It seems like such a simple way to save energy and money: just remember to turn off your computer when leaving the office at...

It seems like such a simple way to save energy and money: just remember to turn off your computer when leaving the office at the end of the day.

Simple, yes. But it’s still anything but a habit with many people. That explains why New Zealand’s Kiwibank was using far more electricity — and paying much higher power bills — than it should have been. But with more than 300 branches and 900-plus employees, it seemed like a tall order to create a widespread change of habit across the entire organization. So what did the bank do? It found an automated way to change employees’ habits for them.

1E, an IT efficiency software firm, worked with its green IT partner Transend to deploy the automated habit-changers — NightWatchman and WakeUp — in the bank’s computer systems. Four weeks of benchmark testing showed the bank’s suspicions were correct: 52 percent of PCs were being left on overnight, and 50 percent remained switched on even during weekends, although only 9 percent were being used.

After launching the 1E system, which automatically switches off computers at a certain time then fires them up again before employees arrive in the morning, Kiwibank saw an immediate difference in its energy consumption and bills. Over the course of the first year, it expects the 1E software to help cut its electricity use by nearly 164,000 kilowatt-hours, reduce its energy bills by NZ$24,570 and shave 32 tonnes from its carbon footprint.

If every computer-dependent business in the country followed a similar strategy, the savings would considerably more.

“If all of the top 100 largest IT users in New Zealand were to use automated PC energy management software like NightWatchman from 1E across approximately 280,000 PCs, they would see a collective reduction in energy use of 51 gigawatt-hours (GWh) and savings of up to NZ$8 million per year in electricity costs; the equivalent of taking 3,000 cars off the roads, not to mention the positive contribution towards our national 50 by 50 carbon emissions reductions pledge,” said Matt Johnson, managing director of Transend.

Greenbang

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