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Energy Saving Guidelines For PCS
Personal computers consume significant amounts of energy. Research shows that nobody is using desktop computers for the majority of the time they are running, because people leave them on 24 hours a day. Idling computer monitors across the United States waste approximately $900 million in energy costs each year. By using monitor power management techniques, we could contribute to the equivalent of planting 1,000 to 6,000 square feet of trees or preventing one to four weeks' worth of car emissions.
The federal government's Energy Star program offers a free download with easy, step-by-step instructions that will enable your monitor to go into sleep mode. Using monitor sleep settings does not sacrifice computer performance or interfere with network connections. Rather, it may actually prolong the life of your monitor. And waking up a monitor is as simple as touching the keyboard or mouse, both of which quickly restore the display.
Sleep mode differs from screen saver programs, which merely prevent images from burning into your monitor screen but do nothing to save energy. In fact, screen savers that display moving images prompt your system to use as much power as when you are actively using the computer.
A misconception is the belief that computers and monitors purchased with the Energy Star logo are already energy efficient. In reality, they have built in energy conservation features but your computer cannot take full advantage of these built in energy saving mechanisms until the power management features are enabled and configured.
DOING YOUR PART
Beyond using the monitor sleep mode feature, you can also help reduce your computer's energy consumption by developing good power management habits. A few suggestions include:
- Checking e-mail or using the Internet only when you need to, rather than first thing in the morning so you don't turn on your computer at the start of the day and leave it running;
- Grouping your computer tasks during one or two parts of the day, leaving the system off during other times;
- Turning on different pieces of equipment one at a time, instead of all at once with the switch on a power strip; and
- Turning off your entire computer system, or at least your monitor and printer when you go to lunch or a meeting.