Businesses missing out on PC energy savings

IT hardware is one of the fastest-growing sources of business energy consumption, but many are overlooking the possible cost savings from PC power management tools, research firm Ovum has found.

In a new study it says PC power management (PCPM) solutions can cut the energy cost of computers by about 40%, but IT departments are refusing to use them for fear that they may disrupt core IT operations.

After assessing 11 PCPMs, Ovum says these can generate annual power savings of around $36 per PC, and associated reductions of 380kWh and 586 pounds of CO2 per PC per year.

“With the cost of electricity rising and increasing pressure on organisations to implement sustainability initiatives, PCPM solutions can be an effective way to reduce energy consumption, and therefore operating costs,” said Rhonda Ascierto, Ovum senior analyst and author of the report.

Although IT managers faced flat budgets and growing carbon-reduction requirements in 2011, many continued to forgo PCPM tools.

The general mistrust among IT departments over PCPM was misplaced, Ascierto said. None of the solutions reviewed by Ovum “disrupts maintenance or other IT processes.”

Lack of adoption could also be due to IT administrators’ inflated expectations of the effectiveness of desktops’ built-in power-saving technologies. However, these are mostly inadequate, “as they are largely unable to tackle ‘PC insomnia’, which occurs when a machine is idle yet unable to shut down or switch into a low-power mode.”

Businesses should consider power management solutions “as part of their broader business and sustainability strategies,” with a focus on solutions that deliver measurable and actionable results, Ascierto concludes.

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