Save Energy And The Planet One PC at a Time

This column is brought to you by the Climate Savers Computing Initiative, a nonprofit group of eco-conscious consumers, businesses and conservation organizations started by Google and Intel in 2007.

Author: George Goodman, Executive Director, Climate Savers Computing Initiative

As energy costs continue to rise and sustainability increasingly becomes a top priority, many of us are regularly on the look-out for new ways to save energy and help the environment.  One of the simplest ways to go green at home and at work is through the use of PC power management. It’s already loaded on your computer which means with just a few clicks and a couple minutes, you can be on your way to reducing CO2 emissions while significantly lowering your monthly electric bill.

As the 30 second “power down for the planet” video points out, you likely wouldn’t leave the house with your television on, and you wouldn’t keep your kitchen blender or food processor running when they weren’t being used. And you would probably never leave the shower running while you went to sleep. While we turn off water and appliances without even thinking about it, millions of people around the world waste an incredible amount of energy by leaving their computers on overnight and when they are not being used during the day.

CSCI Video

This is where Climate Savers Computing Initiative (CSCI) comes into the picture. CSCI is a member-driven international consortium focused on reducing the energy consumption and carbon footprint of computing and communications equipment. CSCI membership consists of global technology leaders, businesses, environmental organizations and people working together to contribute to a greener and more sustainable environment through the use of power management and the development and deployment of more energy efficient computing and communications technologies.

Power management places your computer, monitor, hard drives and other components into a low-power “sleep” mode after a period of inactivity that you determine. A simple touch of the mouse or keyboard “wakes” everything in seconds. Using power management can drive enormous environmental and financial benefits. When enabled PC power management can cut up to 60 dollars a year in energy costs from your electric bill while also eliminating approximately one half ton of green house gas emissions annually.

Now if the use of power management on one PC can save that much in energy costs, imagine the CO2 emissions that could be eliminated and the energy that could be saved if everyone used power management on their computers. Driving the wide scale adoption of power management is one of the goals of CSCI. And to help meet this goal, CSCI launched the ongoing “take the pledge” campaign which has already resulted in more than 10,000 eco-conscious people from around the world pledging to use power management and to select an energy efficient product for their next computing purchase.

As the use of power management grows in homes, businesses have also embraced computer power management and the deployment of more energy efficient technologies as an important component of their sustainability programs. This is keeping with the findings of a study released by Accenture and the UN in June which found that 93% of CEOs now see sustainability as critical to their company’s success, as well as a recent report by Ovum showing that the use of power management tools within organizations may double within the next two years.

With potentially thousands of PCs, workstations and servers within an organization, it probably isn’t surprising that enterprises implementing power management and more energy efficient computing technologies are realizing significant environmental and financial benefits. In fact, research has shown that CSCI and its partners have already helped decrease CO2 emissions from computing equipment by 32 million to 36 million metric tons, which is equal to more than $2 billion in annual energy savings!

CSCI – One Computer at a Time video

CSCI now has nearly 700 members and is growing as it leverages its measurable successes in PC and server energy efficiency and PC and server power management by moving full-speed-ahead to address energy efficiency across the entire network. This includes devices such as laptops, smartphones and tablets as well as the networks to which these devices connect. CSCI estimates that by focusing on improving energy efficiency across the entire computing spectrum, the global IT industry can offset 38 million metric tons of CO2 emissions annually by 2015. This is equal to $5 billion in energy cost savings.

The next time you’re thinking about how to lower the electricity bill — or how to take another step forward in going green at home or at the office — remember that we can all help the environment “one computer at a time” by implementing power management. But collectively we can go even further. So be sure to take the pledge to become part of the CSCI movement to reduce the energy consumed by computers. Or join the industry leaders who are driving sustainability through the development and deployment of greener and more energy efficient ICT by becoming a member of CSCI. You’ll be in good company and among leaders who are collaboratively driving the next generation of energy efficient computing.

About the author – George O. Goodman is the Executive Director of Climate Savers Computing Initiative. Follow and interact with Goodman on Twitter at @gogoodman.

1 Comment

  • Reply October 3, 2012

    Sarah Bradford

    Thanks George for the great initiative. I have been thinking about this issue and I actually ended up automating the power supply of the computers and servers of my office by installing some cool devices. You can buy some of these power strips from Amazon for less than $70 that will help you schedule a calendar. For example, if your office hour is 9-5, you can setup the power strip to turn on the computers at 8:45 AM and auto-shutdown at 5:15 PM during weekdays! This way you don’t have to go thru entire office manually checking 100s of computers to see if those were turned off by your employees. I found this cool power strip called PwrUSB that even checks if the file server hosted on our basement is hung or not thru a connected USB port and auto restart the machine.

    There are so many products that can help us save energy in our everyday lives – there is no excuse not trying to save precious energy and reduce our carbon footprint.

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