• Mar 26th 2010 at 7:01PM
  • 21
When a corporation as large as Ford decides to do something as simple as shutting down its computers at night, the savings can be astronomical. In the case of Ford, powering down computers can save the company $1.2 million each year.

The new program called PC Power Management, utilizes energy saving settings provided by Microsoft Windows. The energy settings will be used on company laptops and desktops to reduce energy waste. A managed shutdown will occur each night and during the weekend period. Additionally, computers will be awake to receive updates during pre-selected non-business hours, freeing up time previously used for updates throughout the working day.

According to Ford, an estimated 60 percent of the company's computers remained on after business hours resulting in wasted energy. The new managed shutdown will eliminate waste to the tune of over a million dollars in savings for the company and reduce its carbon footprint by an estimated 16,000-25,000 metric tons per year. Continue after the jump to read the company's full release.

[Source: Ford]
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New PC Power Management Program Reduces Energy Use at Ford
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Simple step of "powering down" laptops and desktop PCs is useful to corporations and individuals. Ford estimates it will save $1.2 million and reduce its carbon footprint by 16,000-25,000 metric tons annually. Ford and ENERGY STAR offer tips for consumers to reduce their own household energy use

DEARBORN, Mich., March 22, 2010 – At Ford Motor Company, the commitment to energy efficiency and saving money now starts at the office computer.

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. 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.

The savings to the company on power cost alone is expected to top $1.2 million annually when the system is fully implemented. By reducing PC power consumption, Ford also stands to 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.

The cost savings and reduced carbon footprint are obtained by developing "Power Profiles" for each PC in the company. 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.

Ford developed its PC Power Management system with NightWatchman™ software from 1E Inc. 1E research found that 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.

Ford's actions to reduce the amount of energy used in all of its facilities, from manufacturing to office buildings have earned it the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency's coveted 2010 ENERGY STAR Award for the fifth consecutive year. In 2008, Ford improved energy efficiency in the U.S. by 5 percent resulting in savings of approximately $16 million. Since 2000, Ford's U.S. facilities have improved energy efficiency by nearly 35 percent. That's equivalent to the annual energy consumed by more than 150,000 homes.

As part of the company's commitment to ENERGY STAR, Ford urges its employees and customers to join the effort by reducing their personal energy use and cutting their CO2 footprints. Home energy use accounts for about 25 percent of the average American's carbon footprint. Individuals can help reduce that by pledging their support of the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency's "Change the World, Start with ENERGY STAR" campaign. http://www.energystar.gov/

The ENERGY STAR Pledge includes small, individual energy-saving actions that collectively can make a difference. Among those recommendations from the EPA:
  • Change incandescent light bulbs to ENERGY STAR rated compact fluorescent lamps (CFL) or LEDs
  • CFLs are 50-80 percent more efficient that incandescent bulbs.
  • ENERGY STAR qualified residential LED lighting uses at least 75 percent less energy, lasts 25 times longer than incandescent lighting and provides optimal light color.
  • Use a programmable thermostat to save energy while asleep or away from home.
  • The average household spends $2,200 a year on energy.
  • Properly set programmable thermostats can save $180 a year.

  • Enable power management settings on computers and monitors so they go into "sleep mode" when away or not in use.
  • To maximize power savings, EPA recommends setting computers to enter system standby or hibernate after 30 to 60 minutes of inactivity.
  • To save even more, set monitors to enter sleep mode after 5 to 20 minutes of inactivity. The lower the setting, the more energy you save.

  • Make purchases of ENERGY STAR-qualified products, such as home electronics, office products and/or appliances.
  • A refrigerator from the 1970s uses four times more energy than an ENERGY STAR rated model.
  • In the average home, 75 percent of all electricity used to power consumer electronics is consumed after the products are turned off. ENERGY STAR labeled consumer electronics save energy and money without sacrificing performance, features, or reliability.

