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PC Power Management Cuts Costs

Turning off and unplugging employees' computers during non-business hours can reduce costs by $6,500 a year, a Gartner report suggests.

Antone Gonsalves

February 9, 2009

2 Min Read

Organizations with 2,500 PCs can cut electricity costs by more than $43,000 a year through the use of power management technology, a research firm said Monday.

In addition, turning off and unplugging employees' computers during non-business hours can reduce costs by another $6,500 a year, Gartner said. However, there is a trade-off with employee productivity in turning off computers, because updates will need to be carried out during working hours.

"IT organizations should recognize that the greatest savings come from employing power management features," Gartner analyst Federica Troni said in a statement. "They should investigate the power management capabilities of their PC life-cycle management tools and PC power management point solutions to implement these policies and to better support management activities."

Gartner has created a model to assess the impact of different variables on an organization's total PC power use. The model calculates the power consumption for desktops, notebooks, and associated monitors during the workday and after hours, and includes a number of common assumptions: The organization has 2,500 employees, the ratio of PC to employees is one-to-one, employees work eight-hour business days 230 days a year, and the PCs are active during working hours 70% of the time. The power calculation assumes a cost of 10 cents for one kilowatt-hour.

Using its model, Gartner believes an organization that uses power management tools well can save $43,300 a year over a similar unmanaged environment. Excluding power consumed when laptops are used off the organization's premises, then the savings is calculated to be $27,500 annually.

"Undoubtedly with proper policies in place, substantial power and cost savings can be achieved without an impact on user productivity," Troni said. "Unplugging machines brings further reductions in power and additional cost savings, compared with a well-managed environment; however, we believe that implementing such policies is impractical, and is likely to obstruct productivity because updates can't easily be performed after hours."

The full Gartner report, entitled "PC Power Management Activation Leads To Significant Power And Cost Savings," is available on the firm's Web site.

Want to hear more about green IT on-demand? InformationWeek is hosting a virtual event on this topic Feb. 26. Find out more (registration required).

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