Zero-Client Computing in Office Settings: Energy Savings and Usability
Plug loads account for approximately 30% of commercial whole-building energy use. That means the United States spends about $60 billion per year on energy to keep devices running in our commercial buildings. About 10% of the entire building energy use is attributed to computing resources, which include both traditional laptop and desktop computers, as well as data centers that can host virtual machines (VMs) and enable teleworking trends. Teleworking and more flexible work environments are becoming increasingly popular options, and many business and building owners wonder whether hosting VMs on data center servers has the potential to save energy. To answer this question, researchers at the National Renewable Energy Laboratory (NREL) conducted a study comparing energy and usability of remote VMs (accessed through zero-client devices) with traditional laptop computers. The findings were published in Intelligent Buildings International in September 2018.