Founded in 2004 as an alliance between the Ministry of Communications and Information
Technology (MCIT) and Cisco Systems, the E-Learning Competence Center (ELCC) is Egypt’s
leading organization in E-learning with a track record of developing and delivering a wide array
of e-learning courses and content, defining and disseminating quality standards of E-learning,
providing best practice research and expert consultancy and engendering the first wave of
facilitators and e-trainers.
Being fully aware of the subsequent effect of energy consumption on carbon dioxide emissions
of ICTs, while recognizing the critical importance of ICT as an enabler for environmental and
cultural change, the ELCC have developed and implanted a plan of action to go green.
2% of global carbon emissions come from the manufacture
and use of ICT; ELCC believes ICT is part of the problem and
ELCC believes business workflow and IT operations can be greener. The implemented action
plan contributed to conserve energy, to reduce traffic load and paper consumption and to
minimize the use of hardware. Being committed to environmental responsibility in its business
operations and e-learning solutions, ELCC looks to address this through four areas:
Its operations and the impact it has as a business
Creating efficiency and sustainability in its e-learning, which is inherently Green learning
Integrating sustainability strategies in the center’s overall corporate strategy
Inspiring its employees to get involved and take action
Spreading knowledge and awareness of Green ICT through online courses
“ELCC Goes Green” case study demonstrates best practices in the center’s shift to a “Green”
organization while identifying opportunities for the ICT industry, to replace goods and services
with virtual equivalents and to provide technology to enable energy efficiency.
1 ELCC Goes Green | Case Study
2| What is Green ICT?
The ICT sector has transformed the way we live, work, learn and play. From mobile phones and
micro-computer chips to the internet, ICT has consistently delivered innovative products and
services that are now an integral part of everyday life. ICT has systematically increased
productivity and supported economic growth across both developed and developing countries.
But what impact do pervasive ICT have on the environment?
There is huge potential for ICT to become the pivotal
driver in the sustainability of every organization, large or
Green lCT refers to all ICT solutions which lead to energy savings in a company. "Green IT"
therefore covers hardware, software and services: In the hardware area, energy-efficient
desktop PCs, thin client architectures and data center hardware offer potential, as do energy
supply and cooling systems. It also covers virtualization software and solutions for dynamic
capacity management in particular, as well as data center planning or storage offshoring in the
software and service area. The positive approaches of Green ICT are also extended to include
energy saving solutions from the telecommunications area, e.g., video conference systems.
Detailed observations further show that Green ICT covers other aspects throughout life cycles:
Resource-saving procurement, environmentally-aware behavior in the workplace and data
center operation with sustainable energy through to the environmentally-friendly disposal of
old electrical appliances and, where possible, large-scale recycling, also come under this term.
There is huge potential for ICT to become the pivotal driver in the sustainability of every
organization, large or small. ICT staff, if they have the skills and knowledge and given the
opportunity, will be able to cut costs, improve operational efficiency and ensure an
organization’s sustainability strategy is a success.
ICT is responsible for 2% of global emissions of CO2 which is on par with the aviation
industry15 and both are growing rapidly.
It is estimated that a medium-sized server has roughly the same annual carbon footprint as
an SUV vehicle doing 15 miles per gallon, covering 15,000 km16.
According to Forrester Research, a data centre with 1000 servers will use enough electricity
in a single month to power 16,800 homes for a year.
A significant proportion of lifetime carbon emission of ITC equipment is in its manufacture.
The manufacture of one PC requires about 1.7 tons of raw materials and water, and
consumes over ten times the computer’s weight in fossil fuels.
2 ELCC Goes Green | Case Study
3| ELCC’s Green ICT Vision and Objectives
Green ICT is not only about using greener technology, but also about instilling a cultural change
in favor of environmental sustainability. Therefore, through its Green ICT endeavor, the ELCC
aims to spread awareness on Green ICT and change individuals’ and organizations’ behavior in
favor of Green ICT practices will reduce the impact and costs of energy consumption as well as
control the damage caused by the disposal of hazardous materials found in electronic
In doing so, the ELCC aims to provide best practices that demonstrate the potential for energy
savings. ELCC’s example shall also be complimented by effective communication of the benefits
and methods of achieving greener ICT to the public sector, businesses and civil society.
