Saving Power through Your Computer Settings

We have entered into an age where Computers rule our world.  Computers, though they help us to avoid paper, use up a lot of energy.  The Pew Research Center found that in 2009, 74% of adults were regularly using the Internet; this does not include teenagers who often use computers more than adults.  We don’t just have one computer to work on; we have computers at work, home, and school.  Keeping track of how many computers we use throughout the day would be a great task and using all of these computers consumes so much energy.


A Dell 19-inch flat panel monitor uses over 34 watts per hour.  However, that’s just for the screen; that does not include the energy used for the whole computer. “That means every year the carbon emissions from the monitor alone will cost $10 and are almost the same as driving 850 miles, according to a handDell calculator.” A typical Dell computer uses 112 watts per hour, and that’s a lot of energy just for one machine for only one hour.  With what I have just told you try to picture the computer lab at your local library or school with 30+ computers all of which are turned on.  This is a lot of energy to be wasting when most of the computers are not even being used.  However, most these computers have a power saving setting that turns off the machines when they haven’t been used for a period of time.  Your computer has the same settings so you can save a lot of energy just by knowing the settings on your home computer or laptop.

Unfortunately for us and our planet, it’s difficult to function in today’s society without the use of a computer.  But, by following these simple tips you can reduce your computers energy consumption:

1. Put your computer on sleep mode. – The US Department of Energy recommends that you use the power down or sleep mode on your computers to save energy.  Sleep is a power-saving state.  Sleep saves all open documents and programs, and allows the computer to quickly resume full power operation when you want to start working again.  Follow this link for more information

2. Turn off your computers monitor. – According to the Guide to Green Living turning off your computer monitor, when it’s not in use, can also help save energy.  As I previously stated a typical Dell computer uses 112 watts per hour so turning off your computer monitor will save a lot of energy.  Follow this link if you want to learn more on computers and monitors and when you should turn them off.

3. Avoid using screen savers. – Rather than cutting the amount of energy consumed by your monitor, screen savers actually use the monitor at full capacity.

4.  Turn down the brightness on your computer. – Adjusting your computer settings to turn down the brightness will decrease the amount of energy used by the monitor.

5. Put your computer settings on hibernate. – The Natural Resources Defense Council (NRDC) recommends setting your computer to hibernate after around 30 minutes of inactivity.  This can save energy without turning off your computer. During the hibernate mode the current state of the system is saved to the hard drive and the system will power down. When a user turns the system power back on, the saved information is read from the hard disk, restoring the last used settings. Hibernate mode is similar to sleep mode, however in sleep mode the power cannot be shut off.  Follow this link for more information

6. Turn your computer off when not in use. – This will definitely reduce the amount of energy your computer uses.  No programs or documents are saved and no power goes to the hardware.  The system is dead and when you turn it back on the computer has to work through all its checking and loading routines before you can use it.

7. Unplug your computer at night– Even if your computer has been switched off, the charger is still using electricity. Unplugging the charger after using your computer can save large amounts of energy.

By following all of these tips, you will be able to save energy and money.  Make sure to follow all of these tips with your computers at home and at work.  The links I have provided you have even more information to help you save energy.  Here is another link with loads of different information, not mentioned in the above post, on how to save energy when using your computer. Good luck!

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