Mac Minis save college energy and money

By Grace Parker

The new Mac Minis on campus are not only saving Goshen College $8,000 per year, but are also lessening the impact on the environment in several ways.

Last summer, ITS installed 379 Mac Minis around campus in a move to increase energy efficiency and to upgrade software. The Mac Minis replaced several older computers that were then sold to community members, donated to charity or disposed at an electronic waste service.

“The January electrical bill may be the lowest January bill in almost 20 years,” said Glenn Gilbert, utilities manager.

He believes the Mac Minis are an important contributor to this improvement. It is the first winter that the computer labs have not needed air conditioning because the Mac Minis are much cooler than the old PCs.

“This alone represents hundreds of dollars of savings that we hadn’t anticipated,” said Gilbert. It also means less noise in the computer labs without loud computer fans.

The Mac Minis are designed to be small and efficient—what Dan Stutzman of ITS called “a laptop in a desktop case.” To further increase energy savings, ITS configured the Mac Minis to go into hibernation much sooner when not being used. In hibernation, a computer uses the same amount of energy as when shut down. It is more efficient than sleep mode and reloads faster than shutting down.

Besides energy costs, the Mac Minis have lowered repair and maintenance costs. They were also a less expensive investment than other options. The total cost of the upgrade was $200,000 and is being paid off over a five-year period.

The Mac Mini upgrade came along with the Windows 7 upgrade, the newest version of Windows. The change in the computer’s screen reflects the upgrade to Windows 7 while the look of the computer itself reflects the upgrade to Apple’s hardware.

“The investment in new hardware had to be made in any circumstance,” said Michael Sherer, ITS Director. “Future staffing and business efficiencies hinged on an aggressive move to Windows 7.”

According to Sherer, Stutzman and Gilbert, the move was a good one for the college.

“In many ways, it represents Goshen College at its very best,” said Stutzman. “Spotting a better way to do something, moving it forward, making it work, and reaping the results.”

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