People Play An Important Part

Power Efficiency Guide

Ultimate Guide to Power Efficiency

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People play an important role in power management. Their actions can bypass the power management timers or disable them entirely. The software controlling power management for a device is accessible to the device's operator. Companies installing ENERGY STAR compliant devices must consider the human factor in all energy efficiency programs.

Most organizations manage this as they do any other cultural change.

▲ Begin with a powerful executive sponsor.

▲ Inform everyone what will happen, and why.

▲ Engage representatives from around the company to advise employees about the installation, such as how long before a unit is moved to a Sleep state.

▲ Inform everyone before the change is made.

▲ Provide a process for someone to opt-out of power management.

Successfully implementing power management in an organization requires paying close attention to the people side of the issue. Not every computer is suitable for power management. Some are used to display the status of something or to monitor if something changes. Others must be available for remote access. The "P" in PC stands for personal, and many people take literally. Consequently, they become disturbed whenever someone adds something to their machine (such as mandatory timers for switching to sleep mode) without any way to override the change. After all, in their eyes, this new inconvenience benefits someone far away and not them (since they likely do not pay the electric bill).

Each exception should be approved by the IT staff on an individual basis. (The higher the executive that must grant the approval, the fewer the number of requests that will be received.)

Computers are shipped with a 30-minute delay before switching to sleep mode, and a 15-minute timer before they command monitors to switch to sleep mode. Both of these settings can be changed by the unit's operator. (On a computer using the Windows operating system, this is found under the Power Options on the Control Panel.)


Computers shipped to home users are delivered with the Wake On LAN feature disabled. Machines sold to commercial users (usually sold in bulk or built to a special configuration) are shipped with Wake On LAN enabled.

Computers sold to consumers can easily be configured to bypass all of the power management features. ENERGY STAR addresses this by requir ing that the equipment manufacturer provide information to the buyer about the value of allowing equipment to switch to sleep mode automatically. However, they must also provide information on the timer settings and how to turn them off.

Equipment delivered to commercial operations is a different matter. These devices are often centrally managed for the benefit of the company. Once the operating system configuration settings are loaded, they are locked so that only the system administrator can change them. This includes the power savings options.

However, ENERGY STAR compliant computers sold to a commercial customer with a custom software image may no longer meet ENERGY STAR criteria if the customer image changes or eliminates the settings.

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