Energy saving tips for computers

April 23, 2008 9:40:16 AM PDT
If you know Kermit the Frog, then you also know it's not easy being green. But even Kermit might find it easier to go green these days when it comes to computers.

Computers can waste a lot of energy. Now consumers, businesses and computer manufacturers are starting to realize that and making changes because of it.

Computers have become a staple in most homes or offices.

PG&E says they soak up about 330 kilowatt hours of energy each year. They also waste a lot of energy.

Sebastian Rupley is West Coast Editorial Director of PC Magazine.

"Fifty percent of the power it consumes is not used and is unnecessary. So we're trying to bring those numbers down," said Rupley.

For a big business like Google, that can mean not only wasted energy, but a loss to its bottom line.

So the company put all its computers on "energy savings mode," and even built its own energy saving servers.

Google has joined with other high tech companies at www.climatesaverscomputing.org to ask individuals to join them in taking the pledge to save energy.

"Individuals basically make a pledge that they will buy efficient computers and they'll use power management--something they should all do," said Google Green Energy Czar Bill Weihl.

PC Magazine has come up with something new to make that easier for you. For the first time, the magazine is rating computers for energy efficiency and recyclability.

Top performers are being awarded with the PC Magazine green approved seal.

Winners include the Apple Mac Mini, Think Centre A61E and Dell Optiplex 755.

But going green won't be without some sacrifice.

"There might also be some issues where it actually costs companies a little bit of money to make a product more green than it otherwise would be. So you might have to pay slightly more," said Rupley.

But you can make that up with lower energy bills as Google has learned.

"It's absolutely saved us money, millions of dollars I'm sure overall for the company in terms of all the energy efficient measures that we take and the payback has typically been short, on the order of a few months, maybe as much as one or two years," said Weih.

For you at home, just a simple act like shutting down your computer when not using it can save you $60 a year.


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