Two information technology specialists in the College of Human Sciences found a new way to “go green” and save on energy costs by using new power-controlling software.

Sly Upah, information technology coordinator for the College of Human Sciences, and David Wallace, desktop support specialist in the College of Human Sciences, implemented a new software program, PowerMAN, for 500 computer systems in the college.

It costs an estimated $83,000 per year to power the 500 computers that are currently in use. A certain percentage of that cost, however, is wasted money because computers suck energy and valuable resources when they are left idle or not powered off when not in use, according to the LiveGreen Loan Fund project profile for the College of Human Sciences.

The PowerMAN software switches computers out of “ready mode” when they are left idle or if an individual forgets to turn his or her computer off.

The projected savings are $49,000 a year, said Merry Rankin, director of the office of sustainability.

Upah came across the idea of having this software implemented in a research article that he read.

“Many IT [information technology] groups have been exploring ways to make computer power consumption more efficient and economical,” Upah said.

Rankin said she was involved with giving a loan to the college for the new software. The total loan for the software was $3,039 and needs to be paid back in five years.

“One of the advantages that you get from this software and not by simply changing the settings on your current computer is the real time feedback,” Rankin said. “You can visually see the savings in the format of charts, printout materials, and graphic representations.”

The charts depict a line that shows how much energy is being used to power the computer and another for how much is wasted energy because the computer may have been left running. These graphs allow inefficient systems to be found and fixed. The goal is to match the lines because that would mean the energy costs are being used to run the computers.

Although the college needed to ask for a loan, it will pay for itself and more in the end, Rankin said

“This is a great opportunity to save a whole lot of money, but at a low cost,” Rankin said.

Upah said the software is not expensive and it is easy to operate.

The College of Human Sciences has goals they would like to accomplish.

“[We want to] demonstrate that IT can contribute to the green initiative by making computer’s energy usage more efficient,” Upah said.

So far, the College of Human Sciences is the only college using the software on campus, Rankin said.

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