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Computers in schools are an environmental time-bomb

UK schools are producing 1 million tonnes of carbon dioxide and spending over £100 million every year on electricity a report published today claims.

The study, by Open Source consultancy Sirius Corporation, adds that the Goverment's target of interactive whiteboard in every classroom and a computer for every pupil will increase school's power consumption ten fold within the next decade.

The solution, according to Sirius Corporation, is a move away from the BECTA frameworks to leaner hardware and 'virtualised' network services.

Traditional 'fat-client' workstations should be replaced by low-power 'thin-client' terminals. With flat screens and server consolidation power consumption could be reduced even further.

Mark Taylor, CEO at Sirius Corporation said: "We realised that the computing model promoted by BECTA's frameworks is creating a massive energy-sink.

“Most school's PCs spend their time idle. The hardware specified is just too powerful for the tasks required of school children. They're like an SUV for every child.

Hardware requirements to run Windows Vista means these consumption figures will rise even futher. Schools are using computers as room heaters which then need to be cooled using expensive air conditioning and Modern thin-client networks could reverse this trend and are available from the Open Source community and vendors of proprietary software today.