Wednesday, 23 December 2009

Companies can save money over Xmas by Switching off PC's and Printers

Leaving electrical equipment on over the 11 day Christmas break may costs companies in the UK around £110 million in wasted electricity - according to Make It Cheaper.

Jonathan Elliott, managing director of Make It Cheaper, commented: "You only have to feel the heat of a mobile phone charger to know that it's still sucking up electricity even when it's not attached to your phone.

"And leaving a PC monitor on all night wastes enough energy to microwave six cold turkey dinners. With most office equipment, off doesn't actually mean off anymore.

"As a business we care about people wasting money. Anecdotal evidence suggests that if people were not told to switch things off, they wouldn't get shut off. It is probably down to inertia, as most people are now working long hours and are dealing with terrible public transport, and therefore most people just want to get home.

"Some large companies are installing energy management systems to monitor who is leaving their computers on overnight. But in reality smaller businesses have got more important things to worry about than energy management systems. Our advice is it that it is a massive waste of money, so make sure someone is switching off your equipment. Don't turn off the heating, but instead turn the thermostat down. Everything that is not being used should be turned off completely."

Obviously you will need to leave the majority of your production servers and phone systems on - especially for webservices, faxes & voicemail and remote users who need access over the Christmas period. But there is no reason to leave desktops, printers, scanners and other peripherals on.

The last one to leave the office on Christmas eve should switch off all unnecessary equipment and save their business some money!

As a CIO at a company whose sole purpose is to save businesses money, I have to set an example and consider all possible options to save energy. I have the following recommendations:
  • You may want to consider power option settings in Group policy for standard desktop users.
  • You should consider using virtual servers rather than physical ones - we use VMWare Server 2 for many of our production servers at Make It Cheaper ( Blade servers are also much more efficient. Another benefit is cooler and more efficient servers mean the server room requires less air conditioning - saving more energy.
  • Use thin client applications and consider cloud based computing. We are developing thin client (browser based) in-house applications for Sales and Operations - this will in time allow us to move away from full desktop PC's to thin client desktops for all users - again saving energy (and money).
  • You should try and purchase equipment that features the ENERGY STAR eco-label as much as possible.
  • You should look at simple and cost effective products like ByeBye Standby ( - which allow you to switch off equipment using a remote control. Remember equipment on standby is still using energy.

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