We are committed to exploring and implementing best practices for Sustainable IT.

Harvard is committed to developing University-wide Sustainable IT Standards to reduce energy and emissions from IT infrastructure and end users. VIEW OUR PLAN

The Sustainable IT Standards were developed by the Sustainable IT committee in collaboration with the Harvard Office for Sustainability and Harvard University Information Technology (HUIT). The Standards were approved by the CIO Council.

Sustainable IT Standards

Green IT Committee Chairs:

Sarah Craig - Co-Chair
Director of Business Operations
Harvard University Information Technology

David Havelick - Co-Chair
Senior Sustainability Manager
Office for Sustainability


Massachusetts Green High Performance Computing Center

The Massachusetts Green High Performance Computing Center (MGHPCC) is the centerpiece of Harvard's commitment to Green IT. 

MGHPCC is a world-class LEED Platinum certified data center dedicated to supporting the growing research computing needs of five of the most research-intensive universities in Massachusetts: Boston University (BU), Harvard University, MIT, Northeastern University, and the University of Massachusetts (UMass).  Collaborative research enabled by the MGHPCC will address fundamental questions in energy sciences, the environment, and green computing.

Learn more about how MGHPCC is helping Harvard researchers unlock big data

Completed in November 2012, the ~90, 000 square foot, 10 MegaWatt facility, is located on an 8.6 acre former industrial site just a few blocks from City Hall in Holyoke, MA. With an additional 5MW available for other functions such as cooling and lighting, the machine room currently contains the infrastructure needed to house 10, 000 high-end computers used in support of computationally intensive research.

Green features of the MGHPCC

  • The electricity supplier for the center is Holyoke Gas and Electric, which generates more than 70% of its power from hydroelectric and solar installations.
  • A cooling system that uses outside air to chill water used to cool the computers. As a result, the MGHPCC users its chillers only 30 percent of the time.
  • A chilled water storage tank that allows the MGHPCC to run chillers (when outside air is too warm) at off-peak hours when electricity rates are lower.
  • Containment pods in which airflow is regulated using variable speed fans, allowing the MGHPCC to match fan speed to the temperature and pressure inside the containment area.
  • Hot aisle containment, which increases cooling efficiency by reducing the distance between the computers and the cooling units to less than two feet.
  • A high-voltage power distribution system that increases efficiency by reducing power loss due to conversions in order to step down the power within the center.
  • Remediation of contamination on the site of the MGHPCC, the planting of native vegetation, and the use of building material 25 percent of which was recycled and 25 percent of which was manufactured with 500 miles.

Learn more about the green features of MGHPCC


Personal Computing and E-Waste

When purchasing computers, monitors, and other electronics, the Office for Sustainability recommends checking for EPEAT-rating and the IFIXIT Repairability Score. Turning off computers and monitors when not in use and during holidays is an important action individuals across Harvard can take to help reduce energy and curb greenhouse gas emissions. Visit the Green Office Program to get tips on simple actions you can take to reduce energy used by your personal computing devices. 

E-waste, or “electronic waste,” can also be recycled easily at Harvard. Recycling e-waste ensures that hazardous and toxic materials are disposed of properly. Clear, blue, e-waste collection tubes can be found in 50 locations across campus. Learn more

Harvard Campus Services partners with two local non-profits, Semi-New Computers  and the LABBB Collaborative’s "iWork" program, to re-furbish old computers for reuse. Semi-New Computers sells refurbished computers and the LABBB Collaborative’s "School to Work" program gives vocational training to special needs students of high school age from sixty-two greater Boston public school districts. As part of this process, the recycled computers are tested, physically cleaned and the memory purged using "Darik’s Boot and Nuke" program (DBAN). Learn moRe about the process