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Michigan State UniversityMichigan State UniversityInfrastructure Planning and Facilities
Hand touching computer equipment

Computer systems

The Computer Systems and Networking office of the Support Services department is doing its part to Be Spartan Green. The office has put many initiatives into effect, listed below, that help increase the university's effort to protect the environment.


  • All computers purchased are Energy-Star rated.
  • All computers the unit purchases have 80-PLUS-rated power supplies.
  • Only computers with liquid crystal display (LCD) screens are used.
  • All computers are purchased with high-efficiency power supplies if available.
  • Intel SpeedStep is enabled on all processors. This allows the computer to run efficiently and quickly with less power and heat draw.
  • Computers and other electronics are powered down when not in use.
  • Packaging material from new equipment is recycled.
  • Retired equipment is processed through the MSU Surplus Store.
  • Thin Clients give inexpensive, reliable, power-efficient computer access to all employees, not just office staff. They connect to a remote server so the software runs in the unit datacenter.
  • Electricity usage monitors are used to assess the true efficiency of an appliance by counting consumption by the Kilowatt-hour. Computer Systems uses them to test the performance of new hardware. Other departments sometimes borrow them to get profiles of their equipment.

Desktop workstations

  • Wake-on-LAN solution is in place so workstations can be remotely powered on.
  • A Remote Access Server is available so workstations do not have to be powered on when working remotely.
  • Smaller desktop hard drives are faster and use less energy.
  • Workstations are configured to sleep automatically when idle. Since sleep mode is a near-equivalent to a full showdown in terms of power usage, employees are asked to merely log off computers at the end of the day to rapidly resume to work the next workday.
  • Monitors are set to sleep when not in use.
  • USB speakers and accessories are used, which reduces the number of AC adapters. These accessories turn off with the computer.

Server room

  • Existing physical servers are being converted to virtual ones. This practice reduces power demand, square footage and cooling load while allowing for continued growth.
  • Storage is consolidated to reduce the number of hard drives in use.
  • Ambient temperature is set to a higher set-point to reduce energy usage while an HVAC unit with directed airflow to obtain a hot aisle/cold aisle approach helps keep datacenters cool.
  • New servers run on low-power processors.


  • Printers default to double-sided when equipment allows.
  • The default word-processing template was modified to increase the printable area by 28 percent.
  • Sleep mode is enabled on all units. Laser printer fusers, notorious for high energy usage, are disabled during sleep.
  • Finished toner cartridges are recycled.