Partnering with Facilities Management: Construction & Sustainability

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Major Issue:

As the use of technology in higher education continues to mature, proper infrastructure planning, development and management becomes increasingly critical to delivering the quality experience that our students, faculty and staff expect. User mobility, expanding use of video, cloud computing, growth in research computing and physical development of the campus represent a number of factors that drive the need for IT planning. In addition, procurement, use and management of technology on campus have a significant impact on sustainability, from energy consumption to electronics end-of-life management issues.

Specific Recommendations:

  1. Develop an IT infrastructure master plan that would help ensure that core infrastructure, such as the network backbone, telephony capabilities, wireless infrastructure, space, etc., are sufficient to accommodate the demands anticipated in the Facilities Master Plan as well as ongoing changes in the use and management of technology. Additionally, in order to ensure that the Facilities Master Plan serves as an effective baseline, make sure that strong IT representation is achieved in developing the Facilities Master Plan.
  2. To successfully meet campus demands for services, Facilities Management and ITS must collaborate to improve the understanding of the impact that changes in IT modality and trends have on facilities. This understanding, combined with a clearly articulated campus IT strategy, will facilitate development of effective standards and guidelines that result in facilities and other infrastructure that will accommodate the campus' needs today and in the future. In order to accomplish this, campus governance should designate roles and responsibilities in Facilities Management and ITS to develop, communicate and enforce standards and guidelines as well as collaborate in regard to program planning and building design. Increased collaboration will help ensure proper consideration and accommodation for communications infrastructure, power, cooling, physical security and space. In addition, IT participation on the Boulder Campus Planning Commission may also be considered in order to heighten awareness of IT issues on the Commission.
  3. IT facilities and infrastructure should adhere to the vision and associated standards for campus IT. All standards, whether they define space allowances or specific technologies, should be consistently applied regardless of who manages the resources. For example, classroom IT equipment standards that are applied to centrally scheduled classrooms are not consistently followed for departmentally-controlled and funded classrooms, causing some support issues for ITS. In addition, incentives should be developed to encourage significant change, such as data center consolidation.
  4. Define and inventory data centers, and implement a program for an energy conservation/sustainability review of all existing facilities in collaboration with data center owners, ITS and Facilities Management.
  5. Enhance the annual review program for computer labs to validate whether the labs meet programmatic needs based on the changing mobility requirements of students, options for delivering specialized or complex applications (e.g. virtualization or thin-client technologies), among other factors. In addition validate that sound sustainability practices are being followed in the management of lab equipment.
  6. To support end-of-life management of electronics, investigate development of an intra-campus online exchange, whereby staff from across campus could post surplus items for direct transfer to other departments prior to declaring the equipment surplus.
  7. Work closely with the Procurement Service Center in conjunction with their strategic sourcing efforts to place responsibility for reuse or recycling of electronics on vendors, when possible.
  8. Increase coordination among ITS, Facilities Management and other campus IT organizations regarding infrastructure related to backup power to reduce duplication of efforts and costs.

Evaluation:

  • Review the reduction in number of data centers on campus compared to the baseline.
  • Monitor consumption of electricity, steam and chilled water in facilities housing data centers.
  • Monitor the volume of electronic equipment that is directly transferred between departments.
  • Monitor the volume of electronic equipment that is returned to vendors at the end of equipments' useful life.
  • Adherence to standards or guidelines.
  • Successful completion of a campus IT infrastructure master plan.
For questions about ITSP, please contact Marin Stanek by email at Marin.Stanek@colorado.edu or phone at 303-735-5225.