Over the next few weeks, I will devote a brief, weekly article on simple, inexpensive energy saving tips that you can implement now at your office or building that will produce real, measurable, quick energy savings, monetary gains, and greenhouse gas (GHG) emission reductions. These are suggestions that should not “put out” your staff, and can make you look like a hero.
Turn your personal computer off at night.
According to the Alliance to Save Energy’s 2009 report (pdf), about half of all PCs used in US offices, about 108 million corporate PCs and monitors, are left fully on overnight and on weekends. What is the cost involved? An organization with 1,000 PCs left on overnight and weekends would need to pay about $22,000 to $36,000 per year for this cost that has no benefit based on a typical range of electricity unit costs. Again, this is money being spent for electricity that is not doing the organization any good.
Since the 2009 report, some, but limited, progress has been made in turning PCs off when not in use, but with the growing number of units in this country, PCs drawing power when not being used are still a major waste of electricity. Changing the culture, such as an employee routinely turning off his or her machine when leaving for the night, is lengthy and difficult. A further contributor to this problem is that many IT departments specifically instruct users to leave PCs on all night so that they can implement system upgrades during the overnight hours and not disturb anybody’s use.
The solution to this energy waste problem, like many things, may be new technology. New power management software can allow IT departments to remotely “wake up” computers that are powered off in the middle of the night to centrally upgrade or install programs, then put all computers back to sleep mode before employees arrive to turn on their equipment.
Dell Computers is reportedly saving $1.8 million per year in avoided costs implementing this software for its 50,000 computers with a healthy payback (6 to 12 months).
Buy Energy Star-labeled PCs and monitors.
Work with your purchasing department to buy only Energy Star-labeled PCs as you replace existing units. According to Energy Star, a PC that meets the new Energy Star 5.0 criteria uses 30-65 percent less electricity than a standard model. So while such a PC may cost a little more, your company is likely to make back the added cost in one to two years. Since the average PC lasts 4 years, that would be 2 to 3 years of savings. Plus this is truly an effortless way to also reduce GHG emissions.
And consider buying only Energy Star-labeled PCs for yourself and your family at home so you can reap energy savings from your wallet, as well.
Marc Karell is the owner of Climate Change & Environmental Services. CCES can assist you with the technical details of: your emissions inventory; your air permitting status; and whether your facility is subject to air rules such as Title V and/or PSD. We can help you navigate through their complex processes. Read more useful material in the company’s blog: www.CCESworld.com/blog. CCES has experience in performing site-specific energy audits of diverse types of facilities and to provide specific, reasonable options to reduce your energy (electricity and fuel) usage, saving you significant energy costs and with good paybacks. Contact us for a no-obligation discussion and see our website: www.CCESworld.com.