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The Australian National University

Tom Worthington

Tom Worthington portrait
Name: Tom Worthington
Position: Adjunct Lecturer
Room: Room N212
Building: Building 108, North Road
School: School of Computer Science
ANU College of Engineering and Computer Science.

Brief about my work:

I design and teach Green Information Technology Strategies: that is how to use computers to reduce carbon emissions and improve organisational efficiency at the same time. Courses are run online via the web: there are no lectures and examinations are replaced with practical exercises. A free web version of my book “Green Technology Strategies” is also available.

Your thoughts on Green ICT:

Solving climate change has become one of the world’s greatest challenges. Computers are both part of the problem and part of the solution to climate change. Few people realise that because computers run on electricity (and the electricity is generated by burning coal), computers cause pollution. The solution is not to stop using computers, but to use them more efficiently. We can measure the extent of the problem and then design solutions which reduce energy and materials use. In this way we can make businesses more efficient and cleaner.

The Internet and the web will be key to energy reduction. Much of my time is spent teaching students how to use the Internet effectively for business communication. They can then implement these techniques in their workplace, to reduce the need for paperwork and transportation of people and physical goods. This ‘dematerialisation’ of the economy will be the key way climate change is tackled.

Successes and Failure that you see in Green ICT:

Each new generation of computer equipment is more energy efficient and so simply buying a new computer helps combat climate change. But there is an increasing pile of old equipment to dispose of. There is no easy, environmentally benign, way to dispose of this e-waste.

Power Savings you foresee through you work:

By training professionals who work in government and major companies in green ICT, changes can be made to business processes immediately. There is no need to wait for the students to finish a course before implementing what they have learnt. Students can research the energy use in their workplace and write recommendations for improvement to their executive as part of the course. By using e-learning, students do not have to travel to a campus and so can reduce their own carbon emissions, while they study and work from anywhere in the world.

Updated:  21 April 2011/ Responsible Officer:  Director, Facilities & Services Division/ Page Contact:  Systems and Information Technology