According to The Carbon Trust, UK businesses are wasting as much as 30 percent of the energy they pay for, and that’s a significant bottom line issue for organisations of all sizes. One of the key culprits here is office equipment – second only to heating and cooling – particularly PCs that are estimated to account for 30 percent of IT energy use in most organisations. With energy costs likely to continue rising, the operational cost of running IT will become even more significant.

Today’s economic climate means that – more than ever – businesses are looking to cut costs and be even more careful with the financial resources they have. That’s why it’s surprising that many organisations are still overlooking the immediate savings that can result from better PC power management.

IT analyst firm Gartner estimates that a typical PC consumes over 100 watts of power, translating into an average cost of £114 per year to run. Start multiplying that by the number of employees in each business, and the costs really start to add up. However, that average consumption can increase considerably when more power-hungry systems such as developer workstations are being used.

Analysts estimate that there are currently some 119 million PCs used in businesses across Europe, yet only a third of them currently run some form of PC power management software. With typical annual energy savings for PCs of around £20 per system, that’s a potential £1.66bn of energy savings waiting to be recouped in Western Europe alone.

So it’s surprising that so many organisations do little to address this problem. There’s simply no need for businesses already looking to control their costs to leave so much money on the table – indeed these kind of savings could drop straight to the bottom line or be used to retain or recruit new workers. That makes a lot of sense in today’s economy, particularly when all a business has to do is make sure it turns off its PCs at night and over the weekend.

Of course you can rely on individual employees to turn off their machines at night, but experience suggests that’s not the most efficient way of addressing the challenge. We’ve found that taking a more proactive approach to measuring and controlling energy usage can pay for itself rapidly – often in less than six months.

When customers run our energy management software they invariably find far higher levels of energy consumption than they were expecting – PCs and Macs that are ‘on’ even when users think they have been switched off, IP phones and printers that are left on 24x7x365, and network equipment that is left running just to be safe.

Proven software tools can help companies measure and monitor their energy consumption across the business, identify ways to save power, and – with savings of at least £20 and up to £40 per PC – provide a return on investment in under six months. So if you’re looking to make your business more energy-efficient, don’t forget the potential savings that are sitting right in front of you on your desk