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Study: U.S. Companies waste $2.8 Billion Annually to Power Idle PCs

alliancelogoKey findings of the 2009 PC Energy Report, commissioned by 1E and the Alliance to Save Energy, reveal that nearly half of U.S. employees who use a PC at work don’t shut down their computers at the end of the day, wasting $2.8 billion every year powering 108 million unused PCs.

By shutting down computers each night, for example, a company with 10,000 PCs can save more than $165,000 a year in energy costs, according to the study. In the U.S. this translates into more than $1.72 billion and nearly 15 million tons of CO2 emissions.

Kateri Callahan, president of the Alliance to Save Energy, says powering down idle PCs can provide a way for businesses to reduce overhead costs and their environmental impact.

1E and the Alliance to Save Energy commissioned Harris Interactive to conduct two surveys in the U.S., U.K. and Germany to show how organizations can cut energy costs and reduce their carbon footprint by better understanding user behavior in the workplace.

Data collected between September and October 2008 reveals that more than one-third of employees in the U.K. (38 percent), 32 percent of U.S. employees and 17 percent of German employees who use a PC at work said they either have no idea what power scheme settings are, or how to change the power settings on their PCs.

The survey also reveals that U.S. employees power down to make sure their PCs work properly and to comply with company policy, not because they are interested in saving money. In addition, findings show that only 10 percent of U.S. respondents power down their computers at the end of the day because of the environment, compared to 27 percent of U.K. respondents.

Of these, more than nine in 10 power down their home PC at least sometimes when they have finished using it — 93 percent in the U.S., 96 percent in the U.K., and 96 percent in Germany, according to the report. A greater number of respondents in the U.K. (78 percent) and Germany (78 percent) are more likely than those in the U.S. (63 percent) to always power down their home PCs.

The survey also indicates that 63 percent of U.S. employees feel their companies should be doing more to reduce power consumption. In comparison, 67 percent of respondents in the U.K. and 58 percent in Germany believe their companies should be doing more. Click here to download the U.S. and U.K. reports.

Desktop workstations can be a serious power drain for big companies, too. Converting to laptops can help ease the energy usage.

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3 thoughts on “Study: U.S. Companies waste $2.8 Billion Annually to Power Idle PCs

  1. Most employees are instructed to NOT turn off their computers so that automatic updates (e.g. antivirus, software and operating system patches) can run at night so as to not affect their work during business hours. Since most new(er) computers have energy-saving modes, the actual energy “waste” is not as much as estimated.

  2. The 2009 PC energy report has one major flaw. Turning the PC off each night requires booting the software each day – not a trivial amount of time. Allowing only 2 minutes of time to start the PC 4 days a week will incur a labor cost of $20 billion for the 108 million PC’s that were mentioned in the report. Therefore businesses can save $2.8 billion in electricity if they are willing to lose an additional $18 billion in wages. That is calculated at an annual salary of $50,000 per year fully burdened with fringe benefits. IF it takes 10 minutes to start the PC and software the labor cost soars to over $100 billion!!!

  3. Sleep and hibernate are very effective solutions in office environments for users with a persistent relationship with the PC. It can, however, be very difficult for administrators to centrally configure power management. This makes it hard to enforce enterprise wide power and can lead to a high level of energy waste. Companies like 1E, Data Synergy and Verdiem provide software solutions that solve this problem. For instance Data Synergy’s (www.datasynergy.co.uk) PowerMAN product allows an administrator to remotely configure multiple power policies on a per-user, per-machine and even per-time basis. If necessary the policies can be enforced and, uniquely, the product includes a historical reporting feature that can measure success and highlight problems. The tool is proving very popular in larger organisations and in particular the public sector

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