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IT Sustainability Initiatives
Stop Junk Mail Program
Junk mail is as much a problem at the office as it is at home. That’s why the IT Sustainability Team started the Stop Junk Mail program. Since August 2011, the Sustainability Team has stopped 256 items and 73 pounds of junk mail – that’s the equivalent of stopping 292 pounds of carbon emissions! The program initially focused on stopping mail being sent to former IT employees, but has since expanded to include all employees.

Smart Strips Program
The IT Department has recently purchased Smart Strips with auto-switching technology. This green feature not only saves money and energy, but also makes shutting down devices fast and easy.

Green Purchasing, Recycling & Rechargeable Batteries
Pierce County IT has long been a proponent of sustainable disposal of computer equipment and other electronic components at the end of their life cycles. In support of this mission, IT is proud to continue our decade-plus history of providing surplus computers and components to charitable organizations and government-sanctioned recycling programs. Even better, our electronic sustainability efforts save the county money, year after year.

The Pierce County IT Department increased the percentage of office products purchased with recycled content from 17.6 percent in 2009, to 25.6 percent in 2010. Also in 2010, we enacted a 27 percent reduction in paper use, reflecting a spending reduction of $913 less than in 2009. The rechargeable batteries program has also been a great success: the IT department purchased 62 percent fewer alkaline batteries from 2010 to 2011.

Pierce County IT further supports the county's sustainability initiatives by:
  • Recommending the purchase and set-up of duplex printers
  • Assisting departments in providing electronic documents instead of paper
  • Promoting the usage of the Pierce County Equipment Disposal program
  • Recycling all used print cartridges
  • Providing office recycling containers at all IT Department locations
  • Implementing minimal packaging standards on IT equipment shipments to county departments
  • Eliminating 4,000 (eight reams) of printed paper each month by providing phone logs electronically
  • Striving to reach the goal of 50% or more of office products to contain recycled content
  • Signing the Plug Load Solutions Pledge stating that we will take steps to reduce our energy use, become a leader in procuring efficient products, and reduce our impact on shared natural resources

Video & Phone Conference Services
Through a number of systems supported by the Information Technology Department, Pierce County employees are able to utilize phone and video conferencing services to help reduce the county's environmental footprint while conducting remote Pierce County business. Since March, Pierce County departments have engaged in 23 video conferences, replacing in-person meetings.

Video and phone conferencing solutions save energy, time and money. In addition to advantages such as eliminating travel to meetings, remote conferencing solutions can also be used as a business continuity tool during inclement weather, and in specialty applications such as training and other remote communication applications.

In 2011, Pierce County IT's Voice Services team facilitated more than 147 conference calls, totaling 200+ hours of use, as of October. The usage hours equate to more than five weeks of non-stop conference calls. Our Public Works, Geographic Information Systems, Government Relations, Juvenile Court and Clerk of the Superior Court are making great use of this environmentally supportive and cost-saving service. Some departments have set up regular phone conferences.

Windows File System Project
With a primary focus on saving money, maximizing staff productivity and increasing business continuity, Pierce County migrated from a decentralized NetWare file server solution to a centralized Windows File System solution for storing documents and files.

The now-completed Windows File System project was an overall success. Fiscally, this project allowed the county to eliminate more than $150,000 in annual costs. In addition to these hard-dollar cost savings, sustainability benefits were also gained. The project is now delivering significant power savings of at least 87,500 kilowatt-hours (kwh) per year.

Energy Efficiency & Conservation Block Grant (EECBG) Program
  • Date Awarded: June 18, 2009
  • Awarding Agency: U.S. Department of Energy
  • Name of Award: EECBG Energy Efficient Storage Upgrade
  • Amount of Award Spent by IT: $101,00
  • Status: Completed Fourth Quarter 2011

The EECBG IT award is a sub-recipient of Pierce County's total award of $4,376,400. This grant was used to replace Pierce County’s ten-year-old disk storage units with a modern, energy efficient unit. The new storage unit saves an estimated 12,600 watts per hour, with additional savings in cooling capacity of 45,120 BTUs per hour. These cost-saving improvements will allow the county to reinvest funds in other areas.