Thin technologies yield big reward

NAU’s efforts to create a sustainable, green campus earned another recognition, winning Oracle’s “Enable the Eco-Enterprise” award.

The university’s innovative use of Oracle products and green business practices has reduced NAU’s environmental footprint, cut costs and improved efficiency.

As part of the Carbon Neutrality Climate Action Plan 2010, Information Technology Services teamed up with the business and engineering colleges to enact the “I’m thin and I’m green” campaign spearheaded by Heather Farley, program coordinator for the Office of Sustainability, and Richard Toeniskoetter, ITS manager for the W.A. Franke College of Business.

The “I’m thin and I’m green” campaign enhances sustainability on three main fronts.

First, NAU deployed 600 Sun Ray thin clients. Farley describes the thin client as “a small thin box that runs your computer off of a server.” The system is “significantly more energy efficient running at 3-15 watts versus a CPU that runs up to 200 watts.”

Second, thin client technology acts to eliminate waste because it lengthens the amount of time before desktop computers need to be replaced.

Finally, NAU employs Oracle Secure Global Desktops, which allows students to access applications needed for their courses from any location at any time without purchasing that application. Students accessed this software 32,000 times last academic year, reducing the number of visits they took to campus and therefore reducing traffic congestion and possible carbon emissions associated with that trip.

NAU has successfully reduced its electrical consumption, resource usage and e-waste disposal on campus while offering anywhere, anytime computing services to students.

NAU also is continuing to drive change on campus, from developing environmentally sustainable buildings, integrating sustainability concepts in curriculum, greening operations and being stewards in the community, as part of its designation as a charter signatory of the American College and University Presidents’ Climate Commitment.