Campus Thin Clients Save Enough Energy to Power 15 Homes for a Year

 Image by Peter Astbury

Over the past three years, IT Services has replaced 606 traditional computers with thin clients. Thin clients are computer terminals that are connected to a keyboard, mouse and monitor that have jacks and ports for USB and other devices. These thin clients have no hard drive or storage, as they remote into the University server to access our virtual desktop infrastructure.

The energy savings of thin clients are astounding. Suppose that our typical PC consumes an average of 30 Kwh per month. Then these 606 computers would have needed 218,160 Kwh of electricity to run this year. Using thin clients (consumes 8 Kwh per month on average), translates into a 73% energy savings (159,984 Kwh), which is enough energy to power 15 homes for an entire year.

In addition to consuming a lot less energy, they also yield additional reductions in our carbon footprint: a single thin client can be used twice as long as your traditional PC.



  • U.S. Energy Information Administration – EIA – Independent Statistics and Analysis. (n.d.). Retrieved April 20, 2016, from
  • Wikimedia Commons, image by Peter Astbury. Retrieved April 20, 2016, from