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Power Cleaner

Highly trained ninja cleaners who also turn off monitors that people have left on
  (+1, -2)
(+1, -2)
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Last night and tonight I have been the last person to leave the office. Before I left both nights I turned off all the monitors that had been left on (35 last night and 32 tonight). This company's standard PC build doesn't include any power management features, so if I hadn't turned them off then they would have stayed on all night.

A monitor uses roughly 180watts of electricity. Assuming the "night" is 6pm to 8.30am that makes 14.5 hours per monitor, which for 35 monitors means that 94.5 Kwh of electricity would have been wasted. I did some research and estimate that 94.5 Kwh could produce 4 158 000 pages from a photocopier, power a freezer for 23 days, or power a washing machine for 378 loads.

Factoring this up for a year (assuming that the monitors stay on all weekend) you get 38.7 Mwh of electricity wasted at a cost of £2400 (not to mention 35 tonnes of Carbon Dioxide, 77.5Kg of Nitrogen Oxide and 318 Kg of Sulphur Dioxide released into the atmosphere).

Now work it out for the number of people that work with computers, assuming that 40% forget to turn their monitor off each evening - a conservative estimate for the UK (based on 8 million computers) gives 3.9Twh of wasted electricity at a cost of £240 million, and 3.5 million metric tonnes of CO2, 7 750 metric tonnes of NO and 31 800 metric tonnes of SO2 released. For the US you could probably bung an extra 0 onto the end.

Now, what do most of the organisations that run these computer monitors also have in common? Cleaners who have access to the whole building. So here's the idea ("finally" I hear you cry). Select a number of cleaners and subject them to training along the lines of "Whilst you're doing your rounds, if you see a monitor which is on then turn it off, unless there's a note asking you not to. Don't worry about the computers themselves". Pay these people an extra £1 per hour for this task (if they turn off six monitors every hour the company is saving money).

The benefits: low paid workers get more money (hurrah!), companies save money (hurrah!), we use less electricity so we create less pollutants (hurrah!) and there would be less power problems in California (hurrah!).

The disadvantages: generating companies would make less money and people would have to spend a fraction of a second each morning turning their monitors on.

mark_t, Mar 13 2001

Pollution Calculator http://www.cleanera...rom-electricity.htm
If you live in America you can work out just how much your personal contribution to the green house effect is! [mark_t, Mar 13 2001, last modified Oct 17 2004]

Energy Facts from the US Navy http://info.bangor....energymgt/facts.htm
Nice green background - could be environmental, could be military camouflage [mark_t, Mar 13 2001, last modified Oct 17 2004]

David's Rants - Monitors and San Diego http://deltasys.org/david/opinion.html
He's mad as hell and he's not going to take it any more! [mark_t, Mar 13 2001, last modified Oct 17 2004]

Electricity used by various things http://www.sheco.net/appliance.htm#a-au
Fairly comprehensive list of power usage from various domestic appliances, plus tips on lowering your electricity bill [mark_t, Mar 13 2001, last modified Oct 17 2004]

SMUD information http://www.smud.org...e_energy_usage.html
Not nearly as interesting as it sounds. But this is where I got my appliance power consumption figures from. [mark_t, Mar 13 2001, last modified Oct 17 2004]

The great man can't possibly be wrong can he? http://news.bbc.co....1219000/1219574.stm
Halfway down : "He is now seeking justification for his change of policy on technical grounds, noting that the 1970 Clean Air Act does not class carbon dioxide as a pollutant. " [Gordon Comstock, Mar 13 2001, last modified Oct 17 2004]


       Why not just add DPMS to your company's "standard PC build"? That way the monitors will go off when they go to lunch, too. Alternatively, buy everyone a motion-sensor power strip to plug their monitor into (Microsoft did this while I was there).   

       Do monitors really consume 180W? That seems like a lot.
egnor, Mar 13 2001, last modified Mar 16 2001

       Motion sensing power strip for monitors. That would create quite a surge when someone walks into the room.   

       How about LCD monitors! Just bring the price down.
goodie, Mar 14 2001

       Why are we getting worked up over CO2? We have it on the highest authority that it is NOT a pollutant.
Gordon Comstock, Mar 14 2001

       degroof - would that be randomly, or as soon as you turn them on?   

       egnor - You're right - if the power management software were in the build then the problem would be much reduced, because these monitors are all compatible with the relevant protocols. But it isn't, and I'm not in a position to add it, hence more frustration.   

       As to the 180W for a monitor I got that from Compaq's web site. That's for the S901, which is what most of the monitors here are. LCD monitors apparently use about 10% of that.
mark_t, Mar 14 2001, last modified Mar 16 2001

       Man, if I worked for a law firm, I'd be shutting my whole computer down for every activity that diverted my attention, not to mention the end of the day. Every time I cranked it back up would be additional billable time for some client.   

       Incidentally, this idea and the associated discussion is another example of something that would fit well in the Archimedes' Lever forum, if it existed.
beauxeault, Mar 14 2001

       UnaBubba and Gordon: The Earth has been devoid of oxygen-breathing life during most of its history. It is almost universally accepted that CO2 is a greenhouse gas and that global warming is already taking its toll (e.g. coral reefs). The article you cite is interesting, but I don't think it really supports the claim that CO2 emissions are not worth reducing, merely that G.W. Bush is not exactly Mr. Environment.
egnor, Mar 14 2001, last modified Mar 16 2001

       Egnor - sure enough, see BBC news item. I'm not American, perhaps some of you chaps could have a word with him to put him straight.
Gordon Comstock, Mar 14 2001

       The Earth has not been devoid of life for most of its history. It's been inhabited for about two thirds of its history, although not by anything terribly interesting for much of that time. Of course, it's meaningless to talk about carbon dioxide levels at various points in history without also discussing the contemporary climate. We'd like humans to be able to live here still, right?   

       A better idea (not that this is really an idea) might be to write a DPMS virus, mark_t. While you're at it, write an anti-SETI@Home virus.
francois, Mar 14 2001

       egnor - idea duly shortened. A bit.   

       I believe it would be simpler, quicker and less expensive for the company (in terms of up front cost, at least) to give this new responsibility to the cleaning staff rather than to re-engineer their standard build and apply the changes to every PC, although that is the ideal solution.   

       As to instructing staff to turn their monitors off, I think they've been asked - just as they're asked to turn off the lights when they leave. But people forget, so I was suggesting a way around that.   

       I like the "positive" virus idea, francois - you could take it even further and have it defrag the computer's disk, clean out old temp files, optimise the network settings, clean orphaned keys out of the registry, and just generally give the computer a bit of a tidy. But what have you got against Seti?
mark_t, Mar 14 2001


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