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Departments test power management settings to save electricity
Author: Campus Sustainability Office
Posted: January 10, 2012

Do you know how long your computer takes to sleep? Are you already using  settings to save energy?

PSU departments interested in participating in the Power Management Pilot should contact

A computer uses 200 watts of electricity per hour when in use, and only 20 watts when sleeping. Multiply this by all of the computers in offices across Portland State’s campus, and the potential energy savings is significant.

That’s why several PSU departments are participating in a pilot project to reduce the electricity consumed by computers and monitors when not in use. A collaboration between the Office of Information Technology (OIT) and Campus Sustainability Office, the pilot will assess the best ways to enable power management settings on network computers and monitors. These settings save energy by putting the computer and monitor to sleep after a certain period of inactivity. When a computer is in a sleep state, it is like pausing a DVD player—the computer immediately stops what it’s doing, maintains all open documents and programs, and is ready to start again as needed.

The results of the pilot will inform the process of enabling these settings across the entire campus. Participants will set their monitor to sleep after 15 minutes of inactivity, and computer sleeps after 20 minutes of inactivity. Computers used for public display or for remote desktop access will receive augmented settings, or not be affected.

Conserving electricity is an important part of reducing the University’s ecological footprint, as the burning of fossil fuels to produce electricity releases greenhouse gasses that contribute to climate change. This energy savings directly supports the goals of PSU’s Climate Action Plan. This plan charts the course for PSU to be carbon neutral by 2040 through targets such as reducing energy use per square foot to 25 percent below 2000 levels through demand management practices. Conserving electricity used by campus computers and monitors will also save University funds and promote PSU’s institutional sustainability mission.

Offices currently participating in the pilot include the Planning Sustainability & Real Estate department, the Institute for Sustainable Solutions, Community Environmental Services, and Transportation & Parking Services. Several departments have already completed successful power management pilots, including the Human Resources Department, Oregon Center for Career Development in Childhood Care & Education, and the National Policy Consensus Center. Users in some of these groups found increased security of desktop computers to be an added benefit of enabling power management settings.