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Department of Technology Energy Savings Plan by richman6

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									Eau Claire Area School District                                          Department of Technology



           Department of Technology Energy Savings Plan
                            Compiled by Jim Blodgett, Network Engineer

As part of our cost saving measures and as an audit done by Focus On Energy
recommended, we are looking at ways we can save electricity. Much of our equipment,
such as servers, switches, and storage and gateway devices must be on all of the time
because of processes that take place during the evening and night, such as backups and
system updates. We can, however, shut off most of the computers when they are not
being used. Our computers update their virus scanning software between 5:00pm and
7:00pm and many of our labs are used until 8:00pm for classes, so the earliest they could
be shut down is 8:30pm. To keep this process manageable, we will use Altiris, our
desktop management tool, to automatically shut the computers down at 8:30pm and start
them up at 7:00am. If the computer is in use at the time of
shutdown, the user can override the command.

Given the speed with which viruses are released after an exploit is discovered and the
damage they can cause to our network, we need to make sure that we can get all of our
nearly 3,000 desktop computers updated in a timely manner. We have the technology to
do this, but it doesn’t work if the computers are not on. Because our network was
originally configured in such a way that we couldn’t make use of the Wake-On-LAN
functionality built into the computers, we have encouraged our users to leave their
computers on all of the time. Now that we have updated our network configuration, we
can wake up our computers when they have been powered off.

We have looked at and implemented some energy saving processes already. We have our
monitors set to go to sleep after 15 minutes of inactivity, which means that they drop
from between 45 watts and 85 watts to 15 watts of electricity per hour or less. We also
experimented with setting the computers to go into sleep mode after a certain period of
inactivity, but we found that they would often crash coming out of sleep.

The cost savings projected in this plan are with respect to the cost of leaving all of the
district computers on all of the time. Our computers use between 120 watts and 200
watts of electricity per hour, depending on the model. During peak demand, 9am to 9pm
the electricity costs $0.04232 per kilowatt-hour and during off peak demand, 9pm to 9am
and weekends and holidays, the electricity costs $0.02942, which means each computer
uses between 8 and 20 cents a day, depending on the day and the computer. Turning off
the computers from 8:30pm to 7am on school days and all day on weekends and vacation
days would save between 4¢ and 16¢ per computer, per day, depending on the day and
the computer. Given our nearly 3,000 computers, this could result in saving as much as
$97,400 over leaving the computers on all of the time for an entire year. This is, of
course, a best-case estimate. For instance, several computers will need to be left on all of
the time because they perform special functions or are used by people who want to be
able to work from home. Also, once or twice a month, all of the computers will need to
be left on all night while their systems are updated.



Jim Blodgett, Network Engineer                                           jblodgett@ecasd.k12.wi.us
January 14, 2004                                                                    (715)852-3085
Eau Claire Area School District                                       Department of Technology



Projecting the cost savings against our actual electrical bills is much more difficult.
Currently, we do not have a way to track when computers are turned on and off. We do
know that during the week most computers are left on, on the weekends some computers
are turned off and over vacations nearly all of the computers in the schools would be
turned off. If all computers were left on during vacations, they would use about $30,000
worth of electricity and if half of the computers were left on every weekend, they would
use about $18,000 worth of electricity. This means that the previous estimate of $97,400
is overstated by $30,000 to $50000. Realistically, then, we should see at least $50,000 to
as much as $70,000 yearly savings on our current electrical bills, which would be roughly
a 5% to 7% of the $1,002,651.17i that was spent during the 2002-2003 school year.

This process will not be without negative impacts. It will take several hours a month of
Network Operations Center Staff time to set up and maintain this process. It will also
mean that users will have to get used to closing out all of their open documents before
they leave for the night. When the computers shut down all unsaved work will be lost.
All users will need to log in every day rather than just unlocking their computer, which
will take a little more time. We were also concerned that shutting down and starting up
the computers every day would lead to increased computer failures. The Rocky
Mountain Institute, however, found that a computer would have to be shutdown and
restarted every 5 minutes to have an appreciable impact on its lifecycle.ii

Finally, shutting down the computers at night will have a positive impact on the heating
and cooling systems in the schools. Most of the rooms where we have large numbers of
computers were not designed for the added heat the computers produce. Many of our
labs run several degrees above the thermostat set point. Turning the computers off at
night will allow these rooms to cool better at night and remain more comfortable for a
longer portion of the day.
i
     Focus On Energy, http://wfe.energywatchdog.com, 2004
ii
     Rocky Mountain Institute, Home Energy Brief #7, 1995




Jim Blodgett, Network Engineer                                       jblodgett@ecasd.k12.wi.us
January 14, 2004                                                                (715)852-3085

								
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