Power Conservation

See also: Electricity | Hardware | Economics | Environmentalism

Reducing the amount of electricity used by your computer, saving money. Average PCs and Monitors will consume around 200 watts per hour while idling. This can amount to about $50/year savings.

Please feel free to post your ideas for using less power or technologies which are energy efficient.

Table of contents 1 Unplug it
2 Monitor
3 Hard Drive and Suspension
4 BIOS power-saving features
5 Laptops
6 Linux
7 Printers
8 Thinking Bigger: Electricity, Voting and Elections =
9 Related

Unplug it

Contrary to common sense, even though something is turned off, it STILL uses electricity. Unplug a device entirely from the wall while on vacation or when convenient.


Generally, the highest electricity use comes from a computer monitor and the easiest step is to have it go into a “sleep” mode after a certain amount of time away.

Hard Drive and Suspension

Other aspects of the computer, such as a full power-off or spin-down of hard drives is often debated. This comes from the fact that moving parts tend to break down during start up and shut down rather than during use. Often, starting and stopping a machine rarely is the best way to keep it running.

BIOS power-saving features

Most major Operating Systems have power-saving features (In Windows, check Start Menu – Control Panel), not all are available until you enable them via BIOS. Check your documentation or vendor Web site to find the key to get into BIOS while your computer is starting up.

Macintosh systems, because they have one manufacturer, have standardized very good power management features. Most Macintosh processors (usually made by IBM and Motorola) use far less power than most PC counterparts. G3’s use 4 1/2 to 6 watts of power and, G4’s, 5-14 watts while PC processors range from 30-100 watts/hour. Check your “Energy Saver” control panel for more options.


Laptop screens and flat-panel-type monitors consume only 20-30 watts compared to ordinary monitors that take from 70-150. Further enabling power-save functions can increase battery life between recharges and overall.


See: “Linux Ecology Howto (http://www.tldp.org/HOWTO/Ecology-HOWTO/)” (and a mirror of the document (http://www.faqs.org/docs/Linux-HOWTO/Ecology-HOWTO.html)).

Since Linux computers generally have a very high uptime, whether a desktop or server, power saving features such as hdparm, a tool to help hard drives spin down after the computer is idle, can help.

Often, the higher a version of the Linux Kernel, the better power save features it provides.


Use a printer with a duplexing mode, or one that prints on both sides. If your printer doesn’t allow for double-sided printing, try what some programs like Microsoft Word use: select “odd pages.” Then, put the paper back in the printer on its reverse side and print again, selecting “even pages” this time. You may need to print a test page to find out the necessary orientation.

Thinking Bigger: Electricity, Voting and Elections =

Vote for canditates on the Green ticket, a group more likely to enact policy which conserves electricity and other usage measures which benefit everyone rather than a small special interest. Once in power, Green candidates would more likely to create strong national and regionals bodies that adopt stronger energy-conservation measures. Energy production would ideally have to undergo this sort of major reform to enable a very dense and universal network of computer hardware.

They would also devise efficiency programs and conservation habits like energy-efficient building standardsAt the same time they would invest in renewable energy research and support sustainable local food systems rather than relying on transport of foods from thousands of kilometres away.


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