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Power number crunching – Green for Small and Medium Businesses

By:Christine Fettinger

At this point there is little in the green IT field that has trickled down to small and medium business. The main benefits happen when there are many systems, and in most SMB (small & Medium businesses) there aren’t enough systems to offset the cost, or the technology, such as data center cooling, just isn’t applicable.

For small businesses the biggest area of realistic savings will be in setting the workstations and printers to sleep when not in use. A Dell GX270 will use about 80 watts just idling and 110 watts while working under load, as opposed to about 4 watts when asleep. If we use Seattle City Light‘s current rate of $.05.51/kWh for businesses (residential is cheaper) as a point for calculations, we see that a workstation that sleeps at 4 watts 24/7/365 costs about $1.93 a year before taxes, and a machine that idles at 80 watts 24/7/365 costs about $38.61 annually before taxes.

Obviously neither of these are realistic options because a machine that just did either would be turned off. A more realistic calculation is a 8/16 profile, where the machine is working 8 hours and either idling or sleeping the other 16 hours of the day.

By that reasoning it costs roughly* $42 a year for a machine running at 110 watts during the day and 80 watt idling (I.E. the employee just leaving the machine on when they go home), and $14.25 a year if it’s running at 110 watts during the day and is sleeping at 4 watts for 16 hours at night… a savings of almost $28 per machine per year.

* The amount is calculated by multiplying the annual rates by .24 or .76 depending on what “Phase” of the day we are looking at, thus taking weekends into account.