We all might be guilty of it: leaving our computers or laptops on overnight. It may not seem like a significant use of power, especially when you are not using the computer; but, if it is plugged into an outlet, the computer is consuming watts, which could be put to better use somewhere else. In an effort to save energy, Santa Clara University Information Technology has recently implemented a solution: a software program funded by Silicon Valley Power, which is working in partnership SyAM Systems.
SyAM is a software agent that is installed on campus computers--Windows PC and Mac--which allows each computer to communicate with a central server managed by IT. When a system has been idle for 3 hours, the PCs go into “hibernation” mode and Macs go into “sleep” mode. On average, an in-use computer can consume 130-180 watts or more, while a computer in hibernation or sleep mode only consumes 2-4 watts. That’s approximately a 98% savings, and a huge difference! If a user does not shutdown the computer at the end of the day, the computer is placed into this low power mode and remains in this state all night until the user “wakes it up.” This has proved to generate substantial savings in energy.
The program started in April 2013, which resulted in approximately 20.5 MWh and $2,500 of savings that month alone. As more systems have been added, the monthly savings has grown to approximately 44 MWh and $5,000 as of December 2013. Since the program has been running, the University has saved the equivalent of 329 metric tons of CO2 emissions. Based on EPA statistics, that is the equivalent of removing approximately 64 cars from the road.
Keep in mind that in order to save the most energy, shut down your computer at the end of the day, and turn off the power strip or unplug the computer from the wall. It may take a couple minutes longer in the morning to boot up, but it is a worthwhile sacrifice. Santa Clara University has committed to Climate Neutrality by the end of 2015, and individual energy savings are a big part of reducing our campus' greenhouse gas emissions. Do your part for SCU by turning off and unplugging your computer. Learn more about this IT program and see the savings from the SyAm system per month.
Contributed by Kelsey Baker ‘14, Sustainability Intern, Communications