Turning off PCs during periods of inactivity can save companies a substantial sum. In fact, Energy Star estimates organizations can save from $25 to $75 per PC per year with PC power management. Those savings can add up quickly. According to a recent report by Forrester titled "How Much Money Are Your Idle PCs Wasting?" PC power management is helping General Electric and Dell boast savings of $2.5 million and $1.8 million per year, respectively. That also results in a substantial reduction in CO2 emissions.
So why is there hesitancy at some organizations to implement PC power management, given that the payback is easy to calculate? Perhaps some companies are being swayed by myths about PC power management. Forrester outlines five such myths in its report.
Myth No. 1: The power used turning my PC on negates any benefits of turning it off. Forrester debunks this myth as follows: The average desktop draws 89 watts per hour. If it's left on overnight for 16 hours, it consumes 1.42kW. It's impossible for the power surge that occurs when powering on a PC to rival that figure: "You would be drawing energy at a rate of 17 kWh -- the equivalent of 44 HP DL580 servers at 100 percent utilization. Moreover, the average US wall outlet can only provide 1.8 kW of draw, which is about one-tenth of what the power surge would require."
Myth No. 2: My screen saver is saving me energy. Though at times entertaining and whimsical, screen savers aren't power savers. As the report notes, "Certain graphics-intensive screen savers can cause the computer to burn twice as much energy," according to the EPA's Energy Star Program. A screen saver displaying moving images consumes just as much electricity as an active PC. A blank screen saver is slightly better, but most screen savers don't save energy unless they actually turn off the screen, or in the case of laptops, turn off the backlight. In short, it's better to place PCs in a lower power state than it is to run a screen saver.