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Saving energy one PC at a time

Posted on April 1, 2016

VCC has an energy-aware IT team that conserves energy using computer and monitor power-save modes.

We sometimes forget that our computers use energy. Hiding under our desks and quietly calculating, VCC’s computers and monitors emit over four tonnes of greenhouse gases (GHGs) into our atmosphere each year from the electricity they use. This means, VCC’s approximately 2,000 computers emit the same GHGs as burning 9.5 barrels of oil or burning 4,400 pounds of coal.

How IT is saving energy:

All of VCC’s computers have different settings that draw different amounts of power. While switched “on,” a computer and monitor together draw 115 Watts, while in “sleep” or “suspended” mode, the power draw drops to seven watts, and when “off,” both devices use next to no power.  Thanks to the work of our diligent IT team, all of VCC’s computers and monitors have an automated sleep and shutdown time tailored to the way the computer is used. For example, office monitors are turned off after 20 minutes of inactivity during work hours, and 10 minutes of inactivity during evenings and weekends. Student computer settings keep in mind patterns of use for students, and the fact that students often study on campus during the weekends.

The IT team continues to work with facilities and VCC’s energy manager, Prism Engineering’s Majid Pishavei, to take savings even further, with the goal to tune computer settings as close to actual usage as possible.

Quick facts: 

Since IT began managing computer and monitor power settings in 2010, VCC has saved:

  • 2,111,165 kWh of electricity (or 133 homes’ annual usage)
  • 1,502,281 kg of CO2 (or what 5 square km of forests sequester in a year)
  • $126,660 (or the cost of 230 brand new PCs)

Created with the support form BC Hydro’s Energy Manager program.
Savings calculations and case study prepared by Prism Engineering.