Spokane schools’ software pays big dividends

From staff and wire reports
September 8th, 2012

The school district is achieving $121,000 in savings each year by having the shutdown software installed, Payne said.

Network administrators for the Spokane, Wash., Public Schools spent $104,000 in 2009 to slash energy consumption on 10,000 of the district’s 13,000 computers. And the return on the initial investment has been evident and immediate, they say.

The money purchased a software installation that shuts down office or classroom computers after a set period of inactivity. Many teachers and staff tend to leave PCs on all the time, said Steve Payne, the district’s tech manager.

The school district is achieving $121,000 in savings each year by having the shutdown software installed, Payne said.

The program, named Surveyor, comes from a Seattle firm called Verdiem.

Even better for the school district: A $100,000 Avista energy-efficiency rebate covered most of the cost of the software, said Dan Wordell, the district’s technology supervisor.

“It works really good—so good that we got complaints at first because it was shutting down PCs people wanted to keep running into the night,” Wordell said.

The same software is used by the city of Spokane on 1,300 of its computers, producing an annual savings of about $15,000, said Michael Sloon, the city’s information systems manager.

“Shutting down PCs using software is one of the easiest, lowest-hanging fruit options businesses or groups have to cut costs,” said Jeff Warner, sales manager for California-based Verismic, which produces a competing product to manage computer power use. Other companies that sell such products to schools include NetSupport, SchoolDude, and Tripp Lite.

Industry energy audits suggest that shutting down computers that normally are on all the time, using preset schedules, can save as much as $60 per year per PC.

Yet not that many companies and schools have adopted such power-management tools, Warner said. “That’s because most IT managers feel they’re already trying to do too much,” said Warner.

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2 Responses to “Spokane schools’ software pays big dividends”

It’s good that Tech directors are thinking about the energy costs of ICT.
While they may not have a line item in the IT budget for energy, the district is paying for it somewhere.
The next step is to seriously look at the equipment that does run 24x7x365 and make lower energy consumption a priority.
For instance, a network switch can have a wide variance in electrical consumption from one manufacturer to another, and even between different models from the same manufacturer.
Choosing the lowest energy consuming equipment that meet your technical requirements also has additional benefits, including lower waste heat (which means less energy needed to cool) and lower electrical requirements from the UPS, which means a lower cost UPS can power the same amount of time.
I applaud Spokane Public Schools’ decision to save desktop computing costs without compromise in user experience.
The next big savings will come from aligning their network/communication purchases – ensuring energy consumption metrics are as important as both cost and meeting technical requirements.

September 10, 2012

Kudos to the IT department in identifying problem areas and providing a ROI based fix

We all are looking for our educators to be stewards of our educational funding dollars.

Now where are we focusing to advance individual learning outcomes to advance graduations and reduce drop outs (ROI based model)?