Aug 18, 2008
Saugus has made significant strides in the use of open solutions in the K12 environment. From servers, to desktops, to devices, we deploy and use open-source software far and wide. But did you know that the use of open-source can have a significant impact on the environment? In fact it can! Take a look at these numbers from the The U.S Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) Electronics Environmental Benefits Calculator. Re-using just one computer and monitor saves:
  • 30 lbs of hazardous waste
  • 77 lbs of solid waste
  • 77 lbs of materials
  • 147 lbs (17.5 gallons) of water from being polluted
  • 32 tons of air from being polluted
  • 1,333 lbs of CO2 from being emitted
  • 7,719 kilowatts of energy

This is roughly the equivalent of taking 1/2 of a car off the road and saving 68% of one US household's allotment of electricity for a year. These numbers are significant and certainly worthy of consideration.

Like every other school district, Saugus has a rapidly aging fleet of existing machines. Upgrades to the latest and greatest from Redmond would be costly and hardly worth the effort, yet these machines are completely viable as platforms for Linux. Even older Windows 98 machines are worthy clients for a K12 Linux Terminal Server Project (LTSP) setup. We have had great success working with these technologies for a number of years and, with this new data in-hand, plan to ramp up our efforts in this regard.

We are now in the process of formalizing and documenting our work into what we are calling our Green Computing Initiative. We intend to use this site to share information and best practices with the entire K12 community, in an effort to inform, educate, and inspire others to join us in this important endeavor.

K12 technology budgets are tightening while needs continue to increase, yet every year, schools simply discard valuable and viable equipment in the name of planned obsolescence and "minimum standards." These machines clog our landfills and pollute our water supplies when their useful life could easily be extended through the use of open solutions. Don't let fear stand in the way of opportunity in your district at the expense of the environment!


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