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University of Basel

Green IT

Green IT at the workplace

So far it has not been possible to substantiate energy usage in the field of IT due to the lack of a monitoring system. According to an analysis by the Free University of Berlin, IT is responsible for at least 20% of the electricity consumed by the university. All in all, the Free University thus records energy consumption by IT equipment of more than 10 million kWh per annum, which is equivalent to electricity costs of around EUR 1.8 million. This means that the area of IT at a university is an important starting point for efforts relating to energy and cost savings.

In cooperation with the Petersgraben ITSC and the IT support of the Faculty of Psychology, various measures relating to Green IT at the University of Basel were tested and put into practise wherever possible. The focus was on the office environment as measures involving little investment or even no costs at all can be implemented here with relatively little effort. The measures relate to the areas of procurement, operations and disposal.

The test series to elaborate measures for sustainable IT at the workplace with computers, monitors and printers were performed as part of a bachelor thesis in the field of business IT and IT management at the FHNW. A guide for the University’s departments and IT staff was compiled from the results. This guide can be obtained from the Sustainability Office (nachhaltigkeit-at-unibas.ch).


Here are some recommendations for Green IT at the workplace:



In procurement, preference should be given to equipment with an energy efficiency label (Blue Angel, TCO, Energy Star). While, taken alone, they do not constitute sustainable procurement of an adequate level, they do provide initial guidance.

It is worthwhile comparing notebooks, monitors and laser printers on the website www.topten.ch, which allows the user to compare equipment for various needs with regard to energy efficiency and other factors. As long as the purchasing price is not significantly higher, purchasing energy-efficient hardware can generate cost savings in the medium term (annual savings of up to 50%).



The energy saving mode should be activated in the Windows power management settings. Depending on the device in question, 30-55% of electricity can be saved, even as much as 60% in the case of (external) monitors. As problems may arise with network-dependent workstations, any changes to these settings should be coordinated with IT support.

Depending on the operator’s eyesight, monitor brightness can be reduced by 25% without problem. This can reduce electricity consumption by as much as two thirds, especially with large screens. Even a default setting of 50% can lower electricity consumption by a quarter, depending on the device in question. Each member of staff can use a brighter screen setting where necessary.



Check whether your equipment really has to be disposed of or whether it may be of use to another department at the University (one that might place lesser demands on the performance of the equipment. Such exchanges of equipment can be organized through the meetings of the ITSC heads.


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