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The Australian National University

About Green ICT

computer mouse in greenery

Green Information & Communication Technology (ICT) aims to utilise resources more effectively, increase productivity, improve efficiency, and reduce the environmental impact of ICT operations through the entire life-cycle of ICT technologies and services

The global climate is changing, largely due to the observed increases in human produced greenhouse gases. According to Gartner (PDF 696 KB), ICT contributes around 2-2.5 per cent of global greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions. These percentages are likely to grow as ICT becomes more widely available. At the same time, ICT can significantly help reduce climate change by:

  • promoting the development of more energy efficient devices, applications and networks
  • encouraging environmentally friendly design, and
  • reducing the carbon footprint of ICT.

The Australian National University (ANU) Environmental Management Plan (EMP) (PDF 315 KB) articulates sustainability targets and implementation strategies to guide ANU environmental management to 2015 and beyond. The EMP’s target is to reduce carbon dioxide emissions (CO2e) by 20% by 2015. One of the key ways to do this is to reduce electricity consumption as it is a major contributor to carbon dioxide emissions. The Green ICT initiative will give ANU a platform to understand the growing energy demand of ICT, ICT’s contribution to the carbon footprint of ANU and to research and implement ways to reduce its negative environmental impact across the ANU campus.

ANU consumed 82,242,411 kWh of electricity and emitted 74,018.2 t CO2e in 2009 (Australian National University, 2010). Within organizations, ICT consumes around 15% of the electricity used (Gartner, 2009). Based on this research, the annual electricity consumption of ICT for ANU for 2009-10 is estimated to be 12,336,361 kWh, thus contributing approximately 11,102.7 t CO2e to the carbon footprint of ANU.

This initiative will aim to identify as accurately as possible, within the given constraints, the actual contribution of ICT energy consumption to the carbon footprint and then implement ways to reduce the carbon footprint of ICT at ANU.

graph of estimated carbon dioxide emissions compared to overall emissions.  ANU consumed 82,242,411 kWh of electricity and emitted 74,018.2 t CO2e in 2009 (Australian National University, 2010).  For 2008 ANU consumed around 83,630,000 kWh of electricity and emitted 72,730,000 t CO2e in 2008.
Estimated ICT carbon dioxide emissions compared to overall emissions

Updated:  11 July 2012/ Responsible Officer:  Director, Facilities & Services Division/ Page Contact:  Systems and Information Technology