Did you know that PCs and computer monitors account for roughly 13 percent of the total electricity used each year by commercial enterprises? That statistic from the Department of Energy, which actually is pretty outdated at this point, is just one of the arguments used by power management software company Verdiem to make the case for its application, called Surveyor. The more important thing to contemplate is the fact that the growth in electricity consumption related to office equipment is growing at about twice the rate of the overall growth in electricity consumption.
I got interested in knowing more about Surveyor because the technology is starting to get wider scale distribution as part of an OEM relationship with Hewlett-Packard. Two of the company's latest desktops come with the software. According to Matt Heinz, senior director of marketing for the software company, last year its software had the following impact:
- $6 million in electricity cost savings
- greenhouse gas emission reductions of 37,912 metric tons of carbon dioxide (or, the equivalent of taking 8,206 passenger cars of the road for one year)
As I've written before, much of the high-level drama over reducing electricity consumption through green tech focuses on addressing the data center. In reality, however, Heinz points out that PCs contribute more about 40 percent of the estimated global carbon dioxide emissions, compared with about 23 percent for servers. As people are slowing becoming aware, desktops and notebooks even use power in a non-active state. And notebooks aren't the great power savers you'd think. If you've got yours attached to a monitor, it's using only five watts less power (about 70 watts) than a similar desktop configuration. Thanks for making me feel even more guilty, Matt!
Verdiem's Surveyor software is supposed to help take care of this problem, by allowing your IT department to control when systems are powered on or off -- and when exceptions should be made. For example, letting your team schedule an important patch deployment in the middle of the night when it won't interfere with anyone's working. Providing centralized control for power management is important because Verdiem figures that about 80 percent of all PC users mess with their power settings within the first two months of getting a new system. And, most people (60 percent) don't turn them off when they leave the office at night. The latter stat is a bit misleading because I know companies where that is a directive, so that certain maintenance tasks can be scheduled.
The company is working both with Intel, which is providing all sorts of sophisticated remote managed services offerings through technology like vPro, and with Microsoft, which has incorporated a number of new power management features into Vista. In fact, I'm wondering why Microsoft hasn't made a bigger deal out of the power management capabilities in Vista. Truth be told, it's chuck full utilities focused on this very thing. Here's a white paper with more detail.
Incidentally, on a related thread, HP and Intel have released two different reports that help IT organizations within the federal government quantify their potential power savings in either the data center or at the desktop/notebook level as a result of adopting certain green tech, such as dual-core processors and Energy Star 4.0 qualified equipment. An overview of the reports is explained here, and you can download a copy of one of the reports complete with stats that suggest close to $200 million of savings in the first year alone attributable to green data center tech.
Finally, here's another link (this one sponsored by Verdiem), where you can get more information about how various power management technologies can change your company's electricity consumption profile.