Getting Easier to Be Green

1/1/0001 12:00:00 AM

by Pam Derringer

Faced with steep energy costs and shrinking school budgets, cashstrapped IT directors are discovering that going green is not just good for the environment; it’s good for the wallet. With IT consuming up to 25 percent of a district’s power and today’s energy bills often topping costs in every category except staffing, they are realizing that green initiatives like power management, virtualizing of servers and desktops, and even cloud computing make good economic sense. These ideas stretch hardware dollars as well as lighten the management workloads of overstretched staffs.


A Santa Ana College interns built this Green Lab, which saves money, cuts emissions, and promotes green computing among the lab’s corporate sponsors.

Power-reduction efforts, in turn, help the environment by lowering greenhouse gases. Userful Corp. estimates that every year, each of its Multiplier desktop virtualization systems keeps 200,000 tons of carbon dioxide that would otherwise be generated by 10 PCs out of the atmosphere. And the cost of the company’s simple plug-and-play hardware setups is a fraction of the purchase price of a desktop computer.

Some school districts may not know the amount of greenhouse gas they emit into the atmosphere. But the free calculator in the green computing section of the Consortium for School Networking’s Web site can help them figure that out. Many districts are stretching dollars and reducing emissions with power-shutdown software, like Faronics Power Save and Verdiem, that monitors usage and shuts computers down remotely, says Rick Kaestner, coauthor of CoSN’s recent report on IT budget survival strategies and director of the consortium’s green initiative. In addition, he says, school districts large enough to have their own data centers are beginning to virtualize many of their servers, saving money and energy, and reducing emissions in the process. “Schools get twice the bang for the buck” saving on hardware and annual cooling expenses (which can approach the costs of server acquisition), conserving space, and easing management workloads for reduced staffs.

Recently, however, interest in desktop virtualization has grown. Traditional desktop virtualization systems, such as Citrix Systems’, haven’t gained a foothold in education, because they aren’t customized for schools and are complex and costly, according to Chris Wolf, an analyst with the Burton Group. But simpler, newer thin client systems, like those of nComputing (a competitor of Userful), are thriving, he says, because they are cost-effective, use less energy, and don’t burden the network.


In March, Microsoft joined the desktop virtualization movement with the debut of its Multipoint Server 2010. As does nComputing, the Multipoint Server connects many users to one PC, saving up to 40 percent on hardware and simplifying licensing for new users. In fact, desktop virtualization generally, and nComputing in particular, appears to be booming and was also cited by Kaestner and nearly every IT manager interviewed.

nComputing has 2.5 million users and is growing rapidly because of its low cost and power consumption and fast setup, which can be done in hours instead of days, says Jim McHugh, nComputing’s vice president of marketing, adding that President Obama used it to set up offices during his campaign. This past spring, computer-science interns at Santa Ana (Calif.) College created a green lab from scratch, installing nComputing on four PCs in a setup that is expandable to 40 stations, says Cherylee Kushida, technology grant coordinator. The nComputing installations were “a snap,” according to Nick Quach, Santa Ana’s IT director for academic services, and are expected to save the school 81 percent on energy and 69 percent on hardware costs.

Other cost-saving tools include Webbased portals like Classlink. Hudson Falls (N.Y.) Central School District uses ClassLink to provide its 2,400 students with “anywhere” access to personalized content. ClassLink has saved the district $40,000 by monitoring application use down to the classroom level, enabling Hudson Falls to discontinue, reduce, or reallocate software that is underutilized, says Greg Partch, director of education technology.

At the same time that it implemented ClassLink, Hudson Valley began installing 1,400 Hewlett-Packard thin client machines, which have fewer emissions because the processing power is centralized in the server. The thin clients have cut annual power costs by 88 percent, a savings of $48,000, and lowered air-conditioning use and were cheaper to buy than full desktops, Partch says. But the best benefit of the HP thin clients, he says, is centralized management; all the upgrades and patches can be tested on one server, replicated to the other 11, and then pushed out to 1,800 desktops automatically in an hour. “There’s no way we could manage 1,800 desktops without this,” Partch says.

By virtualizing desktops, servers, and storage networks, Judson (Texas) ISD, near San Antonio, a CoSN green certified district, has saved millions of dollars and improved service. Judson uses nComputing in elementary classrooms, cutting deployment costs in half, and runs Citrix XenApp thin clients in the higher grades, says Steve Young, chief technology officer. Though the latter doesn’t save energy, he explains, it extends the life of older, CRT machines. The district is also saving money by automating computer shutdowns, which it accomplished for $150,000 by writing its own script, he says, instead of paying $5 a computer for a software application. Judson will also look at Schoology, a free open-source course-management system, and Microsoft’s new online school suite, which has email and other programs. “Certainly, if someone wants to manage 20,000 email accounts, that’s very attractive to us,” Young says.

White Oak (Texas) ISD is already in the cloud. After peaking at 17 servers, the district got rid of nearly all of them three years ago, renting space across the globe for all basic school functions, including student information services (Skyward), testing, blogging (Edublog), and grading, using open source wherever possible, says chief of technology Michael Gras. DHCP and DNS are the only IT servers remaining; White Oak’s only other school servers are Plato Learning for remedial education and a few classroom servers maintained by the teachers. Moving to the cloud has not only cut down on time and reduced power consumption but saved a lot of money, shaving tens of thousands of dollars from IT expenses, Gras says. “We have no central anything,” he explains. “We open up to the world.”

Want to read more stories like this?

Get our Free Newsletter Here!

comments powered by Disqus

CEV Multimedia Releases Social Media Marketing Curriculum Materials

LUBBOCK, Texas (May 23, 2017) – CEV Multimedia, a lead...

