Air Force IT keeps track of pennies, $17M adds up

Service adds power-efficient technologies, turns off computers when not in use

The Air Force has discovered it can save millions of dollars by simply turning off its computers at night.

Although that might seem like common sense, a number of problems prevented the service from doing that for many years.

However, recent efforts to cut costs have netted savings and energy efficiency for the Air Force. By installing a common Microsoft desktop configuration on all of its nearly 600,000 computers and using energy-saving technologies, the service saves 9 cents a day per machine, Nextgov reports.

Debra Foster, deputy director of enterprise services at the Air Force, told Nextgov the service expects to save about $17 million a year from those efforts.

Air Force officials also credited the savings to the purchase of Energy Star-qualified computers, which were mandated by Executive Order 13423. Before the order, turning off computers after dark was a problem because systems administrators used the evening hours to install software and security updates and back up data.

But leaving computers on all the time wasted energy. The Air Force asked Microsoft to develop a program that automatically shut the computers off at night for a specified time of up to 23 hours.

Foster said the Energy Star computers are also designed to use less power, which allowed for immediate savings.

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