From the book: Green Technology Strategies


Green ICT (Green IT or Green Computing) is the study and practice of using computers and telecommunications in a way which maximises positive environmental benefit and minimise the negative impact.

The energy efficiency of operating equipment is a major concern of Green ICT. The embodied energy and lifecycle of the materials used in the design, manufacture and reuse and recycling of equipment and components are also concerns. Green ICT seeks to inform accepted management practices to achieve efficient and effective business interaction.

When preparing this subject, we have assumed that you and your fellow students are self-motivated, disciplined, and determined to succeed. You have prior knowledge and experience relevant to your study; you are willing to share your work and educational experiences; and you accept critical thinking as part of the learning process. Further, you are comfortable with, and competent in, written communications; and you recognise that effective learning can occur outside a traditional classroom. Most importantly, you want to control how, when, and where you learn.

Critical to your success in this subject is a regular and disciplined study routine. Only through consistency will you keep up-to-date. Every week there will be specific tasks to complete and, if you fall behind, it will be difficult to catch up.

Also important is that you correspond; at least twice every week; with your fellow students and tutor. Your correspondence must be intelligent and investigative. You will answer questions posed by your tutors, and then debate your answers with your classmates.

Learning Outcomes

Green ICT Strategies is an emerging discipline. This subject is drawn from practices being developed in the public and private sectors in Australia and internationally. Implementation methodologies and assessment tools currently being field-tested are introduced. At the completion of this subject the student can:

Competencies based on Skills Framework for the Information Age (SFIA)

The Skills Framework for the Information Age (SFIA) provides a common reference model for the identification of the skills needed to develop effective Information Systems (IS) making use of Information & Communications Technology (ICT).

Green ICT Strategies will target SIFA Level 5 competencies: "ensure, advise: Broad direction, supervisory, objective setting responsibility. Influences organisation. Challenging and unpredictable work. Self sufficient in business skills". With the following skills:

Category/Subcategory/Skill from SFIA

Pre-requisites, Co-requisites

There are no courses require to be completed prior to undertaking this subject.


The course consists of four major topics (modules) each with three sub-topics, one topic per week, with a week at the end for review:

  1. Politics, Science and Business of Sustainability

    Objective: Investigate the principles of environmental sustainability and the science of climate change. Learn how to estimate the carbon footprint of ICT systems. Look at methods to reduce the footprint both of ICT systems directly and of other systems by using ICT.

    • Week 1: Introduction to Green ICT Strategies

      Understand environmental, social and business context for sustainability, and overview of background, boundaries. Investigate the principles of environmental sustainability and the science of climate change.

    • Week 2: The Global ICT Footprint

      Estimate the embodied carbon and the footprint from use of telecommunications, data centres and desktop PCs.

    • Week 3: Enabling ICT: Dematerialisation, smart motor systems, logistics, buildings and grids.

      Investigate how ICT systems can reduce energy and materials use by improving the efficiency of business systems by replacing the movement of goods with information (dematerialisation), improve the efficiency of machines (smart motor systems), logistics, buildings and grids.

  2. Technical strategy and planning - Emerging technology monitoring

    Objective: Identify existing, new and emerging hardware, software and communication technologies for energy saving and materials reuse in ICT, and relate these technologies to ICT as it is used in organisations.

    • Week 4: Energy saving - Data Centres and Client Equipment

      Computers and telecommunications equipment contributes about 2% to greenhouse gas emissions. Look at how data centres and client equipment can be made more efficient.

    • Week 5: Materials Use

      Energy reduction is only part of making a Green ICT system, there is also the issue of use of materials and hazardous substances. How does the Electronic Product Environmental Assessment Tool (EPEAT) deal with material use?

    • Week 6: Methods and tools

      Investigate that appropriate methods and tools for the planning, development, operation, management and maintenance of systems for the organisation.

  3. Business/IS strategy and planning

    Objective: Apply improved ICT technology and practices into organisational processes, strategic planning and management. Incorporate Green ICT in the strategic requirements of the business. Recommend alternative solutions which reduce environmental impact.

    • Week 7: Business process improvement

      Recommend alternative solutions which reduce environmental impact, assesses feasibility, and recommends new approaches.

    • Week 8: Improving Data Centre Energy Efficiency

      Investigate how to implement and assess data centre efficiency.

    • Week 9: Enterprise Architecture

      Contribute to the sustainability of the systems capability strategy, which meets the strategic requirements of the business. Incorporate Green ICT into the models and plans to drive forward the strategy, taking advantage of opportunities to improve business performance, as well as environmental benefits.

