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IT aims to reduce energy costs, CO2 emissions

USF Information Technology (IT) is considering adopting a measure that could cut the annual computer energy consumption at USF by more than half a move that would cut costs and decrease carbon dioxide emissions at a level equivalent to taking 400 cars off the road annually.

IT is considering buying Verdiems software product Surveyor, which would put computers on a sleep setting after two hours of idleness during the day, and after 45 minutes in the evening. Most of the approximately 11,000 computers on campus are constantly powered on, consuming 498.8 kilowatt hours on average per computer and 5,486,470 kilowatt hours annually, according to a report by Verdiem. With the Surveyor application, the total energy consumption of USF computers will decrease by as much as 57 percent.

Carbon emissions from computer energy consumption could be reduced by as much as 27,728 pounds, which equates to about 149,446 less gallons of fuel or 2,728 saved trees over a month and a half period, according to the report.

The main thing standing in the way of purchasing Surveyor, or a similar program, is finding a way to pay for the $231,220 it will cost over three years, something IT is in the process of working out.

But despite the costs, Verdiem predicts the system will save USF money in the long term.

Alex Berkov, Verdiems senior sales engineer, said the projected costs to USF woulddecrease by $300,300 in the first year, $315,315 in the second year and $331,081 in the third year if Surveyor is installed.

Verdiems Director of Sales Quentin Mellett said USF can expect to see about $20 in savings per computer.

weeks, Verdiem and IT have been using special software, provided by a $50,000 grant funded by the Student Green Energy Fee (SGEF) that all students pay 0.58 percent per credit hour for, on 1,200 to 1,500 computers at various computer labs and faculty and staff offices to monitor and collect data on computer usage for the possible future installation of Surveyor.

Currently, we are monitoring to see what the user states are, Eric Pergola, USF technology and systems manager, said. So if the user does not use their machine, were monitoring the keyboard and mouse movements for certain applications.

If the computers were to be placed on sleep settings at night, IT personnel could conduct computer updates, antivirus programs and other computer maintenance then.

They would use scripts to wake the computers up, make any updates or changes and put them back to sleep so students, faculty and staff dont encounter difficulties with their USF computers when they turn them on in the morning and see all the updates occur automatically.

The SGEF will also finance the installation of Surveyor or a similar application on at least 1,500 USF computers by the end of the year, said Ken Christianson, USF professor of computer science and engineering, said.

Christianson said by the end of the year, USF hopes to invest in a program that will bring a return on investments.

At minimum, we want to recover the $50,000 student money, he said.