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5 Computer Myths That Waste Energy

  • Sleep mode is good enough. While the sleep mode in today’s computers uses minimal electricity (15 watts or less for Energy Star–certified ones, and as low as 2W for laptops), it’s intended for when you step away from the computer for a couple hours, not overnight.
  • Turning computers off at night wears them out. A computer today is designed to be turned off 40,000 times. At a rate of once per day, it would take 109 years to fail.
  • Quitting documents is the same as quitting applications. Applications idling in the background still use power (as I discovered when I asked the Apple store about my battery’s short lifespan). According to my laptop’s Activity Monitor, Photoshop uses 2% of my CPU and Word uses 1.5%, even with no documents open.
  • Screensavers save energy. Screensavers were never intended to save electricity, just to prevent burn-in on old CRT monitors. They can use twice as much energy, and even stop the computer from going into sleep mode.
  • I’ll remember to turn it off. You might most of the time, but not always. So use your computer’s automatic settings as a backup. On Macs this is found under System Preferences, Energy Saver. The EPA recommends putting hard drives to sleep after 30–60 minutes and monitors after 5–20 minutes.

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Many of these suggestions will end up saving only a few cents a month, but they take less effort than picking up a penny on the sidewalk. Why wouldn’t you use them?

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Pingback from Pragmatic Environmentalism
Time November 5, 2010 at 8:42 pm

[...] Mother Jones article seems especially appropriate on the heels of my computer myths post. Seriously, people, use your energy savings [...]

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