Five Tips to Reduce IT Electricity Consumption

Sankaran Ganapathi

Computer World reported that AOL cut its energy bill by $5 million last year after unplugging half its servers--nearly 10,000 of them. Those figures might be difficult to relate to on a personal level, or even with your small firm, but they must raise some questions. How much did I spend on electricity last month? What?! How much less could it have been?

Our friends at Tips & Tricks HQ monitored the energy consumption of a desktop PC over the course of an average week and computed its contribution to the annual energy bill. It racked up $96.64 per year. That’s just one computer!

I know it’s absurd, but don’t panic. There are things that can be done. Here are 5 tips to reduce IT electricity consumption.

  1. Go computer shopping. If your computer is older than your car, it is probably time to upgrade. New computers are smaller and incorporate more efficient hardware, which both conserve energy.
     
  2. Save your screen with standby. Screensavers with colorful zigzag lines might have been appealing in 1995, but green is the only color that people care about these days. Setting your computer to standby after 20 minutes looks much better. Standby deactivates the monitor, hard drive and peripheral devices, but powers the memory so no work is lost.
     
  3. Not bright enough for you? Turning down monitor brightness saves energy and extends battery life in laptops.
     
  4. It’s OK to disconnect. Wi-fi and Bluetooth devices can be turned off when not in use. Do you really need wireless when flying coach or a cord can accomplish the same task?
     
  5. Take it to the cloud. Like AOL, it might be time to unplug those servers and take your network to the cloud, or at least reduce dependency on large, inefficient servers. Virtualization is one available option.

We can’t guarantee a $5 million reduction in your energy bill this year, but each of these tips will save green by being green. If you have any questions about reducing IT electricity consumption, feel free to contact us.