Do you think reducing the carbon footprint of your school is a pressing issue?
If not, you should know; It’s a hot topic amongst school children and other young people.
This demographic is becoming increasingly active in climate change protests. In 2019, approximately 15,000 UK schoolchildren went on a one-day strike.
Part of Schools 4 Climate Action, the protest took place in 60 towns and cities across the country, with one of the key demands being:
The national curriculum should be reformed to include "the ecological crisis"
Along with events like the launch of the Let’s Go Zero campaign, it’s clear that young people now expect their places of learning to implement sustainable and environmentally-friendly practices and policies.
So why can’t the same be done with your infrastructure?
The carbon emissions from areas like lighting, air conditioning and server infrastructure are considerable, the end result being that an estimated 40 to 70 tonnes of carbon is released into the atmosphere each year by the average primary school, while a typical secondary school will release 200 to 300 tonnes.
Let’s put it in perspective; a single server (taking the Dell Poweredge R730 Server as an example) has about the same carbon footprint each year as driving from London to Ulaanbaatar, the capital of Mongolia.
Alternatives to wasteful lighting are being put in place with the replacement of bulbs with LED, but what about moving away from costly, power-hungry servers?
There are two main obstacles to change:
With little pressure from either client or supplier side, the necessary momentum for change doesn’t develop. So nothing changes.
However, as a school or trust you do have options available to you.
SaaS tools and products
Going serverless is one of the best ways your school or trust can reduce your carbon footprint. It also results in significant financial savings over time.
And the best way to make your school or trust serverless is by using Software as a Service (Saas) tools.
Historically, the UK has been a leader in the world of digital tech in schools, spending close to £900 million a year.
However, being a leader is only good if you continue to diversify and try new, leading technologies that help your school.
Many existing providers may offer ‘cloud-based’ solutions. These sound great at first as they can:
The only issue is, these solutions aren’t true ‘cloud-based’ solutions and are actually ‘virtual servers’ which are technically ‘on-premise’. This means your school or trust isn’t gaining the benefits and could be getting a poor user experience due to lags in system performance.
Why is this?
The legacy systems used by schools and trusts are typically built on a fragile, outdated codebase. It’s been updated in a patchwork fashion over the years and accumulated 'technical debt'. This means that the cost for software owners to rebuild their solution into a true cloud-based solution is so large that they’re not happy in making this financial commitment.
Hope is still out there. We’re part of a new-wave of companies emerging into the education sector who use innovative technology that aren’t inhibited by their shareholders or bottom line.
The impact on school catering
When the COVID-19 pandemic began, many schools found themselves exposed to risk due to the catering solutions they’d chosen.
Providers whose solutions are heavily reliant on biometrics were heavily affected. Fingerprint technology, normally an ideal way of tracking school meal allocation, suddenly became unsafe.
The main alternative has been MIFARE cards, but these come with their own costs:
The most carbon-friendly solution is the QR code:
So if you do want to go serverless using SaaS systems, what’s available?
Recently, the main area where serverless solutions have taken off in schools has been the world of Management Information Systems (MIS) with more schools looking to purchase SasS solutions than ever before.
Amazon’s AWS and Microsoft’s Azure both provide initiatives to help move schools onto these systems in a cost-neutral way. Many businesses have already made the move to Azure due to it being faster, cheaper, and more secure than on-site solutions.
Meanwhile, AWS benefits from using an already existing server, which is typically 88% more efficient when it comes to your carbon footprint than other servers.
For schools and trusts who’ve been thinking about this more since the outbreak of COVID-19, the UK Government even introduced grants to help migrate learning to Microsoft Office 365.
Overall, several software solutions have entered the market to help not only save you time and money but help you to reduce your carbon footprint.
As one of the most important matters to school children in 2020 and beyond, ensuring you get your serverless software right has never been more important.
The Pebble solution
Pebble has been working hard to provide solutions which can help schools while reducing their carbon footprint.
Tali — a truly serverless solution for managing school finances — integrates with a variety of SaaS services including Xero, ParentPay, sQuid, and Sage to keep schools working in the cloud.
With Till, schools benefit from the serverless technology of Tali, which can be enhanced to provide a fully SaaS cashless catering solution, with zero on-site maintenance. The only hardware required is an efficient and fast iPad and an iZettle card reader.
To lighten the load on your budget and the environment, get in touch with our team today.
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