Is your computer running up your power bill?

January 30, 2009

Does your computer run around the clock, 24/7? If so, you’re missing out on an opportunity to knock a few dollars off of your monthly power bill.

Just this morning I measured my computer’s power use, and here’s the result. It uses 45 watts when it’s just on – let’s call that idling – and 105 watts when it’s thinking really hard. My monitor uses 55 watts. Add speakers, printer (off but still using a trickle of “phantom power”) and router, and the total power use of my system is 115 watts “at idle”, 175 watts when it’s thinking really hard.

That means that, if left on constantly “at idle”, a system like mine would consume nearly $100 in power per year. If that power came from coal, it would generate almost one tonne of greenhouse gases.

The solution? You can use sleep and hibernate settings, so your system drops into a power-saving mode when not used for a few minutes. (Click Control panel – Power options). And for even more savings, shut down your computer when it is not in use, and plug everything into a power bar that you can click off to completely eliminate those trickles of phantom power .

In the news

Let it blow, let it blow: New Brunswick’s first wind farm, Kent Hills, is now on line, producing enough power on a windy day for 17,000 homes. Three more are under construction. A recent study identified potential for 4,500 MW in NB – more than all the power presently used here.


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