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Green IT: Collaboration

Green Work Practices: Tuning Up Operations

Manage your email and optimize file size when sending attachments

According to an article published on the Guardian's Green Living blog, the average email user emits roughly 135kg of carbon each year.  While this may not sound like a lot, when extended to 20,000 email accounts, that adds up to 2700 tons of carbon emitted per year from email. 

  • Actively manage your email. Delete unneeded messages through management your inbox and sent mail folder.
  • Save large Word (and PowerPoint) files as PDF. This can reduce file size by up to 90%.
  • Reduce the size of images that are attached to email.
  • Compress files before sending them. Programs such as WinZip can reduce the size of large files and can be used to send groups of files as a single attachment.

Use online collaboration tools to save time and other resources

Working with others either by teleconferencing or by using electronic collaboration tools, can help save travel costs and paper. Departments at Penn use various tools to help foster electronic collaboration. Work with your Local Support Provider to see what is available in your area.

  • Take advantage of the online collaboration tools and document storage, available in the Penn+Box service. Other tools like wikis and content managers, can really cut down on the amount of printing that is necessary when you prepare documents and share information.
  • Utilize instant messaging (IM). IM services like Jabber can assist communications. Sometimes a quick "chat" online can save the need to commute to a meeting.
  • Use all the features of available teaching tools, like Canvas.
  • Conduct meetings through video conferencing or teleconferencing instead of in person when possible, especially when traveling is far away and costly. Video conferencing services are available through Penn Video Productions.

Use E-Fax instead of a traditional fax to save paper

Reducing power usage isn’t the only way computers can be used to help have less ecological impact. Since they are so flexible, computers can really help you change your workflow.

  • Instead of faxing, send an email with an attachment. Email has reduced the need for faxing.
  • Explore using fax server software that eliminates the need for a traditional fax machine thus reducing paper and energy consumption. A variety of proprietary and open source solutions are available.
  • Consider purchasing data fax services from outside your organization.
      • For example, ISC Networking & Telecommunications offers data fax services as part of it's Automatic Call Distribution Center (ACD) services.  To learn more, visit ISC's ACD services.
      • Additional internet fax services are available as well, such as eFaxMyFaxSend2Fax, and others.

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