As state and local governments work on greening their environments -- to reduce energy consumption, which produces monetary savings -- sometimes the simplest acts, like shutting down a computer, can produce significant savings.

August 27 will mark the second annual Power IT Down Day, in which government and industry participants can pledge to turn their computers off at the end of the day, as well as printers, monitors and other IT devices that won't be used overnight. According to the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency, IT accounts for 2 percent of all power consumption in the nation. Dave Podwojski, director of Citrix Government, Education and Health, said turning off computers, monitors and printers at the end of a day saves $1.50 per person in energy.

Citrix, Hewlett-Packard, Microsoft and Intel are promoting the day. "It started as a campaign by Citrix to raise awareness about green IT and how a few simple acts could have a profound impact on electrical consumption on creating a green environment across the whole country," Podwojski said. "And so it was our way of ringing the bell and saying, 'If we just did this then this would be result and the result would be good for all Americans.'"

Last year more than 2,800 people participated, which resulted in more than 37,000 kilowatt hours saved. Podwojski offered an interesting take on energy and cost savings at the state and local government levels: "If 1 percent of state government's 19 million employees powered IT down, that would result in 2.5 billion kilowatt hours in savings in one night -- and that's worth about a quarter million dollars. If it happened at the local government level, if 1 percent of the 2.9 million employees did it, then you would find that you saved another 380,000 kilowatts and another $380,000."

Individuals can sign up to participate on the Power IT Down Web site. When signing up, there's a field to enter the state or local government agency a person works for, but the number of participants is the main aspect that will be tracked to determine how many kilowatt hours are being saved in order to determine how much money is saved. According to the Web site, as of Monday morning, 706 people had signed up to participate, which will result in 9,178 kilowatt hours being saved on August 27.


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Elaine Rundle  |  Staff Writer