Filtering Ranked Most Important for School Bus Wi-Fi

Kajeet Announces Latest Results from School Bus Survey  

OverDrive Education Summer Read Program Expands in 2017

Thousands of K-12 students in North America will enjoy more free eBook...

MeTEOR Education Sponsors 2017 EdShift Events

One-Day Workshops Shifting the Conversation between Educators, Communi...

Galveston ISD Educator Named Texas 2017 National Distinguished Principal

National K-12 Publisher Mentoring Minds and Long-Time Partner, the&nbs...

Schoology Unveils Session Details and Keynote Lineup for User Conference

NEW YORK (May 18, 2017) – Schoology, the leader in learning mana...

IO Education Expands Leadership Team To Continue Accelerating Growth

IO Education, a market leader in helping educators use data to improve...

T&L Partner Post
Tweets
Photo GalleriesView All Galleries >
Acer C720-2844 Chromebook

(www.acer.com) The Acer C720-2844 Chromebook model delivers speedy performance, a quick boot time of seven seconds, and a matte anti-glare display tha...

Britannica ImageQuest

(www.britannica.com) Britannica Digital Learning has upgraded ImageQuest, a resource for schools and libraries that provides nearly three million rig...

ClassFlow

(www.classflow.com) Promethean has released ClassFlow, a free, all-in-one, cloud-based teaching tool that lets teachers create and deliver interactive...

Adobe Voice

(www.adobe.com) Adobe has released Adobe Voice, an animated video app for the iPad that lets users create and share video stories. The app incorporate...

DeskBoard

(www.boxlight.com) The BOXLIGHT DeskBoard mobile cart adjusts both height and tilt for the P8 ultra short throw interactive projector on a white surfa...

Core 36M

(www.bretford.com) Bretford has introduced Core 36M, a 36-unit charging cart that is optimized for Chromebooks but which also supports most tablets, l...

Edmentum Sensei

(www.edmentum.com) Edmentum Sensei is a mobile optimized solution that helps administrators visualize and track overall school, teacher, and student p...

HMH Player

(www.hmhco.com) HMH has released HMH Player, a new native app for iOS and Google Chrome that streamlines the learning experience for improved digital ...

Juice Power System

(www.bretford.com) Bretford has unveiled an easy-to-use modular power system with exchangeable power components. The Juice Power System uses unique &#...

LightSail

(www.lightsailed.com) LightSail Education has announced a literacy accelerator that combines books with in-text embedded assessments and real-time dat...

myON

(www.myon.com) myON has expanded its digital library to include a set of literacy tools to further personalize the reading experience for students whi...

Nervanix Clarity

(www.nervanix.com) Nervanix has released Clarity, an application that monitors student attention levels as they study and guides them to revisit conce...

MathBall

(www.robotslab.com) RobotsLAB has introduced MathBall, a smart sensor basketball and tablet system that offers curricula in algebra, pre-calculus, phy...

MobileAsset.EDU

(www.waspbarcode.com) Wasp Barcode’s MobileAsset.EDU solutions include everything administrators need to account for their assets, from software...

OpenEd Assessment Creation Tool

(www.opened.io) OpenEd has announced a free tool that lets teachers easily create assessments with the question types required by Common Core standard...

Panasonic TH-80LFB70U

(www.panasonic.com) Panasonic’s TH-80LFB70U interactive LED display features high-speed, multi-touch, interactive capabilities to promote partic...

penveu interactive display system

(www.penveu.com) The penveu interactive display system is a handheld device that turns projectors and large screen displays into interactive whiteboar...

PresentationPro

(www.califone.com) Califone has updated its PresentationPro speaker. The PA310 readily connects with computers, LCD projectors, mobile devices, intera...

PowerSync+ Mobile Companion App

(www.bretford.com) Bretford Manufacturing, Inc. has announced the availability of the companion app for its PowerSync+ enabled charge and sync produc...

PureCharge Carts and Stations for iPad

(www.bretford.com) Bretford Manufacturing, Inc. has debuted the PureCharge family of iPad and iPad mini charging carts and stations. By offering pre-i...

ProQuest Research Companion

(www.proquest.com) ProQuest’s new information literacy product, Research Companion, offers videos that guide users through the research process,...

Sphere2 & Class Send Student Engagement Software Platform

(www.averusa.com) AVer Information has developed a Student Engagement platform, providing teachers and students with the tools to transmit document ca...

TabChargeCT2

(www.averusa.com) AVer has released the TabChargeCT2 charge cart solution, which can hold up to 40 Chromebooks, iPads, Android or Windows tablets, lap...

VoiceLift with Instant Alert and Emergency Video Monitoring

(www.extron.com) The Instant Alert function of the Extron VoiceLift Microphone, combined with a PoleVault, WallVault, or PlenumVault classroom AV sys...

SMART Board 6065

(www.smarttech.com) The SMART Board 6065 is an ultra HD, 4K interactive flat panel that offers collaborative capabilities while ensuring lessons run s...

Gaggle Unity Partner Program

(www.gaggle.net) The new Gaggle Unity Partner Program provides free data integration services for all educational technology vendors. Through the Gagg...

Waterford Early Learning, Reading, Math & Science

(www.waterford.org) Waterford Early Learning Cloud can be used at home or to supplement lessons in classrooms. It can also be used for individual adap...

NetSupport School

(www.netsupportschool.com) The latest version of NetSupport School allows teachers to monitor and collaborate with any mix of technology. An enhanced ...

Camtasia

(www.techsmith.com/camtasia) TechSmith’s Camtasia gives teachers the tools to record lessons, create videos, and engage their audiences. Educato...

Panasonic 3E

(www.panasonic.com) Intel has teamed up with Panasonic to announce the Panasonic 3E, which uses the Intel Education 2-in-1 reference design. Designed ...