Reducing your School’s Energy Usage with Cloud Based Solutions

We recently started to look at ways in which we can reduce the energy usage of ICT Provision in school and discussed the varying methods of shutting down equipment to make sure it is only consuming energy when it is needed. We also looked at the possibility of moving to a cloud-based solution to reduce energy. But can moving to a cloud-based solution really save energy?

The answer is that it can, but it needs some careful thought and consideration before committing to this route. The energy savings from servers alone will not be extensive, particularly more modern servers that have become far more efficient by design. In many ways, it can be more effective to upgrade an old server estate to a modern new one where virtualisation alone will reduce energy consumption compared to individual physical servers.

However, moving to the cloud opens a range of options that can lead to some quite significant energy savings. Firstly, it can enable the wider use of cloud devices which can operate far more efficiently compared to traditional devices and have the added advantage that they are usually cheaper and can be used remotely very easily as well. Secondly, it can offer an opportunity to consider the range and type of peripherals in use, and how they are integrated into an overall ICT Provision. Similarly, it can have an impact on printing, and on other devices around the network such as cashless catering, and indeed on the mix of fixed versus mobile devices, and the type of whole class teaching solution in place.

The most important step is to start with a clear set of principles which drive the usage of ICT in schools and work out how best to drive that usage and what the ICT provision needs to do to fulfil that usage. This should be considered and planned into an ICT Strategy, which is an opportunity to present an outcomes-based approach to what ICT should do, and then commit to providing the most energy efficient method of delivering those outcomes. For most schools, that will require a move to a cloud-based solution to ensure that delivery is achieved in the most energy efficient way.

Alongside this approach it is also important to ensure that all possible solutions are considered and ensure that refreshing/updating equipment doesn’t mean that energy efficiency isn’t considered fully. It is easy to fall into the trap of refreshing equipment with newer devices that can save some energy but failing to consider an alternate solution that could have saved a lot more energy. This is particularly true when considering a move to cloud-based solutions and the relative pros and cons versus any perceived energy efficiencies.

It is also important to consider the ancillary systems that are vital to a school such as MIS, Finance, Payroll, and other administrative systems, which can be migrated to cloud-based systems relatively easily and can provide significant energy savings.

If you would like to learn more about reducing your ICT energy costs and usage by implementing cloud-based solutions, please contact our experienced team for advice and support on the best way to get a greener, more cost-efficient energy-saving ICT strategy for your school.