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10 ways to save computing power

Is it really necessary to keep Photoshop, Word, Outlook, Safari and Internet Explorer all open at the same time?

By Karen Datko Jun 16, 2010 8:32AM

This post comes from Coupon Sherpa at partner blog Wise Bread.


Lurking within your office or home is a group of workaholics that are costing you money. Who are these offenders? They're your computer system.

The average computer wastes roughly half the power it draws from its energy source. This power never reaches the processor or other components, yet it creates heat that places extra demand on your cooling system. These energy vampires translate into higher bills and unnecessary greenhouse gas emissions.


Here are 10 easy fixes to protect your wallet without reducing your computer's capabilities:


Upgrade. Make energy efficiency Job One when shopping for a new computer or peripherals. Look for the Energy Star labels or check out the Climate Savers Computing product catalog.

Downsize. Switch to a laptop when you don't need the fuller capability of a desktop. Laptops typically consume less power and, hey, they can be used at a coffee house so you can get your caffeine fix.


Take a nap. Use the computer's and the monitor's sleep mode to save nearly half a ton of CO2 and more than $60 a year in energy costs.


Kill the screen saver. Screen savers make for pretty pictures but they aren't necessary on modern monitors. Studies show they actually consume more energy than if you simply dimmed or turned the monitor off when not in use.


Dim the screen. Turn down your monitor's brightness setting. The brightest setting on a monitor consumes twice the power used by the dimmest setting.


Nix the extras. Shut down such peripherals as printers, speakers and scanners when not in use.


Fight phantom power. Plug all your electronics into one power strip and switch it off when you're finished. If you want to avoid rebooting, put processors on a separate strip.


Minimize. Close unused or infrequently used applications. Is it really necessary to keep Photoshop, Word, Outlook, Safari and Internet Explorer all open at the same time?


Monitor energy use. Give your system a once over with a power meter that displays how much energy you're actually consuming.


Create a system. Establish multiple power schemes to address different usage models. For example, create a power scheme to play CDs that immediately shuts off your hard drive and monitor without putting your system into standby mode.


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