Saving Energy With New Computers

Alex Serriere

As we continue our transition to a fully mobile workforce, we encountered a significant side benefit to deploying laptops as our standard workstation: laptops save a ton of energy. At the moment, our standard deployment includes a Lenovo W530 and two Dell U2312 displays.

Low Energy Deployment

All together, this equipment draws, on average, 95 watts of power at idle. Under load, energy usage can go as high as 140 watts. Our outgoing standard consisted of full-sized Dell towers (of varying vintage) and similar dual monitors.

High Energy Deployment

That configuration draws almost 260 watts of power at idle. Under load, the power consumption increases to over 310 watts.

Energy Usage Comparison
Machine Power Consumption at Idle Power Consumption Under Load Annualized Power Consumption1 Annualized CO2 Emissions2
Lenovo W530 95.7 watts 140 watts .7 MW hours .461 metric tons
Dell Tower 257 watts 312 watts 1.7 MW hours 1.2 metric tons

Energy Comparison

The difference is striking: even with the third screen the result is nearly a 60% decrease in average energy consumption with the new laptops. Of course, this admittedly unscientific analysis doesn’t account for every facet of energy used by these machines. There is embodied energy in the new machines, but we would be replacing the old computers anyway, so we’ve left that out of the comparison. Additionally, we’ve failed to account for the employees who diligently turn their machines off at night and those that run their machines at full load all day long. But overall, we feel that these numbers are at least representative of the potential savings associated with moving to lower-power, high-efficiency devices.

  1. Assumes the system is under load for ¼ of the day
  2. EPA Greenhouse Gas Equivalencies Calculator
Alex Serriere
Alex Serriere, Principal, Executive Vice President

Alex keeps our engineers and our clients up-to-date with the latest technology. His research enables TEECOM to keep clients informed about how technology is expected to evolve over the life of a project. As the head of TEECOM's software development team, TEECOMlabs, Alex is constantly working on new ways for software to improve the built environment.