Go Green! Turn it off!

By Sgt. Daniel J. Nichols, U.S. Army Europe Public Affairs
May 14, 2010

HEIDELBERG, Germany -- The US Army in Europe is trying hard to go green and save money. The first step they’ve taken is small, but office workers across USAREUR may have noticed something different lately when they first come to work; everyone is turning their computer monitors on at the start of the day.

A new policy developed by 5th Signal Command and USAREUR’s Operations and Communications Systems department now automatically shuts off computer monitors after a period of no use.

Does this really make a difference? The answer is yes, a $1-million difference in fact. “Individually this will save a small amount of electricity but when applied to tens of thousands of monitors the savings are much more substantial,” said Rick Kundiger, director of Strategic Joint Command, Control, Communications, Computers, Operations & Plans Architecture Division, USAREUR OP CIS.

Currently in the works to build on automating cost savings is another policy that will put your computer into ‘sleep mode’ in order to conserve electricity after periods of no use.

“In the near future we will also automate the shutdown of all computers within USAREUR but we need to plan and test that first so there is no negative impact to our customers,” said Kundiger. This, he says, will save the Army even more money on energy use.

“The potential savings figure was derived by using actual energy measurements, taken from a pilot run by IMCOM, and using industry energy calculators to extrapolate that savings out to encompass all monitors within USAREUR,” Kundiger said. “Oh, and putting monitors to sleep may save us up to $1 million per year, there’s a $3 million estimate is if we put both monitors and computers to sleep daily.”

Although USAREUR’s computer technicians are doing a good job at saving energy costs automatically, there are plenty of other ways that Soldiers and civilians can save energy.

“Turning off the lights when you leave your office or spaces is a good practice. We do it at home, why not at work? For example, you could shut off your lights when you go to lunch. I realize this isn't practical everywhere but every little bit counts,” he said.

Keep an eye out for more stories on how USAREUR is going green.