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Ford Turning Off PCs at Night to Save $1.2M

By - Source: Tom's Hardware US | B 46 comments

Ford going green to save some green.

Despite more efficient chips and monitor technologies, the electricity bills for large scale computer use are still considerable for corporations. While not much can be done to reduce power consumption while a computer is in use, Ford Motor Company is launching a new initiative that aims to save over $1 million a year through smarter power management.

Under a new program called PC Power Management, the power settings on Windows laptops and desktop computers are centrally controlled to reduce energy waste and optimize software updates. With its power profile enabled, each PC monitors its usage patterns and determines when it can be turned off. If the user is working late, he or she will be alerted of the approaching power down and given the opportunity to delay it. In addition, the PC is able to detect when a Microsoft Office product is active and is able to save open documents before shutting down in case the user is not present.

A managed shutdown of computer systems not in use, especially overnight and on weekends, further reduces energy use. At the same time, the system ensures all computers connected to the Ford Intranet are awake and able to receive software deliveries during off hours, decreasing downtime during working hours due to software loads.

These steps are expected to save Ford $1.2 million annually on power costs alone. Not only that, but Ford will also reduce its carbon footprint by an estimated 16,000 to 25,000 metric tons annually.

"In the past, as many as 60 percent of Ford's PC users haven't shut their PCs off at the end of the business day, resulting in wasted energy," said Keith Forte, Ford IT project supervisor. "Going forward, we'll be able to manage PC power consumption more efficiently while minimizing interruptions during the working day as a result of software updates."

PC Power Management is being rolled out to Ford computer users across the U.S. this month. It will be migrated to Ford operations around the world later in the year.

According to 1E research, which helped Ford in its program, almost half of all employees who use computers at work typically do not power them down at the end of the working day. In the U.S. alone, over $2.8 billion of PC power is being wasted every year, according to 1E.

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  • 22 Hide
    eddieroolz , April 9, 2010 3:25 AM
    The more I hear about the things Ford is doing, the more I like them. They're the only American carmaker left with some sense.
  • 21 Hide
    jomofro39 , April 9, 2010 1:38 AM
    The fact that this is just NOW news, explains to me why the American auto industry is failing. FAIL. Get it together. I bet next year we will learn that they are starting to turn off lights in rooms they do not use.
  • 19 Hide
    the associate , April 9, 2010 2:24 AM
    fractureAll that saved energy will be used up by all the GTX 480s across the country.


    LOL, +1
Other Comments
  • 21 Hide
    jomofro39 , April 9, 2010 1:38 AM
    The fact that this is just NOW news, explains to me why the American auto industry is failing. FAIL. Get it together. I bet next year we will learn that they are starting to turn off lights in rooms they do not use.
  • 11 Hide
    shadow187 , April 9, 2010 1:38 AM
    Lol fracture.

    Eventually everything on a 12nm die will idle at 1watt.
  • 9 Hide
    rcpratt , April 9, 2010 1:50 AM
    Haha, I work for the local Detroit utility, bad news for us ;) 
  • -8 Hide
    daniel266 , April 9, 2010 2:13 AM
    The americans are the one that cant turn off the pc they think that it doesnt matter ..hope that the reccesion make them think ..
  • 19 Hide
    the associate , April 9, 2010 2:24 AM
    fractureAll that saved energy will be used up by all the GTX 480s across the country.


    LOL, +1
  • 5 Hide
    babybeluga , April 9, 2010 3:03 AM
    I bet they paid the consulting firm (who told them how to save money by turning off their computers) $1 million for this revelation.
  • 0 Hide
    retirepresident , April 9, 2010 3:03 AM
    CEO bonus for the year.
  • -4 Hide
    loomis86 , April 9, 2010 3:07 AM
    This all sounds like BS to me. Are they going to power down the UPS system too? How bout the building HVAC systems? Security systems? PCs go into sleep mode pretty quick and don't use much energy.
  • 22 Hide
    eddieroolz , April 9, 2010 3:25 AM
    The more I hear about the things Ford is doing, the more I like them. They're the only American carmaker left with some sense.
  • 10 Hide
    badaxe2 , April 9, 2010 3:30 AM
    Henry would be proud.
  • 4 Hide
    daship , April 9, 2010 3:57 AM
    They will spend 5 million paying Chinese tech support when the PC dont wake up from sleep, lol.
  • 4 Hide
    danwat1234 , April 9, 2010 4:03 AM
    The junior college that I attend (Portland Community) does shut down their PCs at night, however, they ALL turn on (in class rooms, labs,offices, etc..) at 7:30 in the morning, regardless of whether or not the PCs will be used in the morning. Furthermore they are not configured to go into sleep mode ever.

    Bah.. I think that I'm going to have to write the IT Department an email!

    So many people don't realize how much of our energy is created by fossil fuels.
  • 8 Hide
    tipoo , April 9, 2010 4:04 AM
    They probably discovered it by accident too. A janitor at the office accidentally flipped a switch that turned them off then they noticed the savings in their power bill.
  • 3 Hide
    Judguh , April 9, 2010 4:07 AM
    That works for a company that large.

    The company that I work for... not so much. We roll out updates and patches weeknights and weekends. Its just much easier to have the users leave their machines on than wasting extra time to figure out why you can't remote into that person's computer. Depends on the scenario I guess.

    Overall - good for Ford! Keep on innovating!!
  • -2 Hide
    NewJohnny , April 9, 2010 4:15 AM
    sicundercoverThis is a short sighted idea. People tend to forget about the ware and tare caused by the constant expansion and contraction caused by heating and cooling from turning machines off all night long. This will reduce the life expectancy of the machines thereby costing more money for replacing them in the long run and increase the amount of old computer parts in landfills. Smarter Move : Ford putting solar panels on top of the massive structures they own.

    Why would someone downvote you? He's right, this is what killed all those hp laptops from 2006-07. The nvidia chip unbonded from the boards due to thermal stress. It's also what kills lightbulbs.
  • 10 Hide
    theroguex , April 9, 2010 4:37 AM
    sicundercoverThis is a short sighted idea. People tend to forget about the ware and tare caused by the constant expansion and contraction caused by heating and cooling from turning machines off all night long. This will reduce the life expectancy of the machines thereby costing more money for replacing them in the long run and increase the amount of old computer parts in landfills.


    Your argument is flawed. Do you even know how companies like this work? They lease the computers for probably no more than 2 years. Then, they get new ones. The old ones are refurbished and resold to other businesses and/or individuals.
  • 6 Hide
    guid_aaa000001 , April 9, 2010 5:09 AM
    They can hibernate instead of shutting down the computer
  • 2 Hide
    RazberyBandit , April 9, 2010 5:14 AM
    If only GM and Chrysler had thought of this 2 or 3 years ago. Maybe they wouldn't have needed a bail-out.

    It boggles my mind why companies, especially huge ones that can see incredible savings, haven't been doing this for years. It saves money, plain and simple.
  • 6 Hide
    anonymousdude , April 9, 2010 5:27 AM
    NewJohnnyWhy would someone downvote you? He's right, this is what killed all those hp laptops from 2006-07. The nvidia chip unbonded from the boards due to thermal stress. It's also what kills lightbulbs.



    Those hp laptops that died were due to a fault on nvidia's part not hp.
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