Dissemination of information and awareness-raising are key factors to bringing about the
cultural shift that is required in people’s behavior.
In light of the above, ELCC is setting out the following objectives to improve Green ICT
credentials, both on the organizational and the national levels:
Develop, implement and sustain a Green ICT action plan.
Align ELCC’s business processes and working practices with Green ICT principles by making
effective and innovative use of ICTs and changing the corporate culture.
Disseminate knowledge and awareness of the importance of Green ICT among all
stakeholders through e-learning courses.
3 ELCC Goes Green | Case Study
4| E-learning: Green Learning
E-learning is inherently green. ELCC’s green learning technology allows it to offer online training
with a reduced impact on the environment and an enhanced impact on performance.
The key to green learning is that sustainability, renewability, and the reduction of carbon
emissions and aggregate resource demand to lower the impact on the environment is effectively
achieved. By moving a course online, one of the biggest contributors to carbon footprint is
reduced, which is travel because it saves tremendous petroleum and energy resources used in
transportation of learners from their place of dwelling/office to place of learning. Furthermore,
basing courses on Learning Management Systems (LMS) allows learners to sustain knowledge
longer; structuring program materials to create a blueprint for applying learning to similar
problems makes knowledge renewable; streamlining of processes makes it more efficient; and
automation leads to easy accessibility and ready availability.
This approach to learning, combined with reduced travel, reduced paperwork and manual tasks,
a single interface, a collaborative learning mechanism and ease in modification and update
greatly reduces our demand on resources for training and makes significant contribution to
shrinking carbon footprints.
The assets of e-learning like reduced paperwork and manual
tasks, saving on the transportation costs, streamlining of
processes and savings of the classroom logistics makes it by
virtue a Green Learning
Embarking on the wide outreach of e-learning, ELCC used e-learning to spread green knowledge.
The center have developed a course on the fundamentals of Green ICT that is designed for
technical administrators, application developers, system administrators, architects and also for
business analysts and business managers. The course aims to introduce key concepts and best
practice principles of Green ICT that will enable learners to optimize the use of ICT in the sake of
“It is very timely for the ELCC to be developing and delivering
courses around “Green ICT” to ensure that there is a growing
body of knowledge that is able to take full advantage of
energy efficiency strategies to minimize the impact of ICT on
the environment, and to use ICT in the most efficient manner.
Yasser Kazem, Director, ELCC
The Green ICT course covers a wide variety of ICT greening topics, concepts and tactics including
sustainable ICT strategies, carbon Footprint measurement and reduction, data center efficiency,
Green ICT assessment, Green computing, cloud Computing and recycling, re-use and disposal of
ICT equipment. The course also puts Green ICT in to action through presenting a number of case
studies that depict best practice implementation of Green ICT strategies among renowned
4 ELCC Goes Green | Case Study
5| Greening the Data Center
As people use technology to work in different ways, it puts greater demand on data centers.
Such facilities account for a significant percentage of energy use. ELCC is improving the
management of the data centre in a number of ways. Chilling, cooling, air conditioning, power
systems management and monitoring are our baseline data center consolidation and energy
Such techniques are further fortified by our server optimization strategies including the
implementation of storage virtualization and capacity management and converting physical
servers to virtual servers, decommissioning inactive servers and data disks and ensuring re-use
6| Greening the Staff
Enabling our staff to be "green", changing their own corporate behaviors and lifestyle is a
strategic step towards actualizing the center’s Green action plan.
Several energy saving practices have been encouraged among ELCC’s staff to enable early
implementation of simple but high impact actions, including:
All ELCC staff is required to turn their computer and monitors off at the end of each
All staff is required to switch off peripheral equipment overnight, e.g. printers and
All staff is encouraged to remove active screen savers and utilize power management
functionality for monitors.
All staff is encouraged to put PCs in low power modes after periods of inactivity.
All staff is encouraged to reduce brightness on monitors.
All staff is encouraged to dispose technologies in a sound and environmentally friendly
Ensuring printers are purchased with automatic duplex function that allows the automatic
printing of a sheet of paper on both sides.
Printers are set for double-sided printing as the default and grey printing.
All staff is encouraged to use dashed and draft paper for printing as much as possible.
