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Look Beyond Data Centers To Cut IT Energy Use

Data centers have become the darlings of the green IT movement, but many IT departments haven’t yet looked at the rest of the company’s IT equipment, Computerworld reports.

The magazine has put together five tips that could help companies cut emissions and save money.

1. Do an energy audit
If you audit a device with a typical usage pattern – like a laser printer – you can multiply the results across the total population to estimate total power consumption. When Farmer’s Almanac publisher Gieger Brothers did an initial power audit, it revealed computer equipment was consuming nearly as much power after hours as it was during the day.

2. Adopt and enforce power management
A laptop that uses 14 to 90 watts in full operation uses less than 1 watt in standby mode. Desktops consume even more, and a single CRT monitor may use upward of 90 watts. Unfortunately enhanced power management tools provided by system vendors aren’t even installed in the baseline system image of many corporate PCs. But that’s starting to change.

3. Dump those CRTs
Replacing CRTs with Energy Star-rated LCDs can save both energy and space – and the lower power consumption can significantly reduce cooling loads. Gwinnett Hospital System is already saving between $30,000 and $60,000 a year in electricity costs by replacing about 70 percent of its CRTs with LCD monitors and using automated power management tools.

4. Slim down the client
Many businesses, including Jenny Craig, are moving to a Terminal Services or Citrix Presentation Server setup, which enables them to use easily managed thin client PCs on the desktop. Jenny Craig’s system uses 90 percent less energy than the PCs it replaced.

5. Print more efficiently
Printers tend to be kept longer than PCs, but replacing units a few generations old with new, Energy Star-labeled models can cut energy costs by as much as 25 percent. An individual copier, printer and fax machine can consume 1,400 kWh of power annually, while a multifunction printerconsumes half that.

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2 thoughts on “Look Beyond Data Centers To Cut IT Energy Use

  1. This article is going in the right direction, and there are three points that can be added.
    1. Buy Energy Smart PCs: The EPA estimates that this will save $109 per year per PC.
    2. Buy PCs with robust power management settings: Power management settings not only save money, but make batteries last longer in notebook computers.
    3. Measuring energy use is hard, but worthwhile: Most companies use the manufacturer’s specs for power use, which is about all that is available. But there are calculators out there for PCs and servers in the data center.

  2. One further tip when purchasing replacements for old monitors or other equipment – purchase only those products registered at Silver or Gold levels in the EPEAT greener computer registry – at http://www.epeat.net .

    EPEAT stands for the Electronic Product Environmental Assessment Tool – an environmental rating system developed through an extensive stakeholder process supported by US EPA and formalized as the ANSI-approved Standard 1680 of the IEEE (Institute of Electrical and Electronic Engineers).

    To enter the EPEAT registry, products must meet Energy Star AND must contain fewer toxics and be easy to recycle responsibly at end of life, and all manufacturers registering products must demonstrate environmental responsibility by having environmental management systems in place at their facilties and providing regular corporate environmental reporting to the public.In all, porducts must meet 23 mandatory criteria to register at the entry level — EPEAT Bronze.

    To qualify for higher levels – Silver and Gold – registered products must also meet multiple combinations of the 28 optional environmental performance criteria.Suppliers can win additional points by reducing packaging, or making it from recycled content,or integrating recycled content into their product itself, or providing renewable energy options, or a host of other initiatives. For more, see http://www.epeat.net

    So why just address energy effiency when EPEAT lets you specify Energy Star PLUS other vitally important environmental criteria? Choose EPEAT products to ensure that your purchasing dollars both support energy efficiency and continue pushing the envelope on other environmental design and performance requirements for electronic products!

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