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EdTech Update




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Green and cheap

I sent the message below out to my district listserv the other day. I often get chewed out when I get back from the holiday break because someone (usually a taxpayer) has noticed computers left on during while school was not in session. The article mentioned below (thanks Stephen's Lighthouse) is a good one to share with your staff.

Let's all be green and cheap! Especially as school budgets get tighter...

Hi folks,

There seems to be an on-going misunderstanding in our district (and elsewhere) about whether one should ever shut off one’s computer. This article should answer any questions on the issue.

Shut your computer off whenever possible and put it to sleep whenever it is not being used. (Putting it to sleep is different than putting on a screen saver – see Myth 2 below.)
from: Five PC Power Myths Debunked

"Turning off PCs during periods of inactivity can save companies a substantial sum. In fact, Energy Star estimates organizations can save from $25 to $75 per PC per year with PC power management. Those savings can add up quickly. According to a recent report by Forrester titled "How Much Money Are Your Idle PCs Wasting?" PC power management is helping General Electric and Dell boast savings of $2.5 million and $1.8 million per year, respectively. That also results in a substantial reduction in CO2 emissions."

Myth No. 1: The power used turning my PC on negates any benefits of turning it off.
Myth No. 2: My screen saver is saving me energy.
Myth No. 3: Turning my PC on and off will reduce its performance and useful life
Myth No. 4: I can't run updates and patches for PCs in lower-power states.
Myth No. 5: My PC users will not tolerate any downtime for power management.
It's a start. Small stuff adds up."
In other words, put your computer to sleep (not on screen saver) or turn it off whenever possible. Set your computer to go to sleep after a few minutes inactivity. (On a Mac, go to System Preferences and use the Energy Saver controls.)

And of course over the upcoming holidays, turn everything OFF! If you have your computer set up to start at a certain time, make sure that control is disabled as well.

With nearly 3000 computers district-wide, we could save $150,000 a year if we averaged the savings listed above.

It’s green and it’s smart.

All the best,


Any tips for getting your staff to turn off their computers when not in use?

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Reader Comments (4)

Our district has someone go around and check who has totally powered down during long breaks. If you did, you get a nice note that you can sign and turn in for a small drawing. No negative consequences if you don't. The same department also sends out a district wide e-mail with the latest total of our energy savings in $ since they started the program. It is very impressive and motivating!

I really like the "green" part of your message. There are a lot of us out there that really try to be green.

December 18, 2008 | Unregistered CommenterLinda Dierks

Thanks for the heads up--I just sent your link to my supervisor.

(More generally, I really enjoy your blog--you blend utility with, well, thoughtful inanity. I trust you know what I mean--it's why I stop by here several times a day.)

December 19, 2008 | Unregistered CommenterMichael Doyle

Our district plans to set up an automatic shutdown procedure next month, where a warning is sent out about an hour after school hours allowing teachers the option to "opt out" and NOT shut down if working on grades, etc. The warning will have a 10 minute shutdown process in case they don't see it immediately. This should ensure that almost all computers are shutdown EVERY day. With 1,000 computers in our district, saving an average of $50/year, could mean a $50,000 savings that won't have to come out of staffing or curriculum budgets!

December 19, 2008 | Unregistered CommenterLeslie Dixon

Hi Linda,

I like the positive approach your district is taking.

Thanks for sharing!


Thanks, Michael.

Thoughtful inanity – that’s new one!

Oh, set up a GoogleReader account and you won’t need to visit several times a day. Works slick.)

All the best,


Hi Leslie,

We’ve been doing the auto shut down in our labs for some time and it works well. A little leery doing on teacher computers, but I wish you great luck!

Thanks for the comment and suggestion,


December 22, 2008 | Unregistered CommenterDoug Johnson

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