Computer sleep mode software installed at KGH

News / Technology
By Peter Jeffrey

New program will help KGH become more energy efficient

Kingston General Hospital has installed special, new software on hundreds of PCs that will automatically put them into a sleep mode during periods of inactivity.

"This program is an easy way for us to save energy and money," says Allan McLuskie, Director of Facilities Management. "We estimate it will free up about $34,000 a year that we can then put back into patient care."

The software is set to go live on Friday, January 31. To get things rolling, our Information Management (IM) department first carried out a careful audit of all the PCs in use at KGH. It then began installing the energy saving software on about 1,250 of them. The remaining PCs are, for the moment, exempted from the program.

Here's how the software will work. If a computer hasn't been used for more than 20 minutes, it will first put the computer's screen into an energy-saving sleep mode. To turn it back on, all the user has to do is wiggle the mouse.

The next step is to put the hard drive itself into sleep mode. This happens if the computer hasn't been used for more than two-hours during weekdays, between the hours of 7 a.m. to 6 p.m. During evenings, overnights and weekends, the hard drive will go to sleep after one hour of inactivity. The computer wakes up easily though. All you have to do is hit any key on the keyboard. On some machines you may have to push the lower power button once to fire it up.

"You may not think running a computer and its monitor uses a lot of energy, but put them all together and it adds up fast. With this program, we expect to save 390,000 kilowatt-hours of energy and save the environment the equivalent of about 66 tons of greenhouse gases," says McLuskie.

KGH is one of the first hospitals in the Province of Ontario to be implementing this kind of sleep-mode technology. It's part of our overall effort to be more energy efficient with the help of our partner Honeywell. This latest phase of our energy project also included upgrades to the new air handling systems in the Burr wing and new windows on all sides of the Watkins building.