Power conservation body starts new appeal

Ensuring staff switch off PCs after work can reduce annual energy costs by more than $8500 per 1000m2 of office space, according to the government-run Energy Efficiency & Conservation Authority (EECA). However, getting staff to switch off their PCs can be a battle, so the EECA hopes to persuade businesses to activate the Energy-Star automatic power-down feature which is available on many PCs.

Ensuring staff switch off PCs after work can reduce annual energy costs by more than $8500 per 1000m2 of office space, according to the government-run Energy Efficiency & Conservation Authority (EECA).

However, getting staff to switch off their PCs can be a battle, so the EECA hopes to persuade businesses to activate the Energy-Star automatic power-down feature which is available on many PCs. More than 400 IT managers throughout New Zealand have been sent leaflets on how to use EnergyStar power-down. EnergyStar is a voluntary programme run by the US Environmental Protection Agency to promote energy-efficient office equipment.

The EnergyStar campaign is a follow-up to last year’s Switch Off campaign which urged users to switch off their machines at the end of the day. A total of 406 companies that responded to a survey at the end of the Switch Off campaign reported an increase in switch-off rates from 43% to 74%, saving $4.6 million a year in energy costs, says campaign organiser Wendy Bradley.

She says EnergyStar utilities are now available as a standard specification in most PCs and other office equipment.

“However, often the feature is not activated, either because IT managers don’t know about it, or because traditionally there have been difficulties experienced when it was activated.”

A new report, “Implementing Energy-Star Features on Network Computer Equipment”, outlines the issues that need to be considered by IT or network administrators as they upgrade networks.

The report says that, in the past, implementing the EnergyStar features on computers connected to a LAN presented a number of problems, including application errors, complex computations appearing to take longer if the processor clocking speed slows down in sleep mode, losing the network connection (causing printing and mail problems) and giving users a perception of hardware faults (screen keeps blacking out).

According to the EECA, these problems should be resolved as EnergyStar--accredited computer vendors are now committed to supplying machines with the EnergyStar features already set up for standalone or network operation.

EECA recommends that businesses buy only office equipment on which the power-down feature has been activated by the supplier.

A copy of the full report can be obtained from The Office Equipment Programme Manager, Energy Efficiency & Conservation Authority, PO Box 388, Wellington.

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