Energy conservation - more than just turning off the light

  • Published
  • By 99th Civil Engineer Squadron
  • Nellis Air Force Base
Many people on base have asked: "Are we really supposed to shut off our computers at the end of each duty day?"

The answer is yes.

"Turning off computers, monitors, and printers each night saves a tremendous amount of energy when spread across more than 13,000 users at Nellis and Creech," Lt. Col. Matthew Haber, 99th Mission Support Group deputy commander.

The current energy policy for both Nellis and Creech Air Force Bases requires all personnel to turn off non mission-critical computers, monitors and office equipment at the end of each day.

"People don't realize how much money we spend to leave computers on every night," said Michelle Price, Base Energy Manager. Ms. Price estimated that Nellis and Creech could save more than half a million dollars a year, simply by all working together to ensure office equipment is shut down each night.

"All those computers also act like space heaters in the summer, adding to the heat load in each office forcing air conditioning to work overtime trying to cool your office in the morning," Ms. Price explained. She said that turning off computers in a closed office space can lower office temperatures by as much as five degrees in early morning hours.

The 99th Communications Squadron has been working with the Enterprise Network Operations and Security Center to implement Phase I of a 2-phased approach to conserve energy at Nellis and Creech, said Lt. Col. Michael Dawson, 99th Communications Squadron commander.

Phase I implements the hibernation feature of Windows XP operating system where the computer and monitor automatically go into power-saving mode after 60 and 20 minutes of inactivity, respectively.

Phase II implements a process where the computer can be turned on remotely to load a patch and update the computer and then turned off remotely. Implementation of Phase II is planned for the end of September.

"Phase II directly supports the computer shut-down policy," Colonel Dawson said. "Once Phase II is implemented, the loading of patches will become transparent."

"The necessity to save energy has caused us to relook at how we can save energy, while we continue to provide critical security updates," the colonel added.

When users turn on their computers at the start of their next duty day any security patches and updates will load at that time. If a large update is coming down from the Air Force, the 99th Communications Squadron will alert users through the unit Client System Administrators to leave their computers on just for that one night.

Energy is a precious commodity that we must avoid wasting whenever possible. Turning your computer off each night is an easy way to help Nellis and Creech be leaders in energy conservation.