This column is brought to you by 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 the global organization focused on reducing the energy consumption and carbon footprint of computing and communications equipment through power management and more energy efficient computing technologies, we’ve heard a lot reasons why PC power management isn’t always used at home or at the office. Some of the reasons are real and some are perceived. But as an organization, we take a look at every issue we hear about to help ensure that people and businesses can always realize the environmental and financial benefits of power management on PCs and networked computers.
In the late 90s and at the beginning of this decade people were often frustrated to find that power management really didn’t work that well. Often a computer put to “sleep” was slow to wake up and might or might not awake with everything actually working. If you were among the early users of power management who became frustrated with functionality issues, try using it again. You’ll find that virtually every problem associated with previous versions of PC power management has been successfully addressed in current generations of computer hardware and operating systems.
With drastic improvements in functionality, it’s safe to say that today’s energy saving systems are not your father’s PC power management. But as software apps continue to grow in number and complexity, our Computer Power Management Workgroup – with the help of our members and the global IT community – have identified instances where various applications may interfere with power management. For example, perhaps that great game you bought won’t let a computer suspend, or an anti-virus program may keep a computer awake, or maybe a recent software update is preventing hibernate from working.
We’ve got these issues covered as well. Earlier this year we launched the CSCI software and power management roundtable program to bring developers and system architects together with CSCI power management experts to collaboratively address the harmonization of software applications and power management. We held our first event at the IEEE Green Computing Conference in Orlando, and our second earlier this month in San Francisco in conjunction with the Intel Developer Forum. The events have been extremely productive, with discussions focused on best practices and proven design patterns for ensuring software applications and power management can always work together.
With functionality locked down and CSCI on the scene to make sure real and perceived glitches with software applications are addressed as quickly as possible, there is no reason why everyone shouldn’t be using PC power management. This is especially true when you look at the environmental and financial savings involved with power management. If one person were to use power management on just one PC, the savings in energy costs would be about 60 dollars a year. But the savings really add up in homes and offices with multiple computers.
If you’re at work now, take a look around and notice how many computers may be on needlessly. Maybe there’s one or two, or maybe there are hundreds, each increasing the company’s carbon footprint and energy costs by wasting energy. Now let’s look at those computers from the perspective of the person who pays the bills within the organization. Perhaps the bill-payer is a member of the finance team or the CFO. How would the use of power management on all of those unused computers influence the organization’s bottom line?
This is where CSCI is heading now. We’re looking at power management through the eyes of the CFO in order to help them answer the bottom line question. As the role of the CFO increasingly expands to include a greater focus on driving corporate-wide sustainability initiatives, CSCI brings an understanding of some best practices to the discussion, thanks to some of our member companies who have produced case studies on successful power management adoption in a variety of enterprise environments.
We’ll kick off our discussions with CFOs at the October 16 – 19th CFO Rising West Conference in San Diego and we’ll continue the conversation on a variety of fronts as CFOs and finance teams increasingly look to greener information and communication technologies (ICT) to help the environment and the bottom line.
About the author – George O. Goodman is the Executive Director of Climate Savers Computing Initiative. Follow and interact with Goodman on Twitter at @gogoodman.