All staff is encouraged to refrain from printing emails wherever possible.
A photocopier which is left switched on overnight needs the
same amount of energy as it does to make 1,500 photocopies
In addition to promoting energy saving behavior, the ELCC is working towards changing
employee behaviors and perceptions of how to conduct work. Examples of which include the
use of teleconferencing and video-conferencing - particularly WebEX - to save travel and
meeting room space, cutting down on commuting and encouraging collaborative working and
5 ELCC Goes Green | Case Study
7| Greening the Workflow
The ELCC believes an integral part of its Green action plan includes the. In this respect, the
greening of its business and IT processes. In this respect, the center has actively integrated a
number of sustainability themes in its day-to-day business and technical operations. Below are
our adopted sustainability strategies.
ACTION PLAN: Carbon Reduction
Printing policies, enforcing duplex printing.
Remote PC support.
ACTION PLAN: Desktop Equipment
Posters / awareness campaigns to reinforce message.
All monitors are configured to switch to sleep mode after 10 minutes of inactivity.
Ensuring printers are purchased with automatic duplex function that allows the automatic
printing of a sheet of paper on both sides.
Removing active screensavers.
Enabling active power management.
Ensuring re-use of equipment.
ACTION PLAN: PRINTING
Optimizing power saving sleep mode on printers.
Setting default green printing including duplex and grey scale.
Setting targets for paper consumption and auditing it.
Power down printers outside office hours
ACTION PLAN: Telecommuting/Working Remotely
In addition to secure email and network access, ELCC’s IT departments leveraged the features
and benefits of connecting via the WebEx and conferencing to allow its staff to telecommute.
WebEx is designed to allow users to collaborate, so users can have rich experiences by sharing
their computer screen, presenting content, and communicating through a webcam and
ACTION PLAN: Virtual Conferences
In order to reduce travel, ELCC uses WebEx to replace the need for travel for conferences and
customer visits in an attempt to help reduce travel costs and carbon footprints. Our virtual
conferences are easily hosted by using many of the features of WebEx through which we are
able to interact with participants of conferences through video, audio, chat, screenshare,
presentations and polling questions. Additionally, these sessions are recorded for later viewing.
6 ELCC Goes Green | Case Study
8| Our Green Credentials
ELCC has successfully managed to realize some business and IT gains as a result of the adopted
Green ICT plan of action, which is for the center, a kick-start for further energy efficiency and
The realized business and IT gains are:
The optimization of IT infrastructure through improved operational efficiency.
The generation of time and cost savings.
The efficient use of power through server consolidation.
The simplification of data center management.
The reduction of power consumption.
9| Lessons Learnt
Our experience has provided us with the following learnt lessons, which are worth sharing:
Green ICT should be a component of the overall organizational strategy
Green ICT strategy must be connected to business strategy and key stakeholders
Scope of Green ICT must be clearly defined
Resources need to allocated to help keep focus
Engage staff to maintain momentum
Every contribution makes a positive difference
For any business to declare its intention to become carbon-neutral it should have a sustainable
or ‘green’ ICT policy. Although there is much work to be done to reduce the ICT industry’s 2%
contribution to carbon emissions, ELCC believes that ICT as well holds the key to reduce total
carbon emissions through the implementation of sustainable and efficient ICT solutions.
In this regards, ELCC have jump started a plan of action to prevail Green ICT and integrate its
practices and techniques in the center’s day-to-day operations. In doing so, the center have
successfully managed to optimize its IT infrastructure through improved operational efficiency,
generate time and cost savings, reduce power consumption, simplify data center management
and change the corporate behavior and life style of its employees towards Green concepts.
Although ELCC’s added value of Green ICT is represented by an improvement in the
environmental input/output balance and cost savings, this is only the reap of the low-hanging
fruits. We aspire, through the kick-off of our Green action, to present a role model for other
Egyptian entities and organizations to Green their operations and to provide them with a valid
and practical starting point for doing so. We believe that what has been achieved so far is just
the beginning of an ongoing, fully integrated Green ICT policy through which we aim to provide
evidence to the claim that there is a lot more that we can do with our ICTs that will have a
positive impact everywhere.
7 ELCC Goes Green | Case Study