Computer Power Management saves £90k at Oxford Brookes University

Organisation involved:

Oxford Brookes University

Overview:

Computer power management can be difficult to implement, but Oxford Brookes found the right software solution and achieved £90,000 worth of savings with no perceivable impact to computer users.

Background:

In 2013 Oxford Brookes approached ‘Certero’ who are a computer power management software vendor. Having previously tried to deploy PC power management software, we were encouraged by this software solution as it was easily installed on an existing server and automatically deployed across some 5,000 computers active on our network.

We studied the savings by carrying out a silent deployment of the Certero PowerStudio software. The results showed us that £90,000 worth of electricity was being wasted each year by monitors being left on and computers left running needlessly overnight.

Solution:

Firstly we started by implementing power policies to computers in pooled computer rooms and lecture theatres – this primarily focused on powering down monitors after a defined period of inactivity. This saved about £35k per year. We saved the remaining £55k by putting computers that were not in use for over 45 minutes into ‘system standby’. This was successful trialed within the Department of Estates and Facilities before we deployed to all other directorates/faculties.

Outcomes and benefits delivered:

Once enabled the power settings of a computer can only be accessed by a small Certero PowerStudio application that sits in the system tray. This works well because computer users can use this to temporarily override the power policy on their computer (for example, if giving a presentation). Computer users can also use the Powerstudio application to look at their usage statistics to see how they are performing. This flexibility meant that only a small number of ‘mission critical’ computers where excluded from the roll-out (for example, computers used to operate security cameras).

Because Certero Powerstudio has a built in database of computer power use we can accurately define, measure and track the savings achieved.

Lessons learned/conclusion:

The silent deployment of the software caused no interruption to computer users and allowed us to quantify and monitor savings. Being able to silently deploy the software also made it very easy for Oxford Brookes to progress with the project – we knew that the system was easy to implement.

Throughout this process staff where engaged and given the option to ‘opt-out’ at any time, however only around 5% of computers are presently opted out. Many computer users do not even realise that the software is turning the monitor off, or has been putting the computer to sleep – they just accept it as normal functionality of their computers. There has been no requirement for pro-active guidance to users, it just simply works.

Contact for further information:

Gavin Hodgson, Oxford Brookes University

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