  • Make sure homes are well sealed and insulated.
  • Sealing and insulating the "envelope" or "shell" of a home - its outer walls, ceiling, windows, doors, and floors - is often the most cost effective way to improve energy efficiency and comfort
  • Proper home sealing and insulating can save up to 20 percent on heating and cooling costs.

By working together, Ford believes both individuals and corporations can make a difference in reducing energy use.


About Ford Motor Company
Ford Motor Company, a global automotive industry leader based in Dearborn, Mich., manufactures or distributes automobiles across six continents. With about 198,000 employees and about 90 plants worldwide, the company's automotive brands include Ford, Lincoln, Mercury and Volvo. The company provides financial services through Ford Motor Credit Company. For more information regarding Ford's products, please visit www.ford.com.

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    • 1 Second Ago
      • 5 Years Ago
      Just one more example of the hundreds, thousands of things that we can do right now, at no cost, without waiting for new technology, and help the environment, saving money along the way....go Ford, this is a step in the right direction...
      • 5 Years Ago
      now imagine the savings their cars could achieve if they were aerodynamic, made from light strong fiber glass and with an electric drive train..

      nah why would they do that..
        • 5 Years Ago
        carbon fiber is a strong material but glass fiber is almost as strong, 10x cheaper and less dangerous to work with. carbon fiber is apparently more dangerous than asbestos. don't breathe it.

        and it's not just panels. it should be socalled monocoque construction meaning the outer body is the structure, not just body panels. and it is much stronger and lighter than steel or alu. and yes it should be possible to shape it relatively easily. maybe similar to how thermoplast panels are done today.
        • 5 Years Ago
        CF is great and all but unless you are willing to pay 60K for a compact car built on CF, it is not a logical move....last but not least CF is not easily recyclable, More labor intensive to try and recycle CF then make it new.....That's why CF is mostly reserve for exotic/performance cars..........we have to wait till CF technology matures...
        • 5 Years Ago
        :-) love that comment!

        Please add to the list carbon fiber body panels for vehicles. I know, I know. A lot of people on this board poo-poo cf because it is so different than how things have thus far been done. But let's face it, many Americans want to drive a large vehicle (has to do with size of wastelines???). Cf enables manufacturers to remove the link between size of vehicle and its weight.

        A company called Fiber Forge is working on streamlining the stamping process for carbon fiber body parts. It will be a different process but that does not mean worse than what is done now. With an efficient process in place the benefits will eventually outweigh the cost of retooling.

        /Also V2V and V2I - vehicle to vehicle and vehicle to infrastructure communications. Vehicles could be driving themselves in a few years - and judging by the driving prowess I see on my commute every day it can't come soon enough for me. 40,000 deaths on our roads each year sure costs Americans and American businesses a lot as well.
        • 5 Years Ago
        Sorry I forgot to mention that carbon fiber is not only lighter but is also stronger and safer than aluminum or steel in cars.
        • 5 Years Ago
        CF has greater strength than steel (see www.fiberforge.com for their process info). And BMW is going with Zoltek Companies to produce the all-carbon fiber M6. Zoltek's CEO has said that carbon fiber is "5 times stronger than steel and 2 times as stiff as steel."

        I'm not knocking fiberglass. Maybe it has improved in the last 20 years but I seem to recall injuries being caused by splintering fiberglass during a crash (a Corvette I believe). Speaking of which, Zoltek says GM is "starting to use" carbon fiber in Corvettes now.
        /ref http://news.cnet.com/Here-comes-the-everyday-carbon-fiber-car/2100-1008_3-6114289.html?tag=nefd.top

        Read that link, by the way, it has some interesting info including "cost is no longer a problem" for carbon fiber.
        - - - - - - - - - - - -
        "Great Minds Discuss Ideas, Medium Minds Discuss Events, Small Minds Discuss People"
        - - Eleanor Roosevelt
      • 5 Years Ago
      Duh. This should have been implemented 10 yrs ago.

