Reduce School Energy Costs With Automated Shut-Off of Computers, Electronics

Schools use a lot of electronic equipment – including computers, printers, copiers, networking gear, telephone systems, audio-visual equipment and data centers – yet few organizations know the total electricity consumption of their systems. A recent survey by the Green Technology Initiative found that more than one in five IT directors did not know whether machines were switched off at night, and a further 27 percent thought less than half of their equipment was being switched off.

For schools that want to conserve energy and reduce costs, the first item to tackle is desktop computers, many of which are left on 24 hours per day. As with any other electronic device, the simplest and quickest way to reduce energy consumption is to turn off equipment that isn’t in use. For organizations with large numbers of desktop computers, PC power management software provides actual data on performance and savings. In many states, electric companies offer rebates to offset the purchase cost of PC power management software, producing instant savings and carbon emissions reductions.

Since most people leave their computer on overnight, businesses and school districts are paying substantial amounts of their budgets on wasted electricity, even at non-peak rates. These needless costs accrue not only from the computers but also through building cooling costs.

Most information technology devices that are “off” still consume small amounts of electricity. Studies indicate that this power consumption accounts for 6 percent of total U.S. electricity use. Remotely managed power control devices are cost-effective solutions. Automated power management also reduces the risk of a security breach through systems left on after hours.

Power management software gives administrators the ability to schedule specific managed systems to remotely power on or off at specified times, seven days per week. All settings can be made across a large network within a couple of hours, saving power and the associated costs.

Such software helped Region 12 School District in Connecticut realize more than $25,000 per year in energy savings. “Our school district would rely on the employees to manually shut down every computer system at night and then power them on again each morning in order to save money and energy,” said Robert Giesen, business manager for Region 12 School District. “However, this was not efficient and inevitably many systems were forgotten and left on, at times machines were left on even over weeklong school breaks. We needed something with the ability to power systems off but without any user intervention. It helps us save energy while allowing us to configure exactly when we want systems to be powered off at night, seven days a week. So even on weekends or week-long school breaks we don’t need to worry about wasting our district energy budget.”

Potential savings from automated power management:

Number of PCs: 400

Energy Rate (per kilowatt-hour): $0.17

Total PC Wattage: 200

Current Daily Hours On: 24

Projected Daily Weekday Hours Off: 12

Projected Daily Weekend Hours Off: 24

Annual kWh Saved: 450,240

Total Annual Energy Savings:$76,541