IT Sustainability

Do You Know?

  • Typical produce travels 1,500 miles from farm to plate. Locally grown produce — try the farmer's market — requires much less gas to get to you or, you to get to it.
  • Even for short periods of time, it is more economical to turn off incandescent and fluorescent lights each time you leave a room.
  • If every UNM/UNMH employee or student drove one less mile per day, it would create a total savings of 550,000 gallons of gasoline per year. The resulting decrease of CO2 not released in the air equals 10.5 MILLION pounds — that's like taking 930 cars off the road!
  • Americans throw away over 160 pounds of food per person each year. Why not try composting?
  • Although Compact Flourescent Light (CFL) bulbs contain about four milligrams of mercury each — almost enough to cover the tip of a ballpoint pen — CFL use reduces the amount of mercury released into the environment because the bulbs use less electricity than incandescent bulbs. CFLs only release mercury if the bulb breaks.
  • Take your burned out CFL bulbs to Home Depot for safe disposal.
  • The main source of mercury pollution in the U.S. is from coal-burning power plants.
  • EnergyStar, a federal program for energy efficiency, says that Compact Flourescent Light (CFL) bulbs use up 75% less energy than traditional bulbs.
  • A slow water drip can waste more than 100 gallons of water per week. Plumbers charge upwards of $50 per hour. A medium size leak can set you back over $100 per month.
  • 95% of U.S. native forests are gone. Recycling paper can prevent further loss.
  • A screen saver actually consumes energy and if elaborate enough, a great deal of energy. Setting your computer to "sleep" could save as much as $75 per year.
  • Researchers found that sustainability-farmed soil absorbs up to 28% more climate-change-causing CO2 than conventionally farmed soil. Bioscience 55:7 (July 2005).
  • Every gallon of gasoline burned creates about 20 pounds of climate-change-causing CO2!
  • Manufacturers produce more than 15 million tons of styrofoam (polystyrene) each year. Less than one per cent is recycled. Styrofoam is made using cancer-causing benzene and the brain toxin styrene, which can migrate in to food.
  • If you replace your pre-1994 dishwasher, you'll save more than $30 per year in utility costs.
  • Organic farming can produce six inches of healthy topsoil in as little as 50 years. It takes nature about 3,000 years to produce the same amount of topsoil.
  • Americans buy three million batteries per year. Recycling batteries prevents battery toxins from leaching into soil, water, and the air. IT Hardware Maintenance can recycle your batteries. No automotive batteries, please.
  • Appliances consume energy when plugged in but not powered on. This energy consumption is called "phantom load." Coffee makers, blenders, DVD players, phone chargers, computers, etc., all continue to comume energy when powered off but still plugged in. Use power strips or manually unplug electronic devices or chargers to save electricity.
  • If all phantom loads in U.S. homes were stopped, 17 power plants could be shut down.
  • Shutting off computers really does save money. If 100 computers were turned off for just 12 hours per day and all day on weekends and holidays, based on an electricity rate of $0.10/kWh (national average), we could save over $10.000 per year.
  • You may drop off any brand or unwanted computer or computer equipment, in any condition, at any of the ten Goodwill donation centers in New Mexico. Recycling e-waste prevents harmful chemicals like mercury, arsenic, cadium and lead from leaching into the water, soil, and air.

The IT Sustainability Steering Committee is charged with the task of promoting sustainable practices within Information Technologies specifically, and in the IT community generally, that will actively contribute to The University of New Mexico's overall sustainability and energy-reduction goals.

The committee is comprised of a cross-section of IT staff that meets twice a month. Meeting agendas and minutes may be found in the ITS_SUS-L listserv archives.