British businesses ‘losing £300m’ a year leaving PCs switched on

British businesses are losing a total of £300 million annually by leaving their computers switched on overnight, researchers have calculated.

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British businesses are losing a total of £300 million annually by leaving their computers switched on overnight, researchers have calculated.

Around a third of UK workers leave their PCs on at night and during weekends, pushing up electricity bills by up to £17 per computer each year, said the report, which was commissioned by not-for-profit group the Alliance to Save Energy and power management supplier 1E, and conducted by Harris Interactive.

A large business with 10,000 employees would save up to £168,000 each year, and 828 tonnes of CO2 emissions, by switching off computers at night, said the ‘2009 PC energy report’, for which over 2,000 UK employees were interviewed. Some 17 million employees in the UK regularly use a PC at work, it said.

In the US, a similar proportion of employees left PCs switched on, costing £1.9 billion, said the report.

In spite of the costs and electricity being wasted by British workers, some 27 percent said they switched off their computers specifically for environmental reasons.

Kateri Callahan, president of the Alliance to Save Energy, said: “Powering down inactive PCs can provide a simple yet effective way for businesses to reduce overhead costs and environmental impact. The economic crisis and volatile energy prices make it even more imperative for businesses to save money by saving energy."

The report also highlighted work by the Office for Government Commerce, which has a procurement arrangement with 1E for NightWatchman PC power management software. This assists the switching off of PCs when not in use and could save up to £10.2 million annually, the report said, reducing carbon emissions by up to 55,723 tonnes.

The Department for Children, Schools and Families already uses the software and has saved 35,290 kilogrammes of CO2 emissions. The government is aiming to be carbon neutral by 2012.

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