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The World’s on Standby

Friday 1 October 2010

I remember watching an episode of Dragons Den a good while ago when someone was pitching a new power saving device that cut all power to an appliance when it was put on standby.

The new super adapter plug would retail for around £15 and would pay for itself in 135 years or something like that.

Over the past 18 months I have noticed my house getting gloomier and gloomier. Perhaps this is due to general malaise (which is obviously directly linked to the economy) or something a little more sinister…

It’s because my wife has gradually been replacing all of our light bulbs with expensive eco friendly, low wattage bulbs that last for ever and pay for themselves in 135 years.

I go into the garage through a side door in our hallway, switch on the garage light with the expectancy of being able to see only to have to wait 60 seconds for the bulb to have sufficient time to heat up so that I can see what’s going on.

I have stubbed my toe, walked into the corner of our freezer and trodden into something my cat had left behind, all within the last couple of months and hand on heart, I blame it on not being able to see when I put the light on.

We may be trying to save the ozone but I wonder how many injuries and deaths will be caused by this brilliant advance of science.

Browsing the internet the other day, my wife found a web site selling 60 and 100 Watt light bulbs. The old fashioned sort… The site was selling them cheap due to the fact they are being phased out. We’ve bought £100 worth (to stock pile them for the next few years) and changed all of our eco light bulbs and I’m much happier with life.

…However, that’s me. I would rather see than save the planet although some of our customers have the opportunity to show their eco friendly credentials and save company money without it impacting on their home life.

I was at a meeting the other day when I was told how our software was being used to save money.

I was told that for some of the beefier desktops, it costs about £100 per year in electricity to run them. Many of these machines are left on overnight so our customer has configured some software to run on these machines in the middle of the night and report back whether or not the job was successful.

If successful – the machine was on! It sounds obvious but it’s clever none the less.

Our software does the analysis which is great to hear as it adds further credibility to our software’s “go green credentials”.

This customer believes that discounting weekends, accounting for the working week, bank holidays and the amount of time a person spends on average at their computer, their staff are probably only using their machine for 3 hours on average per working day.

Taking off weekends, 9 bank holidays and the time spent away from their machine, switching a machine off would save almost 90% of their PC power budget.

On 2000 machines this is a saving of almost 180K per annum!

Standby is not quite so good but certainly an option worth considering as if all of these machines were in the same room and could be daisy chained together through a £15 standby adapter–

I may not be green, but from an economic perspective you can’t argue with the logic. Turn things off or at least put things on standby and you’ll save more money than you think. What’s more, you’ll be saving the world.

…I’m instructing my kids to switch off their laptops, PC’s and speakers when they are not being used. Turn off their TV or at least switch to standby. Save Dad some money.

…but on safety grounds, I’m sticking with my non-eco-friendly light bulbs.

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