Save the Planet, Radiologists: Turn off Your Workstations

November 1, 2011

OK, so saving the planet’s not quite as simple as turning off your computer. But radiologists can cut electricity use and save their practices money with judicious use of a workstation’s and monitor’s “off” switch when wrapping up for the day. That’s according to common sense - as well as a study in the November issue of the Journal of the American College of Radiology.

OK, so saving the planet’s not quite as simple as turning off your computer. But radiologists can cut electricity use and save their practices money with judicious use of a workstation’s and monitor’s “off” switch when wrapping up for the day.

That’s according to common sense - as well as a study in the November issue of the Journal of the American College of Radiology.

Prasanth M. Prasanna, MD, led a group who used watt meters to determine the electrical consumption and cost of running radiology workstations and monitors in active and standby states. Using an $0.11 cost per kilowatt hour (a number not including taxes and fees), Prasanna and colleagues measured electrical consumption at in the University of Maryland Medical Center’s radiology department.

They found that a given monitor left on 24/7 would consume between about 50 kilowatt hours (kWh) and 1,400 kWh, costing from $5.45 to $153.98. A single workstation left on 24/7 would use from about 456 kWh to 2,359 kWh, costing from $60 to $259.46. In aggregate, all workstations and monitors would use approximately 137,760 kWh, costing $15,153.55 for the year. That’s more than the annual consumption of 12 typical American households.

Shutting down equipment after an eight-hour day and on weekends would cut electricity consumption 76 percent, the researchers estimated, saving $9,225.

In addition to saving money, the researchers concluded, “Radiologist have the unique opportunity, as technological leaders, to direct energy efficiency measures as a means of cost savings and the reduction of airborne by-products from energy production to improve patients’ lives."