Reducing energy consumption on staff PCs

PC energy use at Oxford University 

Desktop PCs have become significantly more energy-efficient since 'Green IT' made it into the top 20 issues for higher education CIOs in 2005. Despite these advances, power monitoring across UAS and GLAM suggests that we’re still wasting around 250MWh of electricity each year by leaving PCs on when they’re not in use. This costs the University, and you, around £70,000 and creates greenhouse gas emissions equivalent to over 50 tonnes of carbon dioxide – that’s the same as 1 million cups of tea!

How we are helping

IT Services activates energy-saving features on all new PCs that we manage. By default, PCs will automatically save power during less intensive periods such as when you’re reading email or writing a document.

Desktop PCs and plugged-in laptops will automatically turn the screen off after 10 minutes of inactivity, and will go into sleep/low power standby if inactive for more than 4 hours. Laptops running on battery will do both after 4 minutes to preserve charge.

However, we’ve noticed that these energy-saving settings have been de-activated on a lot of PCs...

Three easy actions for you

Here are 3 things you can do right now if you are a staff PC user in UAS or GLAM:

  1. Check power saving settings on your staff PC - Select Start, then type 'power plan', select Choose a power plan, and select the Oxford Power Configuration. We are working to add an occasional notification on your PC if you don’t have this power plan selected – look out for the pop-up ('toaster') reminder.
  2. Shut down when you leave your PC - Whether you’re working in the office or from home, we recommend that you shut down your PC when you’re finished for the day. This avoids wasting even small amounts of electricity when your PC is not in use. It also helps ensure that you have the latest updates when you restart, improving security, reliability and performance.
  3. Print only when necessary, black-and-white, double-sided - We have configured black-and-white, double-sided printing by default on staff PCs. Where printing cannot be avoided, these settings reduce the associated environmental damage.

Working together, we can all contribute to minimising the environmental impact of our computer use, and we can save money too. Discover other ways you can be energy friendly.