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Power Down! Simple Ways to Reduce Energy Consumption

by Worldchanging Seattle local blogger, Serena Batten:

Recently, at Ignite Seattle!, a bi-monthly event for geeks and makers, Avi Geiger, a hardware architect, gave a talk on power consumption that reminded me to "turn it off". Paraphrasing from his talk, turning off your computer can save you about $84 per year on your electric bill. Here's how he came up with that figure:

Your average household lightbulb is 100w. If you leave it on for a month it equals about 720KWh (kilowatt hours) of power consumption, which costs you about $7 per month or $84 per year. Your standard desktop computer uses about the same amount of power as a standard lightbulb.

By turning off your computer when you're done, you can cut your power consumption and your electric bill. Putting the computer in sleep or standby mode is nearly as good, as long as you don't use screensavers. You can also optimize your laptop to save power, and thus battery life.

Geiger's full, five-minute talk is viewable here. Deepak Singh, a local contributor for Worldchanging Seattle, also pointed me to another post on this topic.

Described as "infotainment" by one attendee, Ignite Seattle! combines project-based contests and lightning talks. The next event is planned for April 5. Watch for the speaker line up here.

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Plugging everything into a surge protector and then turning that off at night -- or when you're done -- can also save power. That's especially true for home electronics because they draw power from the line even when they're turned off (phantom load).

Stop your appliances from partying when you're out!

Posted by: Nathan on 3 Mar 07

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Stephan Schildberg,

Posted by: Stephan Schildberg on 4 Mar 07

I've used a Kill-a-Watt monitor to look at a few computers, and I've come up with numbers similar to the above ($85/yr).

A couple tidbits:

- an "energy star" monitor will behave when the computer is off and pull very little

- my cable modem and hub draw very little

- i junked my powered speakers because I found them to be power hogs, and viewsonic lcd monitor (energy star) has built in speakers.

- if you really want guilt-free 7x24 computing, punt on the desktop and just get a notebook. Plugged in and on, it will use less power than everybody else's sometimes-on desktops.

Posted by: odograph on 4 Mar 07

powered speakers generally have their own [off] switch on the desk units. it's sort of surprising that the modern sub-woofer doesn't sleep well!

Posted by: hibiscus on 4 Mar 07

I think that should be 72 kWh rather than 720 (100W * 24 hr * 30 days /1000 Wh per kWh)

Posted by: Fat Knowledge on 4 Mar 07



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