More IT Energy Saving Tips

Consolidate Printers

Printer consolidation saves money by reducing the number of devices an organization's printer fleet, and by ensuring that the remaining devices are more cost effective to own and operate. Strategies include the elimination of inkjet or other high-cost printers, the sharing of workgroup printers, and the use of multi-function devices instead of individual printers, copiers, fax machines, and scanners. Most organizations can achieve a ratio of one device (typically a networked multifunction device) per 10 or more users. Benefits include lower costs for hardware, consumables (paper, ink, and toner), electricity, and maintenance.

If your organization still has non-networked printers in most offices or cubicles, or still makes wide use of stand-alone copiers, fax machines, and scanners, printer consolidation could save you a bundle. Representative savings run between 30 and 40 percent and can range as high as 60 percent.

Activate Sleep Settings on all Office Machines

Most printers, copiers, fax machines, scanners, and multifunction devices can automatically enter a low-powered sleep mode when inactive. Ask your service vendor to make sure your machines are configured to take full advantage of these features, or review the owner's manual and make the setting changes yourself.

Tip: If your devices aren't serviced by a vendor, making these changes can be a worthwhile project for a summer intern. While the steps necessary for enabling sleep modes varies widely by device manufacturer, detailed instructions for doing so are widely available on the internet.

Deploy "Smart" Power Strips

Consider using "smart" power strips to reduce the power consumed by task lighting, computer accessories, fans, space heaters, and other miscellaneous plug loads in cubicles and offices. Many electronic products continue to draw power from the wall even when they are powered off. Since it's not always practical to unplug these items whenever you leave your desk, "smart" power strips can effectively do so for you. There are three types of "smart" power strips:

  1. Timer-equipped. These power strips have outlets that are controlled by programmable timers. Devices plugged into them can be scheduled to automatically turn off or on at designated times of day or night.
  2. Occupancy sensing. Occupancy sensing power strips have outlets that are controlled by a motion detector. Devices plugged into them can automatically turn off or on in response to your physical presence, or after a user-defined period of time elapses (e.g., anywhere from 30 seconds to 60 minutes).
  3. Current sensing. These power strips can automatically turn several outlets off or on when they detect that a monitor (plugged into the "master outlet") either enters a low powered sleep mode, is turned off, or is turned on. Used in combination with monitor power management features, these power strips can turn just about any electric device off and on automatically.

Tip: Smart power strips are available from most electronics retailers, but it's also a good idea to check with your local utility. Many electric utilities offer smart power strips at a discount or rebate a portion of the retail price.