Noventri chops power consumption, bills, and proves it

November 2, 2010 by Dave Haynes

The guys at Noventri have taken what I would describe as an unorthodox approach to marketing in the last couple of years.

Without belaboring it (you can search if you want off the home page), my eyebrows automatically arch when I see a press release from the Maryland-based company.

The brows were up again Monday when a release moved about how Noventri’s “Eco-Flight Board” technology and green digital signage player can save roughly “$250 per screen per year over standard PC technology.”

Hmmm, I thought. That seems like a pretty big savings, given the US Department of Energy suggests a typical PC would use $72 a year in juice at market electricity rates. How do you shave $250 off $72?

So I asked.

Noventri’s Andrew Hoffman got back to me quickly, and ‘splained things. What the release is really trying to convey (there’s a certain lack of clarity) is that the energy savings is for both the media player and the juice-guzzling LCD.

What they do is use a fanless player that only uses four watts or less of power to drive a screen, and they tested, tweaked and got consumption way down on an LCD by adjusting it to half-brightness.

“Our tests showed that we saved 90 watts by turning the brightness down on our display to half,” says Hoffman. “This only makes sense, of course, if you reduce it enough for the display to still be viewable.”

“Our display looks great at half brightness. We set it next to a plasma and it’s still brighter so we felt this was the ideal setting to limit power consumption. It especially looks great with our SF-100e hooked up to it. Total power draw is 154 watts. This ends up being 1,349 kWh/year running 24/7. The new cost per year is $134.90. That’s a savings of $250.”

The full rationale is here.

Interesting. On a day to day basis, it probably seems trivial but energy costs over weeks, months and years, across many units, can roll up to a big number. It will be more and more of an issue as energy costs climb. Cranking the brightness way down would worry me a little, but seeing is believing, I suppose. One of the messages here is that it is the display much more than the PC that’s sucking energy – though LED-backlits certainly help address that.

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