recommended reading

Saving 9 cents a day per computer adds up for the Air Force

Saving 9 cents a day for every computer you own might not seem like much. But when your network is made up of almost 600,000 PCs, savings quickly add up.

That's been the case for the Air Force, which expects to save about $17 million a year from simply turning off computers when not in use and installing energy-saving technology products. That works out to 9 cents a day, Debra Foster, deputy director of enterprise services at the Air Force program executive office for enterprise information systems, said in an e-mailed statement.

The Air Force requires computers maintain a power management standard, she said. The configuration for each PC is centrally managed, allowing network administrators to control all computers on the system.

That allowed the service to find a workaround for a common problem many businesses face: not being able to turn off computers at night. Desktops are typically left on during the night so system administrators can install software and security updates, and back up data. That can't happen if computers are off.

But computers left on all day and night waste energy, said Robert Huang, a consultant with the Cadmus Group, which works with the Environmental Protection Agency's EnergyStar Program. "There are solutions out there but none of them worked out all that well," he said.

The Air Force instituted years ago a common desktop Microsoft configuration that all its computers were set to and users had to follow. That made it easy for the service to ask Microsoft to develop a program that automatically turned on the computers sometime during the night for a specified time up to 23 hours.

Air Force officials also attribute the $17 million annual savings to the purchase of EnergyStar qualified computers. Mandates such as Executive Order 13423 require agencies to purchase EnergyStar-qualified computers, and the service has taken multiple steps to comply with the regulations.

"By the nature of their design [they] are less expensive due to the fact they are not designed for high-end computing," Foster said. "EnergyStar computers by design have a lower energy draw; hence energy savings are recognized immediately."

EnergyStar officials hope other agencies will emulate the Air Force's approach to save energy and money, Huang said. "This is definitely something that could and frankly should be implemented across other agencies," he said.

Threatwatch Alert

Thousands of cyber attacks occur each day

See the latest threats


Close [ x ] More from Nextgov

Thank you for subscribing to newsletters from
We think these reports might interest you:

  • Data-Centric Security vs. Database-Level Security

    Database-level encryption had its origins in the 1990s and early 2000s in response to very basic risks which largely revolved around the theft of servers, backup tapes and other physical-layer assets. As noted in Verizon’s 2014, Data Breach Investigations Report (DBIR)1, threats today are far more advanced and dangerous.

  • Featured Content from RSA Conference: Dissed by NIST

    Learn more about the latest draft of the U.S. National Institute of Standards and Technology guidance document on authentication and lifecycle management.

  • PIV- I And Multifactor Authentication: The Best Defense for Federal Government Contractors

    This white paper explores NIST SP 800-171 and why compliance is critical to federal government contractors, especially those that work with the Department of Defense, as well as how leveraging PIV-I credentialing with multifactor authentication can be used as a defense against cyberattacks

  • Toward A More Innovative Government

    This research study aims to understand how state and local leaders regard their agency’s innovation efforts and what they are doing to overcome the challenges they face in successfully implementing these efforts.

  • From Volume to Value: UK’s NHS Digital Provides U.S. Healthcare Agencies A Roadmap For Value-Based Payment Models

    The U.S. healthcare industry is rapidly moving away from traditional fee-for-service models and towards value-based purchasing that reimburses physicians for quality of care in place of frequency of care.

  • GBC Flash Poll: Is Your Agency Safe?

    Federal leaders weigh in on the state of information security


When you download a report, your information may be shared with the underwriters of that document.