In my office building, when leaving late in the evening, a few minute walk, clicking a switch here, pushing a button there, and the off-hour electrical load might be cut by a few to then thousand watts. Over a three day weekend and I might have successfully conducted a carbon offset for my entire household’s monthly electricity use, 100s of kilowatt hours of avoided electrical use.
Sadly, turning off that computer is just too exhausting an act for many. A 100 computers here, a 1000 computers there, 1 million computers somewhere, bit-by-bit it adds up to some pretty serious numbers.
- Out of 104 million office PCs in the US, at least 31.2 million are left on all night.
- Turning off every work computer in the United States every night would save as much CO2 emissions as taking every car in the state of Marylandoff the road.
- The simple step of shutting computers down each night can save a 10,000 PC enterprise more than $165,000 a year in energy costs. Across the US, this adds up to more than $1.72 billion dollars and almost 15 million tons of CO2.
These are pretty serious numbers, not every office has someone wondering the halls switching systems off, nor does it occur every night. That’s the human-hardware intermittent solution, is there a better path via software?
The numbers above come from a study 1E, a software company company specializing in power reduction, commissioned from the Alliance to Save Energy, a non-profit that “promotes energy efficiency worldwide to achieve a healthier economy, a cleaner environment, and greater energy security.” The study, PC Energy Report 2007: United States, examines personal computing use in the American workplace, striving to understand how much of this is idle time and how more energy efficiency might be fostered.
For example, the hibernation mode …
In 1E’s May 2007 poll, only half (50 percent) of the employed adults who regularly use a PC at work said a “hibernation” mode was activated on their machines. Seventeen percent didn’t even know.
So what … so what. About 20 percent of users seem to think: “After all, it’s only a PC and I’d have to waste a few minutes to turn it back on if I turned it off for my four-week vacation.”
Into the woods: It takes between 60 and 300 trees to absorb the yearly CO2 emissions generated by a single PC left on 24 hours a day. That means it would take between 1.24 and 6.24 billion trees to absorb the emissions caused by the nation’s office computers that are never shut down.
It matters. As individual user and in aggregate.
PC Energy Report 2007: United States is written in a very accessible, even glitzy manner. A good tool for leveraging to convince others to think seriously about seeking a different approach to computer power management in the workplace.
E1 provides other interesting tools. For example, the Online Energy Savings Calculator which provides a way to estimate wasted electricity, wasted money, and extra CO2 emissions into the atmosphere through using the computers on when not in use. 1 CRT computer, left on 14 hours/day during the week and 24 hours week not in use totals 1266 kwh and $126.60 (at 10 cents/kwh), down the drain and over 1000 pounds of CO2 dumped into the atmosphere. More enjoyably, one can turn to Turn It All Off, a nightwatchman (or woman) game, battling to turn off wasteful office electricity systems.
Now, E1 isn’t exactly a totally disinterested party. They, working with those who focus on helping to foster a more energy efficient future, are bringing visibility and attention to off-hour wasted computer power in businesses. Why? E1 systems is offering up power management systems for businesses, to foster greater energy efficiency, to Save the Planet with “Nightwatchman 5.0“.
Automated PC shutdown: save money, energy and the environment
E1 provides an estimate of $50 of savings per year, per computer. Hmmm … E1: Making green by helping others go Green.