Study: U.S. Companies waste $2.8 Billion Annually to Power Idle PCs

by | Mar 25, 2009

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alliancelogoKey findings of the 2009 PC Energy Report, commissioned by 1E and the Alliance to Save Energy, reveal that nearly half of U.S. employees who use a PC at work don’t shut down their computers at the end of the day, wasting $2.8 billion every year powering 108 million unused PCs.

By shutting down computers each night, for example, a company with 10,000 PCs can save more than $165,000 a year in energy costs, according to the study. In the U.S. this translates into more than $1.72 billion and nearly 15 million tons of CO2 emissions.

Kateri Callahan, president of the Alliance to Save Energy, says powering down idle PCs can provide a way for businesses to reduce overhead costs and their environmental impact.

1E and the Alliance to Save Energy commissioned Harris Interactive to conduct two surveys in the U.S., U.K. and Germany to show how organizations can cut energy costs and reduce their carbon footprint by better understanding user behavior in the workplace.

Data collected between September and October 2008 reveals that more than one-third of employees in the U.K. (38 percent), 32 percent of U.S. employees and 17 percent of German employees who use a PC at work said they either have no idea what power scheme settings are, or how to change the power settings on their PCs.

The survey also reveals that U.S. employees power down to make sure their PCs work properly and to comply with company policy, not because they are interested in saving money. In addition, findings show that only 10 percent of U.S. respondents power down their computers at the end of the day because of the environment, compared to 27 percent of U.K. respondents.

Of these, more than nine in 10 power down their home PC at least sometimes when they have finished using it — 93 percent in the U.S., 96 percent in the U.K., and 96 percent in Germany, according to the report. A greater number of respondents in the U.K. (78 percent) and Germany (78 percent) are more likely than those in the U.S. (63 percent) to always power down their home PCs.

The survey also indicates that 63 percent of U.S. employees feel their companies should be doing more to reduce power consumption. In comparison, 67 percent of respondents in the U.K. and 58 percent in Germany believe their companies should be doing more. Click here to download the U.S. and U.K. reports.

Desktop workstations can be a serious power drain for big companies, too. Converting to laptops can help ease the energy usage.

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