Office Vampires: Millions of Office PCs Feed at Night

Vampire energy loss describes the considerable amount of energy sucked up by computers, home electronics and appliances that go into sleep or standby mode when you're not using them.

In the home, these Vampires represent between 5 and 8 percent of a single family home's total electricity use per year, according to the Department of Energy.

The problem is multiplied many times over in offices in the US and around the world according to an international study released this week by 1E and the Alliance to Save Energy. The study found nearly half of US workers who use a PC at their job do not typically shut down at night. The 2009 PC Energy Report, which examines workplace PC power consumption in the US, UK and Germany, estimated that US organizations waste $2.8 billion a year to power 108 million unused machines. In 2009, these unused PCs are expected to emit approximately 20 million tons of carbon dioxide, roughly the equivalent impact of 4 million cars.

"Employers today have a golden opportunity to demonstrate their environmental and financial leadership by taking a few simple, energy-saving measures, like setting up processes to power down PCs," said Sumir Karayi, chief executive officer at 1E. "A computer uses energy even when it appears to be idle. Shutting down PCs when not in use will help businesses to significantly reduce costs while preventing tons of CO2 from being emitted into our atmosphere."

According to Gartner, every year the information and telecom technology industry generates 2% of the world’s carbon emissions – the same as a year’s worth of air traffic. Moreover, PCs and monitors account for 39% of these emissions, equivalent to the emissions of approximately 46 million cars.


"When examined individually, PCs may not appear to be the biggest energy hog in the IT environment, but when considering the sheer volume of PCs in the world – Gartner estimates more than 1 billion – the energy and carbon implications are staggering," added Mr. Karayi.