Powering Idle Equipment

The easiest waste to stop is the powering of equipment that is not doing anything. Most office desktop computers (and most of the computers in people's homes) are left running around the clock. This provides immediate access to this important appliance. It also enables the IT department to push software updates to company computers during the late night hours.

However, this wastes a lot of electricity. Few people are in the office at 2:00 AM, yet the equipment is chewing through as much electricity as it does throughout most of the day. Data Centers are another example. Few IT programs must keep running all of the time. Most computer servers and, even some disk drives, can save power by being idle from time to time, with minimal or no impact on customer service.

A variation of this is the excess amount of data that is kept in on-line disk storage, just in case it is needed. Over the past decade, the price per megabyte of disk storage has dropped dramatically. Where companies once closely watched the amount and source of data kept on its disk drives, it seems at times that all control has been lost. Multiple copies of the same data, many generations of historical data (that are no longer relevant), and the ever-expanding electronic mail storage all add to the ever- increasing electric bill.

Each of these examples of excess storage translates into disk drives. These devices are ever spinning around the clock every day of the year, year in and year out. Has the cost for this ever been compared to the value it provides to the company? Remember the disconnect between the people creating the bills and the ones paying them (and therefore responsible for reducing them).

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