  4. Procurement & management support

    Objective: Write green ICT requirement documents for products and services. Ensure that processes meet sustainability and quality standards.

    • Week 10: Procurement

      Write green ICT requirement documents for products and services.

      Much of the environmental benefits come about by selecting the right products and services. How do you ensure that your hardware, software and services suppliers provide green products?

    • Week 11: Energy Star Program and Quality Management

      Ensure that the processes for producing a product or service sustainability will do so to a consistent standard. Investigate the fit between Green ICT requirements and those of Quality Management Systems.

    • Week 12: Compliance audit:

      Assess the conformity of systems to environmental standards, such as ISO 14000 series of environment management standards, Electronic Product Environmental Assessment Tool (EPEAT), and Energy Star Program.

  5. Week 13: Review and discuss

    Objective: Let us revisit the reasons we are studying Green ICT: to maximise positive environmental benefit and minimises negative impact.


To complete the subject you will need to spend 8-10 hours each week reading, communicating with colleagues and tutors, and preparing assignments.

Review/Evaluation Methods

There are 2 areas of assessment in the subject;

To pass the subject overall, it is necessary to pass in both areas of assessment.

Teaching Strategies

By distance education through online learning methods. Online learning is the main delivery method, moderated and supported by a tutor, mentor, student discussion forums and weekly feedback. Students are grouped in cohorts of 20.

Specialist Features or Equipment

The subject is supported by a website where the online learning takes place. Learning materials plus discussion forums are available through this site. Set readings elsewhere on the web are linked from the site.

These notes are also published as a paperback book: "Green ICT" (Tom Worthington, 2009, ISBN: 978-0-9806201-1-5). However, the students can print their own copy of the e-book, which is likely to be more up to date.

Course Designer

Tom Worthington is an independent ICT consultant and an Adjunct Senior Lecturer in the Department of Computer Science at the Australian National University, where he teaches the design of web sites, e-commerce and professional ethics. In addition, he has an interest in environmental design, and is the founding chair of the ACS Green ICT Group. In 1999 Tom was elected a Fellow of the Australian Computer Society for his contribution to the development of public Internet policy. He is a past president, Fellow and Honorary Life Member of the Australian Computer Society, a voting member of the Association for Computing Machinery and a member of the Institute of Electrical and Electronics Engineers.


There is no set text for this course. Online references will be used, including:

  1. The Engineering Sustainable Solutions Program, Sustainable IT Lecture Series, Natural Edge Project, 2008

  2. The Electronic Product Environmental Assessment Tool (EPEAT), Green Electronics Council. GEC 2006.

  3. Energy Star Program, U.S. Environmental Protection Agency and the U.S. Department of Energy, 2007

  4. ACS Policy Statement for Green ICT, Australian Computer Society, 16 August 2007

  5. The Personal Computer and Monitors Energy Efficiency Strategy, Tom Worthington, Report and Recommended Plan of Action, prepared for the Department of Environment, Heritage and the Arts, Version 1.0, 23 September 2008.

  6. ROI Analysis: Reducing 856,000 Pounds of CO2 Emissions through Remote Services and Off-Hours Power Management, Government Case Study: Power Management and CO2 Reduction, Intel, 2008.

From the book: Green Technology Strategies

This book is about how to reduce carbon emissions and achieve other environmental benefits by using computers and telecommunications technology. It is designed to be used within an online course for professionals, using mentored and collaborative learning techniques.

Title: Green Technology Strategies: Using computers and telecommunications to reduce carbon emissions

Copyright © , 2009

Publisher: Tomw Communications, PO Box 13, Belconnen ACT 2617, Australia. Website:

New edition available: ICT Sustainability: Assessment and Strategies for a Low Carbon Future, September 2011.

These notes are used for the courses:

  1. Green ICT Strategies (ACS25): offered in the Postgraduate Program of Open Universities Australia and available from 2010 to students of Curtin University, Griffith University, Macquarie University, Monash University, RMIT University, Swinburne University and the University of South Australia,

  2. Green Technology Strategies: offered in the Computer Professional Education Program, Australian Computer Society (first run as "Green ICT Strategies" in February 2009), and

  3. Green Information Technology Strategies (COMP7310), in the Graduate Studies Select program, Australian National University (first run July 2009).

The notes were first published as an electronic and paperback book in 2009 (Green ICT, Tom Worthington, Tomw Communications, 2009). Students can download or print their own copy of the e-book from the course learning management system, which is likely to be more up to date.

Green Technology Strategies: Using computers and telecommunications to reduce carbon emissions by Tom Worthington is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-Share Alike 2.5 Australia License, except for institutions covered by a Copyright Agency Ltd Statutory Licence.