PC Power Management

New computer software which makes inactive PCs turn off or power down automatically will save Sheffield Teaching Hospitals £70,000 and 350 tonnes of CO2. per year.

The new system makes sure the Trust computers automatically shut down if the user is logged out for more than 20 minutes. It also makes the screen go into low power mode after 10 minutes of inactivity and turns the PC off after 20 seconds of inactivity after 7pm.

To achieve the energy savings the Trust selected Sheffield-based Data Synergy’s PowerMAN software which divides each day into 15 minute monitoring periods. During each period the software records a number of different indicators to build up a picture of the PC usage pattern throughout the Trusts 7000 PCs – it does not include any information about specific users or their activity.

The system has been introduced as part of the Trusts ‘be green’ programme which works with staff to make sure ideas are put into practice and helps its hospitals and offices operate in a more environmentally friendly way.

PC power management poses particular challenges in a hospital environment. The hospital is a 24/7 operation and a key concern for the organisation was that any PC power down should not negatively impact patient care, patient safety or the effective delivery of the services.

Following the changes there was an average weekly decrease of 212,000 inactive PC operating hours which the was equivalent to a reduction of 69% of PC inactive hours and On average, 500 less PCs were turned on every week.

On a conservative basis the saving from the ‘shutdown project’ was estimated to be worth 300 tonnes of CO2 per annum and £60,000 per annum, which is based on a conservative estimated average PC consumption per hour (0.06KW) and average cost of electricity (£0.10/kWh).

A separate saving was also made when all PCs (with the exception of Picture Archiving Communication System (PACS) computers in Theatres) had their screensaver set to black.

This was to save on the processing power required for other screensaver settings. Savings from this aspect are difficult to quantify as it would depend on which screensavers were being used previously; however a rough average was assumed at around £10,000 and 50 tonnes of CO2.


Insulation is a great way to improve how green our buildings are. As part of the Estates Directorates initiative to reduce carbon emissions and energy costs the department have looked at how well insulated our buildings on the Northern Campus are. 

Roof spaces and cavity walls were surveyed and the amount of insulation was measured and further improvements are being made where possible to increase the insulation which in turn will reduce both CO2 and heating costs.

Savings from this insulation project year on year = £76,000

508 tonnes of CO2 saved - Imagine 508 hot air balloons full less CO2 released into our sky

2,620,448 kWh - A similar amount to the gas used by over 200 homes

This saving provides 8% of our 2015 target reduction in CO2.

(10% reduction on our 2007/08 baseline).

For more information on Be Green, please contact katarina.mccartney@sth.nhs.uk 

Be Green Representative training programme

 Our mission is to have a positive impact on local health and wellbeing while reducing our negative impacts on the climate and environment. We will work in partnership with staff, patients, visitors and the community, to ensure their personal mission statement is to 'Be Green’.

Sustainable Development is everyone’s responsibility. Working directly with staff, in the areas only they know best, the Be Green Team is hoping to make significant savings by reducing wastage and being more efficient in many aspects of hospital life.

To date (Aug 2011), we have trained 169 members of staff as Be Green Reps (BGRs) and we still have more to train. The aim is to get a BGR in every area of the Trust.

Each person attends a two-hour training session where they learn why it is important for a hospital to ‘be green’, including the drivers and the benefits. We then consider how the trainees themselves behave at home and relate this to how they can bring ideas into the work environment. They are then taken on ‘virtual walkabout’ of a hospital where they come across different issues where energy o water is being wasted and methods are suggested on how to avoid these issues. Other areas are then discussed, such as the options staff at the Trust for reducing their car use, for re-using and recycling, for reducing wasted resources and for being healthy and well.

After this, a date is set for the BGR to be met by the Sustainable Development Manager and together they do an actual walkabout of the BGRs geographic or departmental area. The BGRs are given a log book, which is a checklist of various aspects to look out for. After the walkabout, the BGRs are asked to complete the log book and submit an electronic version to the Sustainable Development Manager. Issues and ideas identified in the log book (which range from poster/label requests, to general maintenance, to energy schemes, to ‘lessons learnt’ issues) are collated and where financially viable, are actioned appropriately.

Being a BGR is a fun, thought provoking, important addition to the wide variety of roles who have signed up to be their areas BGR. Comments from the BGRs include:

“Brilliant - one of the best training sessions I have attended.”

“Very informative, thought inspiring; looking forward to implementing ideas”

“A really useful outcome was getting to meet the other BGRs”

“Let’s start now!”

The Be Green campaign provides regular contact and support to the BGRs. Be Green Representatives are volunteers who are absolutely vital to the success of the campaign. They promote the key messages of Be Green to their colleagues, encouraging everyone to share responsibility for the environmental impact we all have. BGRs act as ‘eyes and ears’ of the campaign team, as well as acting as a conduit for campaign materials and initiatives, both electronically, but also importantly, by methods which don’t solely rely on email (to reach those who don’t work on PCs).

The STH yearly Tower Challenge

On the 24th June 2010 staff at STH were encouraged to ‘take the stairs to the top’.


The Central Campus, Royal Hallamshire Hospital building has 22 floors, 13 of which were include in this years Tower Challenge, that’s 286 steps or 50 meters! 44 members of staff took to the stairs, some timing themselves to see how quickly they could get to the top and back again, others taking a more leisurely stroll up and down. There were also two teams, the “Whippets” and the “Behemoths”, who challenged each other to a duel to see which team could complete the climb and decent fastest (with fancy dress included!). Refreshments were provided along the way, marshals encouraged the groups and kept an eye out for any issues, motivational posters were at every level and free discount lunch voucher and badge was available for all who took part. The Sheffield Eagles also took part, with a team of three players, Misi Taulapapa, Tim Bergin and Quentin Laulu-Togagae, who raced up and down the stairs to kick off the stamina challenge (Misi was the fastest).


It was a fun and not too tiring day! Most were amazed at how easy it was to climb that many flights and felt driven to do it more often. Ultimately, the event encourages more people to take to the stairs, rather than relying on the very busy lifts. That way, staff can keep fitter and healthier and we might save some electrical energy along the way.


The event, organised by ‘be green’ and the ‘health and wellbeing campaign’ was part of the wider Health and Wellbeing Festival, which was held during June and July.




Additional Information

If you have any suggestions or questions regarding Be Green issues, please get in touch with Katarina McCartney, Sustainable Development Manager 

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