Three Rules for Managing PC Power Usage

Avoid power-saving myths, steer clear of vendor lies, and craft a realistic PC power-saving plan to reap the green benefits.

Be ready for some end-user pushback-no one likes policies that may lead to downtime. Just remember, though, that people are willing to put up with discomfort if they think it might help save the planet. Forrester found that one of the most popular motivations for pursuing green IT is to "do the right thing for the environment," and CIOs can tap into this do-good impulse.

An exclusive CIO survey of 280 IT executives last year shows two primary factors driving change: cost-cutting efforts related to energy efficiency; and efforts to be more socially responsible corporate citizens.

Rule 3: Set realistic goals and establish reporting mechanisms.

A company-wide goal of 50 percent reductions in PC energy usage sounds nice but might not be achievable depending on your organization, Gartner advises. That's because a company's PC environment is often far-flung and varies from group to group. It's better to start small and set goals for specific groups or business units.

Another myth CIOs need to avoid is that their monthly power bill will suddenly shrink after these PC power-management policies are put in place. Controlling PC power usage and gaining cost savings is a work in progress. Savings will occur, albeit over time as power-management practices evolve.

Even when power savings are negligible, says Gartner, the ability to report on emission reductions will become increasingly important. Most power-management software comes with auditing tools that help CIOs track their progress.

One of the biggest hurdles in the power-saving movement concerns disposal of PCs. Environmentally friendly disposal involves some additional costs. And in this current economy, moral environmental principles often take a backseat to the harsh reality of the balance sheet.

Got a different take? Send me an email at Tom Kaneshige. Or follow me on Twitter @kaneshige

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