As the PC power management space is heats up, it’s quite fitting that today is “Power IT Down Day” – a participatory event put on by Hewlett-Packard, Citrix Systems, and Intel to encourage governments and businesses alike to reduce their IT-related energy consumption by powering down computers, monitors, and printers at the end of the day. Other recent examples also highlight the attention directed to the reducing energy consumption across PCs:

  • PCs are consuming more energy than data centers! The Climate Group’s June 2008 “SMART 2020” report estimated that in 2007, PCs and related peripherals consumed 41% of the information and communication technology’s global footprint – telecoms infrastructure, data centers, and printers consumed 37%, 14% and 8%, respectively.
  • Free PC power management offered by Microsoft and Verdiem. On August 8, 2008, Verdiem launched a free version its PC power management software called Edison. Verdiem and Microsoft are touting the software as a way for individual computers to play a role in the Climate Savers Computing Initiative, which aims to reduce the overall emissions from global IT by 54 million tons in the next two years.
  • U.S. federal government expedites PC power management. On August 12, 2008, the U.S. General Services Administration (GSA) announced a partnership with client management suite vendor, BigFix, to expedite PC power management through out the federal government. Through the GSA’s SmartBuy program, the federal government can deploy BigFix power management for $3 per year. The technology expects to save up to $40-50 per year per computer in electric power costs by shutting down computers during non-business hours.

So what are the financial benefits of PC power management? By turning off or at least powering down your PCs during periods of inactivity – such as at night or over the weekend – Energy Star estimates that firms can save anywhere between $25-$75 per PC per year. And this is backed up by high-profile case studies. For example, PC power management is helping Washington Mutual, General Electric, and Dell boast savings of $3m per year, $2.5m per year and $1.8m per year, respectively.

Forrester’s take: while the data center oftentimes receives much of the Green IT and energy-efficiency spot light, don’t forget about your PC environment. Build your business case for PC power management since the environmental and economic benefits may be substantial. This has been a hot topic for Forrester clients, so stay tuned for a more in-depth report.

By Doug Washburn

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