By simply shutting down district computers left on after regular work hours, Round Rock ISD increased its annual energy savings by an estimated $251,000.
In September, the district rolled out a computer power management software application to automatically turn off computers at 6 p.m. each day. A popup window on the screen alerts users their computer will shut down in 15 minutes. Staff members can chose to extend their computer time as needed but unattended computers are turned off to save energy.
Executive Director of Technology Mark Gabehart along with Chris Neher from Management Information Services reported 98.5 percent of the district’s 32,165 desktop and laptop computers are now automatically turned off each day.
As an Energy Management department initiative, Energy Manager Wesley Perkins last May requested testing to reveal the quantity of computers left on after working hours. Even though computers “go to sleep” when not in use, there are tremendous savings by selecting the shutdown mode. The results showed an average of 7,603 computers still operating after hours. The energy reduction was estimated to be 2.4 million kwh per year.
Once learning of the anticipated annual savings of $268,000, the district’s executive leadership team approved the project.
MIS was able to implement the project without purchasing additional software. There are approximately 474 computers still being left on after hours, according to additional MIS department tests. These computers are the software application servers and computers with Virtual Personal Network (VPN) access.
The district exceeded its initial goal of turning off 95 percent of its computers, Perkins said.
“Doing so enables us to move a quarter of a million dollars each year from Energy Management’s utility budget back to the general fund where it can be reallocated for more valuable educational purposes,” he said.