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Tuesday, May 19, 2009

Chippewa Falls school district saves computer energy

From a report published by Focus on Energy:

Computers waste a lot of electricity if they remain turned on when not in use. As the Chippewa Falls Area School District recently discovered, the cost savings from reducing computer-related energy use can make a real difference. The district began turning computers and monitors off during evenings and weekends and saw an immediate budgetary impact. The cost reduction from this one energy saving measure saved a staff position that would have been eliminated due to budget cuts.

“We always tell our schools they can cut energy costs in a lot of different ways,” said Charlie Schneider, program manager for the Focus on Energy Schools Program. “Many steps are small, but they can really add up.” Focus on Energy’s Schools Program maintains an on-line maintenance listserv for over 100 school building and grounds managers around Wisconsin. When participants have a good idea or a question about any maintenance issue, including energy efficiency, they share it with colleagues by posting it to the listserv. Recently, a Focus on Energy staff member alerted participants about a free software program created by the U.S. Department of Energy (DOE). This program automatically puts networked computer monitors “to sleep” when they are not being used.

Bob Severson, the director of buildings and grounds at Chippewa Falls Area School District saw this message and was intrigued by the energy savings potential. His district currently owns and operates 1,150 computers. And he knew that his schools, like many around Wisconsin, do not have a formal system for putting computers into “sleep” mode or turning them on and off during evenings and weekends. . . .

The energy savings are real: this one energy saving step will save the district approximately $30,000 each year. And, at a recent school board meeting where difficult budget issues were being decided, it became clear that this unexpected reduction in energy costs will help offset a proposed staff cut.

For more information about computer use in schools, call Focus on Energy at 800.762.7077.

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