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We investigate energy consumption in university computer labs, in order to determine strategies for reducing energy costs without adversely affecting lab users. This research is part of a multi-stage project that incorporates data gathering, analysis, solution exploration, model development, and strategy implementation. In this paper, we report primarily on the first three stages, along with some discussion of strategy implementation. The initial data gathering was conducted at Abilene Christian University (ACU), across five computer labs, with over 100 computers surveyed. These computers have been used as a representative sample of computer configurations across the ACU campus, due to their near uniform hardware and software configurations according to the university’s IT policies and procedures. Based on our data collection, we compared the computers’ idle time with their actual usage time, and show that a large amount of energy is being unnecessarily wasted. With this data, we calculated the current energy usage of the surveyed computers, and then extrapolated our findings to the rest of the university based on ACU's computer lab equipment list. Simple strategies such as switching computers to sleep soon after class, running a campaign to switch off monitors, and waking the computers on LAN, are shown to substantially reduce energy waste. Across ACU, we estimate thousands of dollars per year in savings. Finally, we also discuss concerns and challenges related to the proposed strategies, and proffer some solutions to illustrate the feasibility of our recommendations.

Creative Commons License

Creative Commons License
This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 License.



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