      This kind of wasteful practice is wide spread though. Here at the university, most computers idle wasting energy. Just at there is "wake on LAN" to remotely start a PC, the reverse needs to be implemented. If you're an IT manager you should figure this out of be fired.
        • 5 Years Ago
        That was true maybe 10-15 years ago.

        I had to LOL when you said wear-and-tear. Umm a computer is 95% solid state with the hard drive as the exception. But the cycle life of hard drives easily exceeds the useful lifetime of the computer.
        • 5 Years Ago
        This is basically just greenwashing. Leaving the computers is basically just a wash compared to powering them down and spending more because of the extra wear and tear.
      • 5 Years Ago
      The problem is that x86 is terrible for corporate management AND power saving.

      I propose a secondary virtualised ARM core in the chipset.
      Rethinking the corporate desktop is the real solution.

      If anyone can be bothered reading it, I thought about this some time ago and emailed it in a slightly different form to AMD and Nvidia.

      There was no reply.

      Ok, so right now, we all know that in the corporate space, PC's are plateuing.
      The specs are good enough for the most part.

      There are however areas for improvement.
      Vast improvement.

      For starters, the world and their dog are obsessed with green technology.
      Corporate IT dont care about that. They want control damnit! And if that means PC's are on 24/7 doing sfa, then so be it.

      Virtualisation has matured nicely too. Which leads me to the next point.
      Virtualisation doesnt implicitly require that only one architecture be used.
      Lets assume the world depends on x86 for the near-future at least.

      So, what if someone integrated an ARM processor into their chipset or PC purely for management, security power saving and convergence?

      Picture this if you will:
      The ARM is the first line. All networking input travels via the ARM OS before being passed onto the x86 OS. Ideally this would be integrated with the chipset.
      This means a few things.

      Management and Power saving. Mutually exclusive?
      Corporate IT management can be controlled by the ARM.
      The x86 OS can be suspended to RAM, Hibernated, or whatever, but the pc can still be administered remotely. Disk imaging, software rollouts, disk backups, bios/security updates spring to mind. I'm sure there's more.
      (It'd be great if MS had something that acted similar terminal services where you could hibernate the user session to the network. The hardware could be re-done by decree of Admin, and the user wouldnt have to explicitly log out)
      Power management can be controlled by the ARM. Defined by corporate policy, the ARM can monitor activity and tell the x86 OS to suspend, wake, hibernate. Power over ethernet (for the ARM portion) is a real possibility.

      Wake on LAN is ok for this I guess, but what is needed is base-level control.
      Real hardware control that doesnt depend on the HDD or the OS working or being configured correctly.
      There has been some movement in the Linux space for this using virtualisation but it's not really moved very far. What'd be nice is genuine seperation by architecture.

      Firewalls, virus scanning, network/user input discrepancy monitoring & logging.
      Despite best efforts, viruses still exist. PC's still need to be scanned, firewalls are considered good practice but not really needed in corporate space.

      So lets pretend something like red worm crops up again.
      It relied on a pretty standard code to be run - something a virus/firewall company could easily patch for if it was not dependant on the host OS.
      Corporate IT should have rolled out the patch earlier. Corporate IT tend to evaluate patches for some time before rolling them out.
      In this case, simply blocking the port would have shut down sites.
      But intelligently detecting the traffic in and out and null routing them before they get to the host? That could have worked. Some machines would still have been infected, but the outbreak could have been confined quite quickly if there was more control outside of the core OS.

      In the case of Half-Life 2. Someone sent an email attachment with arbitrary code that was run, that then allowed them to remote access a PC, browse the network and upload the game before it was released.
      If IT were able to detect when PC's were doing things while noone was at them, it could be looked into before the breach got to the point of no return.
      With the PC's largely in Sleep mode, this breach might not even be possible since it is assumed that it was completed after hours.

