5 Steps to Taming the Power Hog

July 11, 2008 at 11:29 am Leave a comment

Americans rank as one of the most obese populaces in the world and it shows. It’s not just our shapes and sizes that make us one of the fattest group of people around (pun intended). Just look at the way most Americans live – huge houses, monsterous cars, and super-sized department stores. Even our computers are fat.

The average personal computer (PC or ‘fat client’) consumes approximately 80 watts per hour, not including the standard LCD (about 200Wh) or any peripherals (a basic laptop is only slightly better). Based on the power rates in my region, that equates to about $85 per year. Adding in a monitor and a small printer increases the cost to the tune of $350 per annum. For a small business this can mean big – often unnecessary – expenditures.

The best way to tame the power hog that is eating its way into your profits is to put it on a diet. Here are some steps you can take to improve your bottom line:

1. Switch from CRT to LCD

If your still using the antiquated cathode-ray monitors, dump recycle them and replace them with energy efficient LCD monitors. CRTs consume more than double the power of an LCD not to mention that LCDs generate less heat, thereby reducing the load on your cooling system. LCDs can be purchased for as little as $150 and will quickly recoup the purchase price.

2. Turn off unused equipment

Providing you aren’t running a business that operates around the clock, at the end of the business day, turn off any peripherals (monitors, printers, scanners, etc.). You can also shut down idle PCs as well. However, doing so may prevent them from obtaining anti-virus updates and patches.

3. Tweak your PCs for power savings

Many modern operating systems will allow you to customize your power settings to maximize efficiency. Blanking the display when it has been idle for 10 minutes is like putting spare change in your piggy bank. Hibernating a PC when it has been idle for an hour will put in a few nickels and dimes as well. Applications such as TweakXP can help take the guesswork out of the process.

4. Stop using unnecessary applications

Every application you use adds to the load on the computer. I know people that have their profile set to launch a dozen different applications the moment they log in. Launch applications only when they’re required and shut them down when no longer needed. Also, that Weatherbug icon that you see on your employee’s taskbar is slowly draining your bank account.

5. Consolidate

Start asking yourself, ‘Do I really need that?’. Does every employee need two monitors to work effectively? Does everyone need their own printer? Or, even better: ‘Does everyone need a PC?’. Both Sun and Wyse manufacture thin clients have empowered many businesses to improve their data consistency and security as well while consuming less than 1/10th of a standard PC… even when on the road.

Spending a few minutes reviewing your current IT infrastructure and employing some simple changes can reap rewards down the road. Not only can the changes reduce your annual expenses, but can set you in the direction of becoming a Certified Green Business, something environmentally conscious consumers look for when deciding where to do business.

By briansrapier

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Entry filed under: Energy, Information Technology, Tips, Uncategorized. Tags: , , , , , .

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