TechSoup Update on “Unpower Yourself” Campaign

Friday, December 18, 2009 |

By Jim Lynch, Director, Computer Recycling & Reuse and GreenTech Program
TechSoup Global

TechSoup Global is a San Francisco-based nonprofit organization whose main work is to supply nonprofits, NGOs and libraries worldwide with the computer software, hardware and know-how they need at the lowest possible costs so that they can devote much more of their resources to accomplishing their missions. TechSoup has also been a strong advocate over the years for electronics reuse and recycling.

Our GreenTech initiative builds upon’s historic work in computer recycling and reuse and expands it to educate social benefit organizations in the benefits of “going green” in terms of their technology use. GreenTech’s mission is to use technology to reduce environmental impact and reduce the environmental impact of technology. We are a proud supporter of the Climate Savers Computing Initiative and in the spirit of CSCI’s work we have just completed an IT energy conservation campaign called Unpower Yourself!

TechSoup GreenTech's Unpower Yourself! campaign ran for three weeks in November and covered three areas of IT energy conservation: setting power management on desktops and laptop computers, server and desktop virtualization, and software-as-a-service or cloud computing. The core of the campaign was a “5 Things You Can Do in 5 Minutes to Reduce Your IT Power Use.”

To enter the contest, people had to fill out a short online survey. We offered three very modest prizes to three winners – an hour of our time to consult on Green IT over the phone, a smart power strip and a $25 Amazon gift certificate.

We had 137 entries and got a very good sense of the actual impacts of our contest. Nearly everyone who entered the contest reported that they are now turning their IT equipment off at night and setting their power management (sleep) settings on their computers. The big surprise was that fully half of those who entered the contest are "deep green" and either spread the word about computer power management or signed up with Climate Savers Computing to join the IT energy conservation movement.

We also asked in the survey if people got some resistance from coworkers in making these changes and most found that they didn't have to overcome much resistance, if any.

Like each of our campaigns we framed this IT energy conservation with some thought provoking statistics such as:

Did you know?
  • Electricity generation alone is responsible for 40 percent of carbon dioxide emissions in the US

  • According to a Gartner study, IT around the world generates 2 percent of all greenhouse gases, roughly equivalent to all the world's airlines

  • The average desktop PC wastes nearly half of the energy it consumes, losing the power as heat

  • Letting your computer sleep can save approximately $60 in electricity costs per machine each year

  • According to Forrester Research, 55 percent of IT energy consumption comes from outside of the data center
Of course we got most of those statistics from Climate Savers Computing. We hope that if you do a campaign like our Unpower Yourself! campaign that you will feel free to use our content and techniques.

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