How to use less energy in your office

How to use less energy in your office

Turning off your computers and monitors at the end of a hard day’s work can reduce costs and help the environment

ARN has joined forces with Computers Off Australia to bring you an energy savings calculator that shows what you can do in the office to reduce your power consumption and save money.

Our collective goal is to help individuals and corporations to step up and take responsibility to reduce the amount of CO2 emissions produced by non-mission critical PCs left on within organisations' networks.

Computers Off has set itself the goal of reducing the amount of CO2 emissions produced by desktop and laptop computers by 500,000 tons and save Australian individuals and companies collectively more than $80 million in electricity costs over the coming 12 months.

As such, ARN is happy to announce it will also host the Computers Off Energy Savings Calculator to support this worthy goal. And to show how it works we evaluated the ARN editorial team’s own PC usage.

Using the ‘advanced calculator’ option from the Computers Off Energy Savings Calculator we discovered an organisation of a similar size could easily save $410 a year through power management.

How did we get to this figure? First we entered the length of a working day. As tempting as it was to put in “18 hours,” nine is closer to the truth. Then we entered number of working days – five.

Next came the number of monitors and computer boxes. We each have one, so the overall ARN editorial team comes to seven boxes and eight monitors – the eighth monitor is for our greedy graphics designer.

Below the calculator is a series of instructions to generate rough estimates for power usage. These estimates tell us to assume 34 watts per monitor, as we use flat panel monitors, and 57 watts for each box. The same instructions tell us to assume three watts for equipment in sleep mode.

Following this is the percentage of units that are turned off after work. This is an interesting one for us at ARN. Being the green conscious journalists that we are we all turn our computers off when we leave the office, so it’s 100 per cent – much higher than the default suggested by the calculator.

On the other hand, our computers are typically not at sleep during a typical work day, and a rough estimate would have that percentage closer to 10 per cent than the recommended 58 per cent figure suggested by the calculator.

So that ends our side of the calculator input. How did we go? Well, by adopting power management, the calculator tells us that we can save almost $18 a year - and save the environment 210 pounds of CO2.

It might not sound like much but if we leave the percentage time for computer use and switch-off at its default levels, the power savings available through power management comes out at $410. That is a nice chunk of change for any SMB. So there are some considerable savings that can be made through simple power management techniques.

Imagine applying the same philosophy to an entire organisation with hundreds of seats, monitors and boxes?

When we expanded our scenario out to cover the approximate number of monitors and boxes (48 in total) within IDG Communications – our parent company – the savings available through power management come to $2457 per year, assuming we use the default values for switch off and computer use.

How about your office? How much could you save by adopting a better power management strategy by switching off your computers and monitors at night? Try the Computers Off Energy Savings Calculator and let us know.

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Tags green ITcomputers off australiacarbon emissionsenergy savings calculatorsustainable IT

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