50 percent of working Americans leave their office PCs on when they leave for the night, creating a massive carbon footprint. Leaving one unused PC on can cost up to $26 a year. The total cost of all PCs left unused by US corporations is several billion dollars, according to 1E’s “PC Energy Report 2009.” “Collectively, US organizations waste $2.8 billion every year powering 108 million unused PCs. In 2009, these unused PCs are expected to emit approximately 20 million tons of carbon dioxide emissions – roughly equivalent to the impact of 4 million cars,” according to the report. The cost of running PCs, the largest IT energy expenditure, can account for up to a quarter of an office’s energy costs.

Power management is one of the best ways to improve a business’s IT environmental footprint, and can have a massive effect on global energy consumption.

“If all of the world’s 1 billion PCs were powered down for just one night, it would save enough energy to light up New York City’s Empire State Building – inside and out – for more than 30 years,” according to the report.

Globally, PCs and monitors generate 39 percent of IT’s carbon emissions, equaling a year’s footprint of 43.9 million cars.

Ironically, even though a half of US employees leave their computers on when they leave the office, 63 percent believe that their companies should be doing more to reduce energy use. 14 percent of US workers don’t power down at night because “it takes too long.”

Rock on, Protestant work ethic.

By Mark Alvarez