Power and Print: On your screen and in your face!

Here at Intel we've had a strong focus on improving and embedding sustainability efforts both inside and outside of our data centers. The work that we've done through server virtualization as part of our server refresh cycles is now saving Intel millions of KWH each year due to the efficiencies gained. Beyond the data center though we're looking at ways to improve the efficiency of computing resource usage in our office and lab areas. This includes not only the electricity needed to power the devices, but also things like paper consumption due to printing. While the savings opportunities are not nearly as large in this space as we've seen in the data center, there is still value in integrating sustainable practices in everything we do.

As we all know, you can't manage what you don't measure. We'd taken the first steps toward understanding our office and lab usage at a macro level and had a feel for where we might be able to influence change. The challenge then was how to make the data visible and actionable at a personal level.  What we've decided to try is providing a tool that can be installed on a PC that allows for tracking of power management and printing behavior. We wanted usage to be optional so as not to seem too "Big Brother" but we also wanted ease of use and timely feedback available to the employees.

One of my colleagues in IT, Randy Sole, developed a gadget that sits on the desktop where employees can get nearly real time feedback. This gadget uses system event logs to gather data on system shutdown/sleep and printing history. We then use the data to generate a score in the areas of power management and printing. Detailed data is available as is content guiding the employee on how to improve their score. The goal of course is to have employees shut down machines when not in use, have their PC's power management settings such that unused machines power themselves down, and to reduce the amount of paper used printing. I have captured a screen shot of my personal usage below, I definitely need to improve shutting down my system when I’m not using it but I am doing well in shutting my system down at night and my printing!

I have sent out a ‘friendly competition’ invitation to my team mates to download the gadget and compare scores at the end of the month. I’ll keep you posted on how the competition goes.

Have others taken a similar or different approach and what have the results looked like in your organization?