Computer Energy Saving Tips

Wondering About Your Computer's Energy Use?

A basic computer system - computer, monitor, and printer uses $35-140 worth of electricity a year. Most desktops use 80-160 watts of electricity, the same as one or two standard light bulbs. Laptop computers typically use a maximum of 15 watts.

"Energy Star" computers are energy-efficient computers, monitors, and printers that save energy to powering down and going to "sleep" when not being used reduce wear and tear, leading to extended life. This only indicates the ability to go into a low-power idle, nothing about energy use. Sleeping monitors still draw energy. If you're not sure your computer is energy star, look for the logo or be sure to ask.

Tips on using less energy with your computer
  • Buy Energy Star computers and equipment
  • Enable computer and monitor power management features. For Windows 98/2000/NT:
    1. Click "Start" at the bottom left side of your screen.
    2. Go to "Settings" and click on the "Control Panel."
    3. For Windows 98, open "Power Management." For Windows 2000/NT open "Power Options."
    4. Select the time (choose a short duration, e.g. 5 minutes, to get each item to sleep as soon as possible) for "System Standby," "Turn Off the Monitor," and "Turn Off Hard Disks."
    5. Click "Apply" and then click "OK."
  • Turn off your monitor whenever it will be idle for 15 minutes or more, and turning off the computer when it will be idle for two hours or more.
  • Paperless office - greater energy savings can be realized by reducing paper consumption than by improving the energy efficiency of printers or copiers. Manufacturing a piece of paper requires 10-70 times as much energy as the electricity it takes to print on it. Reduce paper waste:
    1. Minimize the number of copies and drafts printed. Modify documents on the screen and share with coworkers using disks.
    2. Use e-mail and avoid needless printing of e-mail messages.
    3. Use a small font size on large documents to save paper.
    4. Reuse waste paper. If waste paper is printed on one side, use the other side for printing drafts.
    5. Buy and use recycled paper.
  • Group your computer activities for completion once or twice a day, then leave your computer off the rest of the time.
  • Be aware that screen savers use almost as much energy as if the screen was in use.
  • Recycle print and laser-toner cartridges.
  • Reformat disks with outdated information and continue to use them
  • Consider using inkjet printers. They use 80 to 90 percent less energy than laser printers.
  • Share printers. Print on both sides of paper if possible.
  • Buy monitors that are as large as you need. A 17" monitor uses 30% more energy than a 15" monitor when both are active.