ICT for Reducing Australian Carbon Emissions: One Computer at a Time

Tom Worthington FACS HLM

Chair of the Green ICT Group, Australian Computer Society

For the UniSA/ACS “Greening Your IT Seminar”

Adelaide, South Australia, 12 November 2007

Note: the seminar program has been rearranged and this presentation will now not take place.

A study sponsored by the Australian Computer Society has shown that computers and telecommunications equipment in Australia generated 7.94Mt of carbon dioxide in 2005, 1.52% of national emissions. Some practical steps which can be taken by organisations and individual IT professionals will be discussed, including thin client computers, wireless hand held devices and web application design. It is argued that companies and individual ICT professionals can make a difference in their design and purchasing decisions.

Audit of Australian ICT Carbon Emissions

The ACS has undertaken an emissions audit on the amount of carbon dioxide being generated by ICT usage by Australian Businesses. The results of the audit indicate that ICT use by Australian Businesses generated 7.94Mt of carbon dioxide in 2005, equivalent to 1.52% of total national carbon dioxide emissions.


ACS Policy on Green ICT

The ACS recommended:

  1. Extending the Energy Rating System to ICT equipment for domestic and commercial use
  2. Innovative technologies to reduce power consumption
  3. Carbon offsets to help offset the emissions being produced by ICT equipment used in the office
  4. Virtualisation to replace servers
  5. Disable screen savers and implement ‘sleep mode’ for inactive equipment.


Thin Client Computers

Thin Clients:

  1. Run: Linux, Windows CE or Windows XPe
  2. Some Thin Client Notebooks

Wireless Hand Held

Smart Phones:

  1. Low power
  2. Can run adapted web applications

Low Carbon Web Application Design

Poorly designed PDF documents:

  1. One Hundred Times the storage requirements of XML
  2. May produce 200,000 tonnes of carbon dioxide greenhouse gas per year in one Canberra data centre.

ACS Green ICT Group

Professionals discussing Green issues:

The ICT Environmental Sustainability Group ("Green ICT") brings together professionals interested in balancing economic and environmental aspects of information technology and telecommunications. It is a special interest group of the Australian Computer Society. The group aims to hold joint meetings with other professional bodies interested in technology, the environment and sustainability.

More Information

Slides for these notes are also available.

Copyright © 2007 Tom Worthington

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