Reducing Your Energy Consumption with Existing Equipment

IT equipment has developed a peculiar habit in a lot of people – we tend to want to keep it on and not turn it off. For many of us who are a little older, this comes from the days of mechanical hard drives and other moving parts, where there was a genuine concern that turning a device off and then on again could cause it to fail or reboot. But the IT Crowd were right though, the most effective way to save energy with existing equipment is to turn it off and then on again, particularly as most devices don’t have those mechanical moving components anymore.

For most schools, ICT assets are more convenient if left on as there isn’t a reboot period, or a risk of the device not being available at the start of a lesson when switched on again. However, approximately 35% of energy consumed by devices in schools happens when there are no pupils on-site at all. This out-of-hours usage can be managed and prevented by a careful regime of human intervention, software configuration, and additional monitors and switches.

It is worth looking at all your ICT provision and working out which pieces of equipment are more likely to be left on, and then making sure that there is sufficient signage and instruction to turn them off when not needed, and help users understand that turning them off won’t be detrimental. This is particularly the case with Audio Visual equipment such as screens or projectors, and desktop machines in ICT Suites. Remember also that standby mode still consumes power, and some devices only drop their consumption a relatively small amount during standby as they may be performing upgrades, monitoring for activity, or other things that keep the power consumption up.

It is also worthwhile taking time to determine those items of ICT provision can be configured to automatically shut down after a period of inactivity, or after a certain set time during the day. Increasingly equipment is becoming capable of interfacing with monitors and other devices that can intelligently determine if a room or area of the school is no longer occupied and instruct devices to shut down. This is increasingly the case with infrastructure where manufacturers are introducing ways to intelligently control the network and ensure that it is only keeping those areas switched on that need to be, and this is particularly important where more and more devices become powered over the network using Power over Ethernet (PoE).

More radically, it is also worth considering a design philosophy which encourages energy saving. For instance, moving to a cloud-based solution can mean the removal of servers and storage from site, and this can lead to fewer items requiring power out of hours as users do not need to access local assets remotely but access the same information in the cloud. Lowering energy can be relatively simple and effective, and it can also form a key principle for a sustainable strategy.

If you would like to learn more about reducing your ICT energy usage and costs, please contact our experienced team for advice and support on the best way to get a greener, more cost-efficient energy-saving ICT strategy for your school.