University of King’s College Energy Audit: A Study of the School of Journalism Computer Labs
MetadataShow full item record
In recent years, computer use has been steadily increasing, causing a significant increase in energy consumption by computers. One way to assist in reducing computer energy consumption is to employ proper power management, which involves strategies such as turning off computers when not in use and activating automatic settings so that they will enter low power modes after periods of inactivity. This research project evaluated the energy consumption of the computers in the three computer labs at the University of King’s College School of Journalism, with the objective of determining strategies for reducing energy consumptions. The research involved a number of methods as follows: (1) interviews were conducted to gather information on current policies and procedures pertaining to computer power management in the labs; (2) the power management settings and watt usage for computer equipment was recorded in the three labs; and (3) the computer labs were the observed twice for a twenty-four hour period, one on a Sunday and the other a Tuesday, to record the power status of the computers (off, sleep, etc.) and patterns of computer use. Based on these observations, it was calculated that in over the course of two academic terms (fall and winter), the estimated energy consumption of the computer labs is 4237 kWh. This energy consumption is also equivalent to 2424 kg of CO2 or $449.00. Different power management scenarios that would decrease the computer’s energy consumption were simulated to estimate the amount of energy, money and greenhouses gases that could be saved with each power management strategy. It was found that the most energy efficient management settings would be to adjust computer brightness to the lowest setting and to turn computers off when not in use. However, barriers to turning off computers at night were identified in the interviews, and putting computers in computer sleep mode when not in use consumed only slightly more energy than turning computers off. Taking this into consideration, the following recommendations were made: lower automatic computer sleep time to 10 minutes on all computers, change the monitor brightness to the lowest possible setting on all computers, deactivate screen savers, and turn off computers at night if the identified barriers are ever able to be overcome. If the computers are set to sleep after 10 minutes and brightness reduced to the lowest possible setting, it was estimated that the University of King’s College School of Journalism could save 2336 - 2448 kWh of energy, or $247 – 259, over the course of two terms. In addition, it is recommended that power management strategies are written into a formal power management policy for the University of King’s College School of Journalism computer labs.