FARMINGTON – University of Maine at Farmington is the first college in Maine, and among the first in the nation, to sign on to participate in “Power Down for the Planet,” a national challenge designed to encourage campus communities to become involved in the fight against climate change by reducing their computer energy consumption. This eco-conscious effort will reward participating institutions with potentially significant energy cost savings and the opportunity to lead the way in reducing our impact on the environment.
Sponsored by the Climate Savers Computing Initiative – a computer industry organization founded by Google and Intel – the contest asks university students, faculty and staff to commit to greener computer practices by setting their computers to sleep mode when not in use. This action can prevent nearly half a ton of CO2 from entering the atmosphere and save more than $60 in annual energy costs per computer. According to the Climate Savers’ website, their mission is to reduce global CO2 emissions from the operation of computers by 54 million tons per year, a collective savings of $5.5 billion in energy costs by 2010.
“This contest is an innovative way to raise campus awareness about global warming and how each of us can do our part every time we turn our computers on,” said Tom O’Donnell, manager of the UMF network and server systems and organizer of UMF’s efforts. “It’s exciting to imagine winning the national contest, but just cutting both the University’s carbon footprint and energy bill will be an automatic win for everyone.”
The contest results will be based on which campus can recruit the highest percentage of their campus members to pledge to use their computer’s power management option and to purchase Energy Star qualified computers when available. Additionally, “Power Down for the Planet” is asking participants to create original educational videos that focus on the importance of energy efficient computing to the Earth’s environment. Cash prizes and laptop computers are among the awards for this part of the competition.
The contest runs from March 23 to April 17, with plans to announce the results on Earth Day, April 22. The contest website can be found at www.powerdownfortheplanet.org.