Green IT – City of Dortmund: Thorough shake-up of the municipal IT infrastructure

At an early stage, the City of Dortmund identified the issue of “Green IT” as an important criterion in achieving its climate protection goals. With a corresponding subproject for climate protection, the city is leading the way forward with its outstanding commitment and fine-tuning its entire information technology (IT) infrastructure to improve its efficiency.

The IT service provider Dortmunder Systemhaus organises and operates the whole of Dortmund city council’s IT infrastructure. This consists of around 6,600 IT workstations with associated peripheral devices (printers, fax machines, etc.), a central data processing centre, a data storage site and 361 local equipment rooms with additional IT facilities, such as servers and network components. All of this is located in 118 properties belonging to the city.

Engine for progress:

  • Potential savings of more than 5,000 tonnes of CO2
  • Systematic development of new action areas
  • Constant optimisation of energy efficiency

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Photo: City of Dortmund

Optimal efficient cooling performance achieved using the hot aisle/cold aisle concept. Server racks are arranged according to “hot and cold” aisles. Cooled air enters the cold aisles via perforated floor panels. Enclosing the cold aisle prevents the warm air that is given off from returning to the area that has already been cooled.

First municipality with a climate protection subproject for “Green IT”

As part of the municipal climate protection project “Climate protection 2020 action programme”, Green IT was identified as a key measure for the achievement of the City of Dortmund’s climate protection goals. This means striving to make IT use across the whole of the council environmentally friendly and resource-efficient over its entire life cycle. This starts with fair and sustainable purchasing, includes energy-efficient and climate-friendly operation and ends with appropriate disposal or recycling.

Increasing overall efficiency through a range of measures

An expert report closely examined the whole of the City of Dortmund’s IT infrastructure, highlighted opportunities for optimisations and advised on the gradual implementation of appropriate measures. These measures included, for example, the large-scale consolidation of server hardware. As a result, the original inventory of 691 servers was reduced to about 30 servers by means of virtualisation. This saves almost six gigawatt-hours of electricity – equivalent to the power consumption of 1,800 two-person households – and the associated 3,000 tonnes of CO2 per year. By using energy-efficient hardware, increasing room temperatures and improving the airflow in the decentralised equipment rooms it was also possible to tap into additional savings potentials there amounting to more than 600 tonnes of CO2. A further CO2 saving of 700 tonnes was achieved thanks to the use of the latest hardware and operating systems in the IT workstations, resulting in significantly reduced power consumption and corresponding operating concepts.

Making IT infrastructure sustainable and continuing to reduce consumption

The next steps are intended to improve the efficiency of communication processes (by using video conferencing and meeting software, for example) and increase the use of “thin clients” for desktop requirements (computers with low computational power and merely serving as user interfaces to a powerful remote server that runs all of the processes). It is also believed that there are additional, as yet untapped, savings potentials offered by using mobile devices and by improving printing and faxing and IT infrastructure in educational establishments, such as schools.

Photo: City of Dortmund

“Green IT is an important eco-friendly solution that offers the possibility of improving energy efficiency and is therefore a permanent core element of the City of Dortmund’s IT policy. With this approach, projects and technology initiatives relating to Green IT will be mandatory and effective in the IT structures across the entire municipal administration."

Winfried Bartel, Director of Dortmunder Systemhaus

Partners and sponsors

  • Stadt Dortmund
  • Bundesministerium für Umwelt, Naturschutz, Bau und Reaktorsicherheit (BmUB)

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