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Big Fix Supports University’s Sustainability Goals

January 23, 2012 :: Shirley Ross, Information Systems & Computing

Big Fix is an example of ISC’s on-going efforts to support University-wide sustainability goals. Data confirms that systems that have implemented the Green IT power settings of Big Fix, the ISC Desktop Power Management service, are achieving major energy savings relative to those that have not yet adopted them. This is achieved by significantly reducing the amount of time computers spend in “idle.”

A sample of 800 computers at Penn show they are actively used only 13% of the time or an average of just three hours a day! During 18 hours of the day, they are sitting idle – fully powered on, but not used. This is equivalent to keeping all the lights on in your house while you’re at work or having the water constantly running just in case you want to wash your hands! Most of us would never consider doing this, and yet most of us leave our computer on just in case we want to use it. By comparison, by setting and monitoring power settings and consumption patterns, Big Fix reduces idle time from 77% to just 17%. The remaining time is spent either in off or in standby mode (which uses only slightly more power than the off mode).

Some faculty and employees need to access their office desktop remotely, for example from home during the evenings or weekends or when they are travelling. There is no longer a need to leave the desktop powered on to allow remote access. People can access their desktop remotely by going to a webpage where they can wake up their desktop from either off or standby mode when needed. This feature alone is providing significant power savings.

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