County thins energy bills
- By Nicholas Morehead
- Jun 27, 2001
Contra Costa County in California could save more than $224,000 a year in
electricity costs by using thin appliances rather than personal computers.
The thin-client appliances tap central servers running Microsoft Corp. Windows
applications and display the applications on a desktop monitor. They use
energy-efficient processors and have no internal moving parts such as fans
or disk drives, enabling the devices to use only seven to 10 watts of electricity
per hour. Personal computers can use as much as 200 watts per hour.
Wyse Technology estimates that the thin-client appliances save the county
an average of 90 watts per hour per appliance. And with local energy costs
continuing to rise, county officials say savings could top $224,000 per
Steve Steinbrecher, the county's chief information officer, said the energy
savings from the thin clients is an added bonus from a product county officials
wanted to buy anyway.
"In 1996, we were looking around during the design phase of what was to
become our county [enterprise resource planning] system," Steinbrecher said,
"and I basically said I didn't want people screwing around at their desktops
downloading things they shouldn't, saving files on to their hard drives
that didn't need to be there."
Maintenance costs have dropped 38 percent in four years because there are
fewer hard drives.
Steinbrecher said Costa County (www.co.contra-costa.ca.us)
was the first California county to embrace thin-client technology on a broad
scale, having set up thin-client applications for more than 1,500 employees.
Steinbrecher plans to introduce more thin-appliance products to replace
older existing PCs as they break.