Dialing down energy demand
A few years ago, North Kingstown, R.I., was experiencing temporary power outages in a section of its grid, which, the town’s IT department noticed, corresponded to times of peak energy consumption in town. As part of a citywide initiative to reduce energy use, the town began retrofitting its facilities with energy-efficient windows and heating and air conditioning systems, and the IT department began reducing the energy demand of the town’s computer equipment.
Last spring, the town contracted with Round Rock, Texas-based Dell to begin replacing old desktop computers and servers with energy-saving models. It also joined the company’s “Plant a Tree For Me” program, which plants trees to help offset the carbon emissions from generating the electricity required to power the equipment. So far, 10 servers and 225 desktop computers have been replaced, and more than 80 percent of the 400 employees in North Kingstown City Hall have new desktop computers. The desktop computers alone have saved 91,000 kilowatt hours of energy — a $13,000 annual energy cost savings — and avoided nearly 64 tons of carbon dioxide emissions, which is equal to nearly 150,000 miles of auto travel.
Over the next two years, the rest of the town’s equipment will be switched out, which will save it more than $21,000 each year. IT Director Jason Albuquerque plans to turn next to other initiatives, such as server virtualization, more online services for residents and creating a more open and transparent government. “North Kingstown is committed to deploying technology that decreases energy consumption and reduces the town’s carbon footprint,” Albuquerque says. “Our investment promises energy and cost savings over the life of the equipment, as well as the peace of mind that we’re better managing our collective resources.”
Project: Computer energy reduction
Jurisdiction: North Kingstown, R.I.
Agency: IT Department
Vendor: Round Rock, Texas-based Dell