Saving money by saving power – how Microsoft IT rolled out desktop power management

You may be interested to read how we've rolled out power saving settings within Microsoft (and if you think your lecturers are hard to please with technology, imagine what it's like providing IT services for 100,000+ IT geeks).

Our IT team at Microsoft have recently implemented a worldwide power management strategy across 165,000 desktop and laptop computers used within our business right around the world, to contribute to our goal of reducing our carbon emissions by 30% over five years.

The benefits that they've calculated are:

  • 27% drop in power used by managed desktop computers
  • 12.33 kilowatt hours saving per desktop per month
  • £8 to £9 saving per desktop computer per year

imageIn the case study, the framework of power settings are discussed, along with the practical implications and the lessons learnt. For example, the first method used was a simple policy setting on setting up a new user/computer, but they found that 80% of users simply permanently overrode the setting within 30 days. The second method was to have an extended 60-minute time-to-sleep setting, which would be refreshed regularly, so that even if the user changed it temporarily (eg to stay on for a presentation) it would reset again later.

The team relied very heavily on System Center Configuration Manager, which meant that they could apply policies and measure the impact of them over time. The chart on Power Environmental Impact is one of the examples from the pilot. Having data displayed in this way allows you to demonstrate the savings impact to your senior management team, and calculate reduction in your carbon footprint or energy bills.
In your college, you may not need to use System Center - you can make a start simply for free by changing some of the default power settings when you deploy new computers . But as you've got thousands of computers, it might be worth starting to calculate just how much money you might save with a much more comprehensive power management strategy.

Learn MoreRead the full Microsoft IT case study on power savings with Windows

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