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America wastes gazillions with always-on PCs

Switched off to the environment

Internet Security Threat Report 2014

Next time you leave the office, turn off your machine. According to a new report, the typical mid-sized American business wastes more than $165,000 a year in electricity costs thanks to PCs left on through the night. That’s more than $1.72bn in wasted funds across the country.

Simply by turning off machines during night hours, the report says, the average business could also eliminate 1,381 tons of carbon dioxide emissions each year, which translates to nearly 15 million tons nationwide.

Run by Harris Interactive, the report (PDF) was commissioned by the Alliance To Save Energy, a coalition that promotes efficient energy use, and 1E, a British-based systems management company.

As of May, the report claims, there were 104 million Americans who regularly used PCs at work, and 20 per cent “never” shut their machines down. Meanwhile, 60 per cent shut down only on occasion. The nighttime carbon dioxide emissions from these machines, the report goes on to say, is equivalent to the carbon spewed by 2.58 million passenger cars – more than are currently registered in the state of Maryland.

El Reg readers in the UK can rest assured that British PC users are slightly less delinquent. A similar 1E report (PDF), released in September, says that only 16.9 per cent “never” shut down their machines. In April, we reported on the efforts of online banking firm First Direct to reduce carbon emissions by adopting software that automatically shuts off machines in the evening. The software, called NightWatchman, comes from 1E.®

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