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Information Technology Energy Improvements

PC Power Management Software

In April of this year Information Technologies implemented some software on our desktop PC's that allows IT to centrally manage power on all desktop PC's in the City. Through the use of policies, we automatically put PC's in standby mode after two hours of inactivity and after 5:00 PM we power the PC off after 30 minutes of inactivity.

By placing inactive PCs and monitors in low power sleep mode, the City will save at least $20,000 annually, and reduce energy consumption by at least 200,000 kWh hours annually. This equates to 400,000 pounds CO2 saved, which is the equivalent of 20,665 gallons of gasoline saved or 422 barrels of oil not used or 61 tons of waste not put into landfills*  (*http://www.usctcgateway.net/tool/)

Server Virtualization

In the past when a new application was purchased or developed, one or more servers would need to be purchased and installed into one of the City's two data centers. In almost all cases the applications used on average 5-10% of the available processing power available on that server. The IT industry recognized this problem of under-utilization of servers and developed some software that allows users to "carve up" a physical server into multiple "virtual" servers. In the City's case, we buy servers with 4 physical processors and then divide this server into 15-20 virtual servers. This reduces the number of physical servers, makes more efficient use of those servers, and reduces the amount of energy consumed. Reducing the number of servers also reduces the amount of raw materials consumed and reduces the amount of material going to landfills or recycling centers.

Air Conditioning Efficiency Project

In the City of Madison data centers it is important that the servers do not over-heat so IT has an air conditioning unit running 24/7 to keep the data center cool.  However, IT has been implementing several initiatives to lower our AC usage in the data centers.

IT has purchased new server racks, which improves the airflow around the servers. These improvements allow the air conditioner to run more efficiently. Also all new servers purchased by the City must have energy efficient processors and power supplies.

In February of this year, the raised floor of our data center located in the garage level of the City County Building was replaced. This floor was over 20 years old and was originally installed to meet the needs of two mainframe computers. This floor configuration caused inefficiencies with our air conditioner, due to unnecessary holes in the floor, which allowed cool air to escape to unneeded areas. The new floor sealed all areas from airflow except areas around our network equipment.