Software saves energy on CSU computers

Ellie Mulder

When students and faculty leave their computers on unnecessarily, both money and energy are wasted throughout campus.

Already a model for the use of sustainability programs, Colorado State University’s Facilities Management department hopes to encourage other departments to utilize energy-saving software on their computers.

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Facilities Management uses a software called PowerSave on over 200 computers within its own department, but encourages the use of any software that may produce the same results, according to Campus Energy Coordinator Stacey Baumgarn.

As a test of the software’s effectiveness, Facilities Management Systems Administrator Dallace Unger had Carol Dollard, a CSU energy engineer, try it out.

“We let her manage her computer for a week and then we had PowerSave do it for a week,” Unger wrote in an email to Baumgarn, which Unger shared with the Collegian. “Carol is pretty aggressive about turning her computer off, powering off the monitor when she steps out, etc. Yet, PowerSave was able to do a better job at reducing the amount of electricity used then Carol could. Anything that can save more power than Carol gets my vote.”

The software itself generates a report, allowing departments to be able to explicitly see the total energy savings. Baumgarn believes the report itself may persuade others to use these software options.

“People making decisions, they like to see real numbers, and these are real numbers,” Baumgarn said.

Although this software is readily available to CSU departments, Baumgarn and his colleagues can only make recommendations as to how to reduce the University resources.

He said that although installing additional software may seem cumbersome and time-consuming,  a computer using this software “maintains all of the functionality, it just helps us to save energy.”

“I feel so confident that it saves money, it saves electricity, and that’s my job — to help us find all the different ways that we can save electricity,” Baumgarn said. “(But) I can’t force anyone to do anything. I can only ask, and try to come up with ideas and help (faculty) puzzle through if it’s a good solution for them.”

Unger, the professional who helped Facilities Management install PowerSave on its computers, said that its use has been an overall positive experience, even allowing his staff to do their jobs more efficiently.

“It’s provided benefits way beyond just saving power,” Unger said. “It’s pretty intuitive, and it’s not very invasive from the end user’s point of view. … That’s one of the things we were looking for, is we wanted something that was easy on our end user, something they weren’t having to jump through a bunch of hoops to use.”

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The Associated Students of Colorado State University has a department of environmental affairs that partners with various campus departments and staff members to promote sustainability projects, including encouraging this kind of software to be more utilized at CSU.

“We work really closely with Stacey on a lot of things like this,” said Sam Block, ASCSU director of environmental affairs. “We like to focus on sustainability initiatives that are going to have a positive impact on students, so this is a really great one just because it could save students money.”

Collegian Reporter Ellie Mulder can be reached at news@collegian.com or on twitter @lemarie.