January 6, 2022
By Ryan Fogle, Data Center Product and Marketing Manager, ENERGY STAR
Power Manage Your Way to Savings
Whether you are working in a clinic or a hospital, technology plays a key role in 21st century health care. But there is an energy cost to running all this equipment. Despite the importance of technology in your offices, these devices can sit idle for long periods of time. For example, a typical multi-function printer/copier may only be used about 5% of the time. Computers and monitors in certain office settings will sit idle during the night. Instances like these mean it is important to ensure that sleep settings are properly set up so you are not wasting energy and money. Two key areas to focus on are your imaging equipment and your computers and monitors.
There are numerous settings that can help you tune the sleep mode in your ENERGY STAR certified imaging equipment to work best for you. ENERGY STAR products are set to go to sleep after a certain period of time, generally between 15 minutes and an hour. However, you can be slightly more aggressive and really maximize your savings by setting the time to sleep at 10 minutes. In most office settings, 10 minutes is a sufficient amount of time to avoid disrupting workflow.
Other things that you can consider to save energy and money are:
- Printing two-sided whenever possible. ENERGY STAR printers are set up for automatic duplexing.
- Consider remanufactured imaging equipment. Remanufactured equipment has previously been used and made new again. It tends to be less expensive, but offers the same benefits as new ENERGY STAR certified imaging equipment.
- Only print what you need. 45% of paper that is printed by an office worker ends up in the trash or recycle bin. If you are looking for more information, take a look at the ENERGY STAR tips and tricks for imaging equipment.
Computers and Displays
Images of entire office spaces with computer monitors left on are generally a thing of the past, but misconceptions remain that lead some IT managers to turn off the power management features that come with every ENERGY STAR certified computer and display. The savings from these products can add up quickly when these features are left enabled. ENERGY STAR estimates that for an office with 400 employees, turning off power management on all devices could increase annual electricity costs by over $9,400 with no added value. To estimate the savings in your own office, ENERGY STAR provides an ENERGY STAR Power Management Savings Calculator to determine the energy savings potential.
Unfortunately, power management suffers from some associated myths, which date back to when computers needed to remain on (typically overnight) to receive security and firmware updates. Modern operating systems have built-in features that allow network administrators to wake systems from sleep to receive updates or allow users to access their systems remotely and then prompt the product to go back to sleep. There is simply no technical reason for disabling power management on products with modern operating systems.
If you are unsure about what your computer power management settings are or notice that your computer is not going to sleep as expected, then it is easy to check and set a lower power mode. ENERGY STAR offers information on how to change the power settings for a variety of operating systems. If your organization doesn’t allow you to change your settings, then you will need to contact your IT administrator to ask about their power management policy. Remember, you can use the ENERGY STAR calculator to show the savings your organization is missing out on!
A final tip to consider is adjusting the brightness of your computer monitor. Many monitors display their best image quality at medium brightness settings. Reducing brightness below the maximum setting can also help ease eye strain during long periods of use. So consider the brightness setting of your monitor as it is the most impactful aspect of monitor energy use.