I don’t consider myself an environmentalist wacko, but I am serious about conserving energy for my planet and saving money for my employer. After I wrote “Quit wasting paper,” several TechRepublic members called me a “tree hugger” because I pointed out how much paper gets wasted due to unnecessary print jobs. (Among my suggestions to conserve paper: Establish a no-waste policy and police the way your coworkers use company printers.)

This week, I challenge CIOs and IT managers everywhere to lead the charge (bad pun intended) to conserve electricity. You can make a difference by establishing a policy about turning off lights and computers and then training users to abide that policy.
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Do the light thing
I was an undergraduate living in a dormitory during the energy crisis of the mid-1970s. I chaired a student committee that looked for ways to lower the amount of electricity used in the dorms. We came up with a simple solution that ultimately lowered the university’s electric bill by nearly 19 percent: We turned off (disconnected) half of the overhead lights in every hallway in every dorm. (We also tried encouraging people to use their stereos and hair dryers less often, but you can’t win ‘em all.)

As a self-respecting corporate citizen, you have an obligation to help your company save money in every way you can. Since computers get blamed for using so much electric power, your IT department is the perfect choice to take the initiative to establish and promote a policy of energy conservation.

Here are some sample bullet points for your conservation campaign:

  • Turn off overhead lights when leaving each night.
  • Turn off the lights in your network communication center.
  • Turn off your overhead bin lights or desktop lights.
  • Turn off individual heating/cooling units.
  • Turn off radios, desk lamps, and lava lamps.
  • Turn off your printer (if you have one in your office).
  • Turn off your computer.

Some of you may quibble over the need to turn off your computer, arguing that it takes more energy to power up the thing than it does to let it stay on all the time. According to the 1999 article, To Save Energy, Turn Off Computers, published on the Web site of Oregon’s Eugene Water & Electric Board (EWEB), that myth was once true. Today, however, the smart way to lower utility costs is to power down desktop computers “at the close of business, over lunch breaks, and during long meetings.”
If you’ve established a power conservation policy in your shop (or if you’re planning to do so), we want to hear from you. Please post a note below or follow this link to write to Jeff.

Read More from Jeff Davis at TechRepublic
Check out these other articles, columns, and downloads from Jeff Davis.
“Quit wasting paper”
“What’s the IT prime directive?”
“Designing a foolproof data entry form in Excel”