I can appreciate why companies don't pursue certain green-tech initiatives. A massive server virtualization and consolidation effort can be costly, complex, and time-consuming. Overhauling the datacenter to meet LEED (Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design) Gold standards and filling it with the newest, most energy-efficient IT and CRAC equipment isn't particularly practical. Similarly, replacing all your PCs and monitors with machines that meet EPEAT Gold standards -- meaning they're both energy efficient and built in an environmentally friendly manner -- might represent too costly and complicated an endeavor.
But there's one green tech initiative that I firmly believe every organization out there should embrace now: PC power management. Computers and monitors all over the world are left powered during non-working hours, wasting electricity. That directly affects the bottom line, as it means higher energy bills; it also means your organization has a larger carbon footprint. By loading machines with software and adjusting policies, organizations can curb that waste, thus saving money. It seems pretty straightforward. Why, then, don't more organizations do it?
[ Learn more about the basics of PC power management. ]
Recent survey results from Forrester provide some answers. The research company asked 83 IT professionals what the top barriers were to implementing PC power management.
The ROI question
Among the barriers, not surprisingly, was the question of cost and ROI. Some IT admins weren't convinced that the energy saved from putting PCs and monitors to sleep during off-hours would make up for the cost of PC power management software. In reality, though, the savings can, indeed, be quite compelling. All you need to do is crunch a few numbers.
Consider that keeping a computer on when it's not in use can cost between $25 and $75 per year in wasted electricity. (I've actually seen numbers higher than $75; it depends on numerous factors, including model of machine and monitor, energy costs, and hours left on.) We can average that out to $50. Now let's say PC power management software costs $33 per license for the first year and $10 per year afterward. (Those are the figures I've seen for a package from Autonomic Software.) In this scenario, if you have 1,000 PCs, you could save $17,000 the first year and $40,000 each year thereafter. The savings for the first year could be higher if your local utility offers incentives for employing PC power management.