Case Study: How the Woodland Trust improved the eco-friendly nature of its IT

The charity is aiming to cut the power use of its computer systems by over 40 per cent

Woodland Trust
Woodland Trust

Lionel Wilson, head of information systems at conservation charity the Woodland Trust, is aiming almost to halve the amount of power his charity's IT system uses.

Using less power is the main aspect of Wilson's drive to make the charity's technology as green as possible, and the trust has used a number of different devices in pursuit of this goal.

One major change, he says, has been the adoption of ultra-thin clients, which are computers that rely mostly on servers to carry out their processing functions and do not even need to run operating systems.

"We used Sun Ray ultra-thin clients," he says. "This cuts down the power usage of a normal PC from about 90 watts to two or three."

The charity also uses Nehalem processors, which use much less power than traditional chips.

"They have some real processing power behind them, but they don't use much energy," Wilson says. "They can even shut down the parts of their own architecture that aren't being used."

The other main change, he says, has been the introduction of blade server technology, which allows the use of much thinner servers and requires less infrastructure.

Wilson expects to exceed his department's target of cutting IT power use by 40 per cent, but he recognises that power reduction is not the only way to make your charity greener.

"We're making sure that we buy the most eco-friendly equipment from the most eco-friendly suppliers," he says. "Often that's one of the easiest things to do if you want to improve your eco-friendliness."

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