How to: save energy when using your computer

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The Independent Online

Australian non-profit organization Green I.T calculates that a typical desktop computer uses 868 kW of electricity per year, therefore if a large company use 20,000 computers the amount of CO2 produced is equivalent to the annual green house gas emissions produced by 2,384 passenger vehicles.


In an effort to address the issues of environmentally friendly IT, consumer electronics company Logitech announced on November 1 the launch of the new solar powered wireless K750 solar powered keyboard. The K750 is expected to reach European and American markets in January 2011 and retail for €79.99. The K750 and other solar powered keyboards such as the SlimStar 820 Solargizer by Genius are designed to reduce computer related energy consumption, however a number of governmental and non-profit organizations such as the Natural Resources Defence Council (NRDC) and the US Department of Energy offer advice on how use your computer in a more environmentally friendly way.

Some of the top tips are:

1. Sleep- The US Department of Energy recommends using the 'power down' or ' sleep' mode to save energy when the computer is not in use but when tuning it off would be impractical.

2. Turn off the monitor- According to environmental organization The Guide to Green Living turning off the monitor when not using the computer can also help save energy.

3. Screen savers -avoid using screen savers, rather than reducing the amount of energy consumed by your monitor they actually use the monitor at full capacity.

4.  Brightness - turning down the brightness settings on the computer screen decreases the amount of energy used by the monitor.

5. Hibernate- the NRDC recommends programming the computer to hibernate after around 30 minutes of inactivity. Similar to 'sleep' mode this can save energy without having to turn the computer off.

6. Turn it off - turning the computer off when it is not in use will greatly reduce the amount of energy it consumes.

7. Time management - If the computer is not being used for work try to compress all computer related tasks into a compact time frame rather than regular short bursts of usage throughout the day.

8.  Configure- learning how to configure the power settings on your computer for optimal energy usage, instructions on how to do this will be included in the booklet or can be found at the website of Green I.T -

9. Energy Star - Energy Star is an internationally recognized energy rating system, Energy Star rated computers use significantly less power than non-'Energy Star' alternatives. A list of Energy Star rated computers can be found at .

10. Unplug - electronic chargers that remain warm after the appliance has been switched off are still using electricity, unplugging the charger after using the computer can save large amounts of energy.

More information can be found at the following websites: