When Goshen College (http://www.goshen.edu) students return to classes this fall in Goshen, Indiana, their desktop computing experience will be very “green.” This summer the college has launched a “Green Desktop” initiative as part of Goshen’s zero carbon footprint goals by ordering 400 energy-efficient Apple Mac minis to replace every campus PC.

“The minis run a mix of Windows 7 and Mac OS X, but more importantly, they consume as little as one-eighth power of the PCs they are replacing,” says Michael Sherer, director of the college’s Information Technology Services.

Facilities Manager and Sustainability Coordinator Glenn Gilbert estimated that the upgrade will save the college US$8,000 per year in electricity and cooling costs. The computers that are being replaced will be sold or recycled.

Sherer said standardizing on Mac Mini’s has benefits that go far beyond low-power consumption.

“People were skeptical at first,” he says. “But they’ve been totally won over by the size, speed and silent operation of the Minis.” Other advantages cited by Sherer include eliminating cost differences between Mac and PC hardware, lower maintenance costs and lower cost of ownership.

Goshen’s Senior Desktop Architecture Specialist Dan Stutzman, the project leader for this initiative, concurs. “Ironically, this initiative has allowed us to have one of the most aggressive Windows 7 rollouts in the state, and one of the only totally 64 bit Windows deployments in higher education,” he adds.

The Green Desktop initiative is not an isolated move towards sustainability. Goshen College has long been a leader in sustainability, energy management and green facilities management, with achievements that include:

° Reducing campus energy consumption to levels seen in 1991, despite a 61 percent increase in campus square footage;

° Building the first LEED-Platinum-certified academic building in Indiana (Merry Lea Environmental Learning Center’s Rieth Village);

° Building energy efficient senior apartments in 2005 and 2008;

° Using a wind turbine and a photovoltaic array to generate one-third of the electricity for Merry Lea’s Rieth Village;

° Being a charter signatory of the American College and University Presidents Climate Commitment;

° Converting waste vegetable oil from the school dining hall into biodiesel to operate the campus backup generator.