The Department of Energy recently underwent an energy audit by its inspector general and the results (PDF) were not good. It seems none of the seven facilities surveyed were complying with the department's own power-saving guidelines when it comes to computers.
It was found that computer monitors were either set to never turn off after a period of non-use or were set to turn off after very extended periods of non-use like 48 hours. The auditors concluded that the DOE could be saving $1.6 million a year on energy bills by just utilizing power-saving tools on their computers.
The audit found that if the department took advantage of all available opportunities for reducing energy consumption and more closely monitored the energy use at its data centers and facilities, it could save $23 million over the next five years. One of the big changes that the survey mentions could significantly reduce energy consumption is a switch to thin-client computing.
The only good marks that the department received were for increasing the amount of energy efficient computers being used and for an automated computer shutdown program that was implemented at the department headquarters.
As the department that is setting the guidelines and shaping the energy future that we all will live in, it's pretty important that they are following their own advice. I hope this report spurs them to do so.
written by Fred, June 30, 2009
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