Survey: Companies waste big money keeping PCs powered on

PC power management, moving to laptops would reduce waste

Enterprises with 10,000 desktop workstations waste $1.26 million in energy costs annually, according to a recent survey conducted by Enterprise Management Associates (EMA). Contributing to this waste is the fact that companies aren't taking advantage of PC power management.

[ For more on controlling PC power management, please read "When PCs don't snooze, you lose." ]

According to the survey, 69 percent of respondents said they use more than one workstation; 24 percent stated that they keep their stations powered on 100 percent of the time. That's a huge contributor to the waste problem.

According to the survey, desktops are kept on during 43 percent of total nonwork hours, including evenings and weekends, meaning the machines are operating yet unused for more than 55 hours a week. This equates to an unnecessary, additional annual electricity cost of more than $73 per desktop, which already consumes nearly $150 each year.

To maximize energy savings, the EPA recommends setting computers to enter system standby after 30 to 60 minutes and monitors to enter sleep mode after 5 to 20 minutes. In addition, reducing the number of workstations for each employee would not only decrease power costs, but hardware costs, application costs and maintenance costs as well.

Moreover, converting to laptop use could also be beneficial, as the average annual cost for laptop power consumption is only around $23, which is 16 percent of the energy cost of a desktop. Deploying docking stations for laptops would eliminate redundant desktops. Transitioning to lower-power thin clients is also an option.

[ Learn more about the energy-saving advantages of thin clients by reading "Thinking green? Think thin." ]