Professor Colin Pattinson of Leeds Beckett University, UK presented a four day seminar programme called “ICT and the Environment” from 13 – 16 October.

This seminar programme is based on a module which is taught at Leeds Beckett’s MSc in Sustainable Computing, and discusses the environmental impacts of information and communication technology (ICT) – both the positive ways in which ICT can be used to mitigate the environmental impact of everything we do, and the negative impact of the natural resources and energy used by ICT.

Over the last 10 years Colin has conducted a number of research studies into the environmental impact of IT, including comparative Pentax Digital Camerameasurements of the power consumed by thin and thick client systems and the way power demand changes as different power saving techniques are introduced into the data centre. He presented the outcomes of this work, and other projects including campaigns to switch off unused equipment and the replacement of desktop printers to show that technical requirements and human-centred (behaviour) are both important in making changes.

Students explored the use of life cycle assessment (carbon footprinting) tools and discussed the importance of measurements in assessing the effect of any changes to the system. We considered the variety of measurement methods and tools currently available, and agreed on the importance of developing a single, standard way of measuring so that the effect of changes can be understood.