Report From 1E and the Alliance to Save Energy Finds That Organizations Waste Billions of Dollars Running Idle Computers

Release Date: Thursday, March 26, 2009

2009 PC Energy Report Quantifies Financial and Carbon Savings for Multi-Billion Dollar PC Power Waste Problem in the US, UK and Germany

New York, NY – March 25, 2009 – According to an international study released today by software company 1E and the Alliance to Save Energy, nearly half of US workers who use a PC at their job do not typically shut down their computer at night1. The 2009 PC Energy Report, which examines workplace PC power consumption in the US, UK and Germany, found that US organizations waste $2.8 billion a year to power 108 million unused machines. In 2009, these unused PCs are expected to emit approximately 20 million tons of carbon dioxide emissions, roughly the equivalent impact of 4 million cars.

1E and the Alliance to Save Energy commissioned Harris Interactive® to conduct the survey to raise awareness of a pervasive and damaging energy problem that can be quickly alleviated by simple, non-intrusive measures.

"Employers today have a golden opportunity to demonstrate their environmental and financial leadership by taking a few simple, energy-saving measures, like setting up processes to power down PCs," said Sumir Karayi, chief executive officer, 1E. "A computer uses energy even when it appears to be idle. Shutting down PCs when not in use will help businesses to significantly reduce costs while preventing tons of CO2 from being emitted into our atmosphere."

Green IT Practices Save Green

According to Gartner, every year the information and telecommunications technology industry generates 2% of the world’s carbon emissions – the same as a year’s worth of air traffic. Moreover, PCs and monitors account for 39% of these emissions, equivalent to the emissions of approximately 46 million cars.

"When examined individually, PCs may not appear to be the biggest energy hog in the IT environment, but when considering the sheer volume of PCs in the world – Gartner estimates more than 1 billion – the energy and carbon implications are staggering," added Mr. Karayi.

In fact, worldwide PC shut-down for just one night would save enough energy to light New York City’s Empire State Building – inside and out – for more than 30 years.

Government and utility companies alike have recognized the benefits of shutting down PCs when not in use. In fact, in the US, all federal agencies are required to activate power management settings. Washington and Texas have enacted legislation that requires a power management plan to power down state agency PCs. Select utility companies around the nation offer rebates as incentives for organizations that use power management software.

An examination of user behavior

Almost half of the employees in each country surveyed2(49% in the US, 48% in the UK and 43% in Germany) don’t always power down for the following reasons:

  • "it takes too long"
  • "I forget"
  • "to enable overnight software updates from the main server"
  • "it’s company or IT policy to leave it on"
  • "I access my PC remotely"

In terms of national characteristics, the report found that US employees were quite practical in their reasoning for powering down: 21 percent of those who ever power down do so for the proper functioning of their PC. UK employees were the most idealistic in their responses, with 27 percent saying they power down PCs to help the environment. German employees were most conscious about saving the employer’s money, with 18 percent citing their company’s electricity bill as a major factor for powering down.

The survey also found that most employed adults who use a PC at work believe that their companies should be doing more to reduce their power consumption (63 percent in the US, 67 percent in the UK and 58 percent in Germany). In fact, a significant amount of workers believe that their companies should be doing much more to reduce power consumption in the workplace (30 percent in the UK, 24 percent in the US and 22 percent in Germany).

Savings for business

Powering down a fleet of PCs can reduce a machine’s energy use by 80 percent, allowing companies to save more than $36 per desktop PC.

"Powering down inactive PCs can provide a simple yet effective way for businesses to reduce overhead costs and environmental impact," said Kateri Callahan, president of the Alliance to Save Energy. "Now, more than ever, doing what’s good for the environment is good for business. The economic crisis and volatile energy prices make it even more imperative for businesses to save money by saving energy."

A copy of the full 2009 PC Energy Report, which includes real-world PC energy savings from Dell, AT&T and the U.K. government, can be downloaded at www.1E.com. The report is based on data resulting from two surveys conducted by leading market research firm Harris Interactive® on behalf of 1E and the Alliance to Save Energy.

About the Survey

The survey was conducted online within the United States, Germany and the UK by Harris Interactive on behalf of 1E and the Alliance Save Energy. In the US, a survey was conducted between September 4-8, 2008 among 2,112 US adults 18+, of whom 1,258 are employed and a follow-up survey was conducted between October 15-17, 2008 among 2,631 US adults 18+, of whom 1,717 are employed. In Germany, it was conducted between September 3-12, 2008 among 2,028 German adults 18+, of whom 1,432 are employed. In the UK, it was conducted between September 3-12, 2008 among 2,021 UK adults 18+, of whom 1,273 are employed. This online survey is not based on a probability sample and therefore no estimates of theoretical sampling error can be calculated. A full methodology, including weighting variables, is available.