Tuesday, April 29, 2008

No Power Use in Standby: New Zero-Watt Monitor

Computer monitors in standby mode will soon save far more energy. Fujitsu Siemens Computers has developed the world’s first monitor that requires no electricity at all in idle mode.

The innovation is based on a new switch in the monitor that shuts it down entirely when the computer signal is absent and turns it on again when the signal reappears. With this switch, the display saves several euros per year in power costs. Beginning in the summer of 2008, this “zero-watt monitor” will be sold for the price of a conventional monitor.

At the end of a work day, the same routine occurs in most offices when the computer is shut down. But the monitor usually stays on—it automatically enters standby mode when there is no signal from the computer. Despite the minimal power consumption, this idle mode can entail tens of thousands of euros in additional power costs per year for large companies with several thousand computers.

The zero-watt monitor from Fujitsu Siemens Computers was chosen as “Innovation of the Year” at this year’s CeBIT computer trade show. The primary component is a circuit element in the power supply unit of the monitor that is switched by the PC. As soon as the video signal of the computer subsides, a relay—an electrically powered switch—with two switching positions automatically interrupts the entire electrical circuit of the monitor. When the computer signal returns again, the low currents that then begin to flow across the interface are sufficient to trigger the relay and thereby restart the monitor.

The zero-watt monitor, which will initially be marketed to corporate customers beginning in the summer of 2008, adds to the range of “green” IT products sold by Fujitsu Siemens Computers. This is another component of the long-term strategy of the company, which also stresses environmental compatibility in its laptops, PCs and servers.

Several years ago, for instance, some of the Esprimo Professional PCs were the first systems to be certified with the “Blue Angel” environmental label. The Esprimo P Energy Saving Edition, uses as little as around 87 kilowatt hours in its standard configuration, less than half of the 183 kWh needed on average by nearly four-year-old office PCs.