Office equipment, computers, and appliances account for 17% of energy use at a typical university, according to the U.S. Department of Energy1. In comparison to other institutional and commercial buildings, laboratories have unusually high plug loads — the energy required to run equipment such as servers, centrifuges, and spectroscopes2. In fact, research labs consume 5 to 10 times more energy than an office building2. Unplugging equipment that is not in use and utilizing the energy savings settings can go a long way in reducing energy demand. Some suggestions for curbing our energy usage related to office equipment and laboratory equipment are listed below.
Use the “sleep mode” and “hibernate” settings on computers and monitors. If you need assistance on establishing sleep mode settings for computers and monitors, contact your LAN Manager.
Did you know...a computer in “sleep” mode or “hibernate” mode typically consumes less than 10% of its typical operating power consumption3?
Turning off your computer saves even more energy. Click here to read more about when it’s best to just power down. Even though there is a small surge in energy when a computer starts up, it’s still worth it3.
Furthermore, today’s computers are actually designed to withstand frequent shut-downs. Using energy savings settings and turning computers off extends the life of the computer4. If you are not allowed to turn off your computer, then turn off the monitor! Monitors can consume 30% of the energy from a typical system. An LCD monitor uses 30% less energy than an old-fashioned CRT monitor5.
Enabling sleep mode features for a monitor is just as important. The Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) estimates that a facility can expect to save 2,000 kilowatts of electricity per year for every 10 monitors that enable its sleep mode features6. That same amount of energy could provide power to a home in Nashville for six weeks7.
Unplug electronics when not in use. TVs, DVD players, entertainment systems, and similar devices draw power around the clock. See public service announcements on this topic from ABC News and Get Connected TV.
Utilize sleep mode settings for printers, copiers, and fax machines as well. Similar energy saving features (and misconceptions) surround computers and office equipment alike. Today’s imaging devices are designed to accommodate sleep mode settings and shut-downs, and using energy savings settings (along with turning machines off when they are not in use) extends the life of the device8. Even though there is a small surge in energy when an imaging device starts up, these practices save energy8.
Using the double-sided printing feature on EnergyStar-rated printers and copiers saves energy and reduces paper use significantly9. Even if your imaging equipment isn’t EnergyStar-rated, double-sided printing is still worth doing! It takes 10 times more energy to make a piece of paper than it does to copy an image to it9.
Also, use the automatic paper feeder on copiers and printers instead of the manual feed tray (which uses more energy)10. And make sure that the copier is properly sized for your area’s workload. A mid-volume printer can use 70% more energy than a small volume copier. Conversely, a mid-volume printer uses less energy than several small printers10. Link printers and copiers to a network and save electricity!
Energy conservation in research areas is a priority to Merck & Company, one of the largest research entities in the world. Watch this video on how Merck is reducing energy use in their research facilities.
If Vanderbilt decreases its power demand for equipment by 15%, it would avoid consuming over 1.5 megawatt-hours of electricity a day on peak days!But what does this mean?
That's the same amount of electricity consumed by an 35 average-sized homes in Nashville in a day.
As noted above, research labs consume 5 to 10 times more energy than an office building2, so the opportunity for energy savings in research areas is tremendous!Check The Math
17% of power for equipment x 60 megawatt-hours of consumption per day = 10.2
15% of 10.2 megawatts = 1.53 megawatts
Energy consumption of one average house in Nashville for a day = 0.043 megawatt-hours7
1 U.S. Department of Energy, Energy Efficiency and Renewable Energy Office, Building Technologies Program. “University Buildings”, 01/27/06.
2 U.S. Environmental Protection Agency, Labs21 Program, “An Introduction to Low Energy Design”, August 2000.
3 U.S. Department of Energy, Energy Efficiency and Renewable Energy Office, “A Consumer’s Guide to Energy Efficiency and Renewable Energy: When to Turn Off Computers”, 07/22/08.
4 Energy Star™ Podcast No. 4.0, “Computers”, 10/25/07.
5 Dell Computers web page "Frequently Asked Questions about Dell and the Environment", September 2003.
6 Energy Star™ web page “Sleep in Good: For Computer Monitors and Your Bottom Line”, September 2003.
7 Nashville Electric Service web page “Residential Rates”, 2008 .
8 Energy Star™ Podcast No. 4.1, “Imaging Equipment”, 10/25/07.
9 Federal Electronics Challenge web page “Energy
Conservation with Energy Star”, 05/26/06.
10 Eugene (Oregon) Water & Electric Board web page “Be an Energy Sleuth at Work”, Spring 2001.