      Network controlled Full disk encryption.
      Because the ARM is outside of the OS, but still an integral part of the network, full disk encryption can be controlled by the servers.
      Ideally, this and most of the other features would integrate with Active Directory or whatever other LDAP you prefer.
      Lets assume we're installing a PC for the first time on the Network.
      The HDD is blank. The Admin boots the PC with a thumb drive in a particular USB slot, MicroSD card or from LAN.
      The ARM processor is in control. Firstly, the core ARM OS is Flashed and then set to read only. Then the ARM OS is joined to the LDAP server using the Admin's domain login. Hardware location can be set and logical groupings joined in a few keystrokes.
      This forms the basis of the security. It is at this point, that the ARM OS joins the network. The ARM OS knows only its do
        • 5 Years Ago
        My brain just exploded and blood shot out of my eyes.

        Must watch video of kittens now after reading all of that with ARM and CMOS MOSFET chipset technology with the Johnson Rods and the quantum string theory methodology of computers with extra absorbant pads and such.
      • 5 Years Ago
      I used to work for an IT company that had an automated IT system that would run late at night, so all of our customers had to keep their computers on ALL the time.

      15% of the time, the automated system was useless and the customers would pay $40/mo per computer for it + unlimited maintenance.

      IMHO this was really wasteful and overly expensive for everyone involved. I hope these systems have 'greened up' since then..
      • 5 Years Ago
      Captain Obvious would like to have a word with you....
        • 5 Years Ago
        It seems obvious to many but there has been a debate raging in IT circles for more than a decade about this very thing: power down at night to save power -versus- increased wear on the chips due to the high current used to bring the system up to operating temperature.

        Which one saves more in the long run? I'm in the power down camp now that I'm no longer in IT but the cost of failure or (worse) intermittent troubles in a workstation are very real. Our new found environmental awareness is, I think, a good thing and will drive innovations we cannot even imagine yet so the balance will tip even more toward saving the power when its not being used (day or night).
        - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - -
        Topic #2. SSD drives - solid state storage devices - will make hard drives obsolete within 10 years. Sizes are increasing and costs are rapidly falling. I can't afford one yet but the day is coming. They use far less power and are lightening fast: use as your boot drive.

        Quantum computing and optical computers will also reduce the energy needed to do computing while reducing size and increasing processing speed.

        "It's good to be a geek!" :-)
      • 5 Years Ago
      For calendar year 2009, Ford had revenues of $118,308,000,000. Ford had expenses of $119,617,000,000.

      If this turn-off-the-computers-at-night program had been implemented during 2009, those figures would be revenues of $118,308,000,000 and expenses of $119,616,000,000.

      This may or may not be a step in the right direction, but it's essentially irrelevant.
      • 5 Years Ago
      what is absurd is your computer takes 15 minutes to boot with all the corporate bloatware, that you lose 15 minutes of lost productivity of everyone in the morning then! in that way you lose $50mm of annual productivity.
        • 5 Years Ago
        Is there nothing Ford can't do right now?

        GM's probably like, 'We've been turning our's off for 5 years' and everyone is all, 'yea yea, shut up GM.'
        • 5 Years Ago
        If it's an automated shutdown there's probably no good reason why they can't use Wake On LAN to wake the PCs up before most people get in in the morning. Anyway a lot of people probably make a coffee in the morning so they can let their PC boot up whilst doing that. The argument about lost productivity makes no sense.
        • 5 Years Ago
        Fifteen minutes to boot? NOT!

        Ford is brilliant! Too bad MORE corporations don't take such simple steps.

        Use cloth bags from home, instead of plastic. Take the bus two days a week. Recycle cans and bottles. Turn off the lights.

        Simple, "baby steps" can save the world!
      • 5 Years Ago
      I'm glad to see this, and it's a shame more businesses, schools and gov't don't do this.

      As others have mentioned, solid-state harddrives will significantly cut the electricity consumption of computers. I can't wait for the prices to fall on a 256 GB version to put in my laptop - less heat and longer battery operation.

      LED lights instead of fluorescent will cut electricity consumption drastically, as well, while simultaneously lasting several times longer and having no mercury in them.
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