So I did some web searches to see where the term "Green ICT Capability Maturity Framework" may have come from. It appears that this was developed by Martin Curley, global director of innovation at Intel and expanded by the Innovation Value Institute (IVI) at the National University of Ireland.

The earliest formal reference I could find is the paper "Introducing an IT Capability Maturity Framework" (M Curley, Systems: 9th International Conference, Iceis 2007). In this the relationship of IT-CMF to existing models and frameworks, particularly CMM is discussed (ITIL is also brefely mentioned).

More recently in an Intel slide presentation
Martin Curley has proposed applying the IT-CMF to a "Sustainable ICT Capability Maturity Framework" (Intel Labs Europe ICT for a Sustainable Viable Europe, 09/09/09). He attributes this to the IVI, but I could find no further or more formal references to it on the IVI web site, or elsewhere.

It is very likely that there will be confusion between the
RMIT/AIIA "Green ICT Capability Maturity Framework" and IVI "Sustainable ICT Capability Maturity Framework". As the IVI publication pre-dates RMIT, the obligation is on RMIT to either stop using their term or explain it sufficiently to avoid confusion.

Labels: , , , ,

Monday, January 04, 2010

Good Business Register

The Sydney based St James Ethics Centre has set up an online Good Business Register, funded by the Federal Government. Businesses of any size can create a Responsible Business Practice Profile. I registered my one person micro-business and detailed how I give away materials on web design for the disabled and Green ICT.

Labels: , ,

Green ICT Capability Maturity Framework

The Australian Information Industry Association (AIIA) and the School of Business Information Technology of RMIT University are conducting a Green ICT Capability Survey. This is part of developing what is named the "Green ICT Capability Maturity Framework". This idea is presumably derived from the Capability Maturity Model (CMM) developed by Carnegie Mellon University (CMU), although RMIT do not appear to acknowledge this. RMIT are asking Australian businesses about their current capabilities with Green IT. Presumably independent assessment might come later. I filled out the survey and I expect my micro-business will rate well, as I was commissioned to write a Green IT course. which is now offered to students of eight universities, including RMIT University.

Labels: , , ,

Saturday, January 02, 2010

Cloud Computing to Reduce Greenhouse Emissions

Cloud Computing could be used to reduce energy use and allow for more use of renewable energy, by shifting processing off desktop PCs and onto shared data centres.

At a new year's party I was asked how to reduce greenhouse emissions at home. This was by an engineer who works part time from their home office. One thing I suggested was a lower power computer. However, they explained that they need to perform complex engineering calculations which take several days on a desktop computer. A slow low power computer would result in the calculations taking weeks.

Instead I suggested using cloud computing, with the computations run not on the home computer but on one rented for the purpose, as required. An example of this is the Amazon Elastic Compute Cloud (Amazon EC2). offer configurations (call "instances") of the services they provide optimised for data base ("High-Memory") or computations ("High-CPU"). Amazon offer a choice of Linux or Microsoft Windows operating systems, with Windows costing about 20% more. The number of the processors can also be selected. However, the engineering application is limited to running on Microsoft Windows and has not been optimised for multiprocessor machines.

The user can specify the number of
"virtual cores" provided and the number of "EC2 Compute Units" for each. The compute units are measured relative to a 2007s era 1.0-1.2 GHz Intel Opteron processor. Offered are 1, 2, and 3.25 EC2 Compute Units. These appear to relate to the speed of the actual processors is using, rather than an arbitrary allocation by a virtual operating system.

One anomaly is that the High-CPU Instances have smaller EC2 Compute Units than the High-Memory Instances. The High-CPU Instances are much lower price than the High-Memory Instances.

Assuming that a computation takes two days on Amazon's standard instance (US$0.12 per hour), this would cost US$5.76. One such calculation per week, would cost about US$300 per year, a cost comparable to a desktop computer. also offers Spot Instances, where unused capacity is auctioned. This would suit engineering calculations which are not time critical.

Working out if using's service would actually reduce energy use would be a complex process. This would depend firstly on how the desktop alternative was used. If a computer was dedicated to computations and turned off when not needed, then the power use would be low (not including the embedded energy in making the computer). More likely the computer would be used for normal office applications. In hat instance the processor may lower its energy use for the less demanding application.

The energy management of's system is not well known publicly. Perhaps need to offer greenhouse gas emissions as one of the parameters for their system. The use could then select a processing site which might use renewable energy, for example, to power the processors.

Assuming that's processors are fully occupied, then they should use less energy and cause less greenhouse gas emissions than a desktop computer which is idle much of the time. Also assuming that's computers are in a well designed data centre building then the air conditioning cost of cooling the system should be lower than for an office building (if the desktop computer is at home then hopefully it is naturally cooled with no air-conditioning).

Perhaps this is something I need to set as an exercise for my Green Information Technology students.

Labels: , , , ,

Monday, December 21, 2009

Personal Energy Meter

Simon Hay has proposed "A Global Personal Energy Meter" at the University of Cambridge Computer Laboratory. The idea is that your mobile phone would track where you are and what you are doing, calculating how much energy you are using, so you can make decisions to use less (perhaps receiving some incentives to do so). This appears to be a logical extension of the tracking devices which the Cambridge Computer Lab has been experimenting with for decades (I wore one of the devices when I visited Andy Hopper in Cambridge in 1996).

As well as the formal paper there is a sixteen slide show.This is an idea worth exploring. There are obvious problems with privacy, as there were with the previous computer labs tracking devices. However, as anyone who has read the draft energy audit standards knows, the state of the art in energy measurement for carbon auditing is not very advanced. Therefore the information needed from a personal tracking device need not be very precise. Also gaps in measurements can be tolerated far more than with a security tracking badge.
Abstract. Every day each of us consumes a significant amount of energy,
both directly through transportation, heating and use of appliances,
and indirectly from our needs for the production of food, manufacture
of goods and provision of services. I envisage a personal energy meter
which can record and apportion an individual’s energy usage in order
to provide baseline information and incentives for reducing the environmental
impact of our lives. Contextual information will be crucial for
apportioning the use and energy costs of shared resources. In order to
obtain this it will be necessary to develop low cost, low infrastructure
location systems that can be deployed on a truly global scale. ...

From: A Global Personal Energy Meter, Simon Hay, Computer Laboratory, University of Cambridge, 2009.

Labels: , , ,

Thursday, December 17, 2009

Green ICT at the Library of Alexandria

Senator Lundy blogged about my book in "New E-book: how to be green in ICT" and mentioned how the PM referred to the greenhouse gas emissions savings which could be made with broadband. In checking where the book would be available "print on demand" in stores, I noticed that one is the Bibliotheca Alexandrina (Library of Alexandria) in Egypt. It is somewhat of an honour to have a book available in the same place the ancients borrowed their books. For the readers at the library, the e-book is available translated into Arabic by Google.

Labels: , , ,

Tuesday, December 15, 2009

Green Technology Strategies on Google Books

Some weeks ago I uploaded a copy of my book "Green Technology Strategies" to Google Books. I just noticed it was available. I set the option to allow the whole book to be readable via Google Books.

As well as that Google allows for reader reviews and has generated a tag cloud of phrases from the book (perhaps I will use that to produce an index). The table of contents automatically generated is not very good, only picking up some of the chapter headings.

Labels: , ,