University of Pittsburgh
January 14, 2003

University of Pittsburgh Offers Free Software to Conserve Energy Through Energy Star Program "Sleep" mode software could save the University As much as $500,000 annually

Contact:  412-624-4147

January 15, 2003

A good night's sleep is more than a strategy for healthy living; it's also the perfect way to preserve the environment and hold down energy costs at the University of Pittsburgh. Sometimes, in fact, the most important thing a computer at Pitt can count is sheep.

In these days of increasing demand for the consumption of energy, Pitt's Division of Facilities Management and the Department of Computing Services and Systems Development are offering free energy-saving software to the Pitt community in conjunction with the Energy Star program, a partnership of the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency and the U.S. Department of Energy.

A new Web site,, provides faculty, students, and staff access to software and instructions to put their computers at Pitt into low-power "sleep" mode when they are not in use. Members of the Pitt community also are invited to use the Web site to improve energy conservation in their home computers.

Using monitor sleep settings does not sacrifice computer performance or interfere with network connections. Instead, it might prolong the life of a computer monitor. And waking a sleeping monitor is as simple as touching the keyboard or mouse.

"Sleep mode differs from screen saver programs, which merely prevent images from burning into a monitor screen while doing nothing to save energy," said Jinx Walton, director of Computer Services and Systems Development. "In fact, screen savers that display moving images cause a computer to use as much power as when it is in use."

"It is estimated that every 43 computers programmed with the software would save the equivalent of one acre of trees," said Ana Maria Guzman, associate vice chancellor for Facilities Management. "The one place where we're downright wasting energy is in computer monitors. There's really no reason why that should happen."

According to Facilities Management estimates, if everyone using a computer at the University would put their monitors into sleep mode, the University could save as much as $500,000 annually, conserving enough energy to power 6,005 homes for a month.

The University is more wired than ever, so much so that the approximately 26,000 computers on main campus generate more than $1 million in energy costs a year. Yet few people use their computers the majority of time the computers are running; many computers, in fact, remain on 24 hours a day.

The consumption of energy in a technological society is ever-increasing, and the University is mirroring this trend, with more computers being added across campus, central air conditioning gradually being installed in such existing buildings as the Cathedral of Learning, and the proliferation of high-powered lasers and other scientific research instrumentation in Pitt's laboratories.

"This campaign is just one of the many efforts the University is making to conserve energy, among them equipping buildings with motion sensor lighting, better electric metering, and sophisticated controls and energy management systems that allow us to adjust temperatures in buildings at night and on weekends," Guzman said.

Members of the Pitt community who use the new software are eligible to receive a free "stress sheep." Beginning Jan. 21, the first 200 people to download the software or activate existing sleep mode settings, print out the stress sheep certificate, and present it at the William Pitt Union Information Desk with their valid ID will receive the free gift.

To download the software, visit E-mail questions about the conservation program to For technical assistance, call Pitt's Technology Help Desk, available 24 hours a day, at 412-624-4357.