Politecnico di Milano - Italy
The monthly electricity bill at Politecnico di Torino now exceeds EUR 150 000, an increase of 218% since 1993, largely due to the proliferation of electronic systems across the campus. As a result, the institution set itself the goal of reducing power consumption across its networked devices.
To reduce the number of PCs powered on, the institution implemented PoliSave, a centralized web-based architecture which allows users to automatically schedule the power state of their PCs. The server component remotely triggers power-up and power-down events by controlling local software that handles features such as wake-on-LAN (WoL) on network cards and hibernation.
The benefit is that the daily uptime of PCs managed by PoliSave is 9.7 hours, while the daily uptime for other PCs is 15.9 hours. The annual energy savings is 219 kW, which translates to over EUR 250 000.
The institution started monitoring a number of Transmission Control Protocol (TCP) ports 39 in order to scan which devices were left on and idle.
Analysis showed that, of a total of 9 000 registered devices, over 3 500 computing devices are on during the day, with as many as 1 840 of them were running during the night. While most Unix devices are left on, possibly due to the operation as a server, the largest category of devices, desktop PCs running either Windows or Linux, accounted for 30% of all active devices during the day, and 40% of active devices during the night. In effect, the devices turned on at night were consuming around 35-40% of the institution’s total power consumption.
As future work, we want to customize the monitor capability of PoliSave, so that individual users can track the power consumption of their PCs. Another future topic is to introduce active learning techniques in order to track the user activity and then automatically compute the best power scheme to apply for each user.
PoliSave is being extended to the whole set of Campus PCs, and other Italian Universities are studying how to deploy it.