Do you know where your computer was last night at 11:30pm? Do you know what it was doing? Chances are it was left on and doing absolutely nothing. It is difficult to say what the average computer and computer monitor draws in energy. There are a wide variety of computers and the way they are used varies even more. In my experience, and taking the mean average of all the finding I have come across, let us pretend that the average computer uses 147 watts. The computer I am currently typing on is consuming about 230 watts with a 750 watt power supply and two 22″ LCD monitors, but using a word processing program does not tax the machine. If I were to start editing video or playing a newer video game my draw would jump to over 300 watts since all of the components would be in full use. Enough of that statistical data, let’s bring on the math.
(Watts x Hours Used) / 1000 x Cost per kilowatt = Total Cost
Now if you have the 147 watt computer on 24/7/365 you would spend about $167 a year at $0.13/kw. That does not look too bad. Now think of a corporate office with about 100 employees on site. Still not bad? Now think of the world. It would be hard to state what the carbon footprint would be at since there are multiple resources used in creating electricity, but each of us can do our part.
Here at Credo Computer Repair and Services we train all of our clients in using less power when it comes to their computers and other pieces of technology. We set up all computers to go into standby (sleep), power the hard disk drives down and blank the monitors (screen savers are power drainers!). The other key idea that we try to ingrain is to shut the computer and the monitor completely off when you know you are going to be away from your computer for more than 24 hours. We have been building shoebox sized computers for use as a Windows Home Server (great for small offices as well) that only consume 35 watts, they also work great for those that only surf the Internet, e-mail and use productivity software like Microsoft Office. With one of these small computers and a 19″ LCD monitor you will consume less than 75 watts of power. The cost of these small computers are also less, and capable of paying for themselves.
When it comes to saving electricity and the planet the majority of us already know about compact fluorescent light bulbs (change your night lights to LEDs!), and that we should seal up our homes from air leaks, not run the A/C too cold or the furnace too hot, we should plan our driving and not waste fuel, and that we should recycle plastic bottle and aluminum cans. So what is your next step? How about making sure that your new purchases are environmentally friendly? And make sure that you recycle your computers and electronics properly and responsibly, they do not belong in the trash. Contact your local dump or search the phonebook or Internet for an electronics recycling center in your area. If you have electronics that are working you can donate them via Freecycle, which is a Yahoo Group with individual groups based on regions that post things that they want to give away. The other thing you can do with working computers is donate them, there is no tax write-off for a depreciated computer but there is the sense that you are helping out those less fortunate. We, at Credo Computers, accept any working computer and we never resell them, we install a free Linux distribution called Ubuntu and donate them to those in need (individuals and non-profits).