Baby Steps redux

By way of reporter, Stephanie Hemphill, we’ve got more numbers on the computer energy usage in Minnesota (see Baby Steps at the Capitol).

According to Jim Schwartz, at the Department of Administration

Computers use 5-8% of all electricity the state uses.

The state has 32,000 computers.

Average use is 3.1 kwh/day.

That’s $1.6 million year for computers.

99,000 kwh/day.

Aiming for 20% reduction, assuming Energy Star 4, yields 19,840 kw, saving $32,000, eliminating 6.4 million pounds carbon dioxide emissions.

This means that at Gov. Pawlenty’s rate of buying 4,000 computers a year, they’re replacing computers at the rate of every 8 years. Still, when you’re talking about replacing old computers with new ones, which you have to do anyway because they’re….well… old and inefficient, and can’t run Warcraft, the savings is automatic, because of the improved technology. It’s a no-brainer improvement; it requires no sacrifice.

But to underscore the difficulty of addressing energy consumption is this: government grows. And energy consumption increases, even while having appliances that use less individual energy that the grumps they’re replacing. There are simply more of them. For example, look at how many government buildings have been built in St. Paul in just the last two years — I can think of three offhand. Even if the other buildings reduced their energy consumption, bringing the new buildings online offsets a significant part — if not all — of the savings.

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