Climate Savers Computing – Saving energy at home

Earth Day

Saving energy at home

Using power management features on your computer can save more than 600 KWh of electricity and more than $60 a year in energy costs. That equates to nearly half a ton of CO2 – more than lowering your home thermostat by two degrees Fahrenheit in the winter or replacing six standard light bulbs with compact fluorescents1. Follow the steps below to ensure your computer is operating more efficiently.

Power Management Instructions

When enabled, power management places your monitor, hard drives and computer into a low-power “sleep” mode after a period of inactivity. A simple touch of the mouse or keyboard “wakes” the computer, hard drive and monitor in seconds. Power management features are standard in Windows and Macintosh operating systems.

The use of power management can reduce energy consumption and cooling costs, reduce noise, and prolong the battery life of laptop PCs. And when your PC consumes less power, you reduce your impact on the environment.

To improve the power efficiency of your PC, the Climate Savers Computing Initiative recommends the following power management settings:

  • Monitor/display sleep: Turn off after 15 minutes or less
  • Turn off hard drives/hard disk sleep: 15 minutes or less
  • System standby/sleep: After 30 minutes or less

Instructions for enabling power management vary by operating system. Click the links to the right for detailed instructions by operating system.

You can also download a printable PDF with instructions for enabling power management in all of the above operating systems.


Top 10 ways to reduce computing energy use
  1. Use computer and monitor power management. Doing so can save nearly half a ton of CO2 and more than $60 a year in energy costs.
  2. Don’t use a screen saver. Screen savers are not necessary on modern monitors and studies show they actually consume more energy than allowing the monitor to dim when it’s not in use.
  3. Buying a new computer? Make energy efficiency a priority while shopping for your PC and monitor. Look for the ENERGY STAR label or browse the Climate Savers Computing product catalog.
  4. Turn down the brightness setting on your monitor. The brightest setting on a monitor consumes twice the power used by the dimmest setting.
  5. Turn off peripherals such as printers, scanners and speakers when not in use.
  6. Fight phantom power; plug all your electronics into one power strip and turn the strip off when you are finished using your computer. When feasible, we also recommend unplugging the power strip from the wall to avoid high voltage surges which may occur during an electrical storm.
  7. Use a laptop instead of a desktop. Laptops typically consume less power than desktops.
  8. Close unused applications and turn off your monitor when you’re not using it.
  9. Use a power meter to find out how much energy your computer actually consumes and to calculate your actual savings.
  10. Establish multiple power schemes to address different usage models. For example, you can create a power scheme for playing music CDs that shuts off your hard drive and monitor immediately, but never puts your system into standby mode.


Additional Power Management Tips
  • Keeping your Virtual Private Network (VPN) connected may limit your system’s ability to enter standby mode. We recommend you disconnect your VPN when not actively using your corporate network.
  • Many popular computer games and other third party software packages that run in the background will not allow the computer to go to sleep – even if they are paused or the active window is minimized.
  • Some web sites or pages that have active banners and or animated advertisements will not allow the computer to sleep on its own and must be closed, or the computer put manually into a sleep state.
  • Advanced users may wish to establish multiple power schemes to address different usage models. For example, you can create a power scheme for playing music CDs that shuts off your hard drive and monitor immediately, but never puts your system into standby mode.
  • To maximize the battery life of your laptop computer, consider setting even more aggressive monitor, hard drive and standby/sleep settings for battery mode.


Did you Know?

U.S. college students could save more than 2.3 billion kilowatt hours
per year of electricity by enabling power saving features on their
desktop PCs. That equals an annual savings of more than $200 million in
energy costs and a 1.8 million-ton reduction of CO2 emissions from the
operation of computers –equivalent to taking more than 350,000 cars off
the road.7






© 2008 Climate Savers Computing Initiative.
Climate Savers® is a trademark or registered trademark of WWF, the international conservation organization used under license.
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