By Jake Westrich, EcoPhone Systems, LLC
Computers and other office equipment are vital to the everyday functions and productivity of most businesses. They power our employees and our companies, but they also drain power and raise our energy bills. Limiting the energy waste of our office equipment can conserve resources and prolong the lives of our machines.
When Should You Turn Off Your Personal Computer?
There are obvious impracticalities to powering off your computer every time you step away from it. That would be a great inconvenience, since it usually takes a few minutes for a computer to turn on. There is also a small surge in energy whenever a computer is turned on, so turning it off and on too frequently could actually use more energy.
The U.S. Department of Energy recommends turning off:
- Your monitor if you aren’t using your computer for more than 20 minutes
- Both your CPU and monitor if you are not using your computer for more than two hours1
One argument against powering off a computer is that turning it on and off too frequently may have a negative impact on the life of the device. Generally speaking, the less time a computer is on, the longer it will last, so turning off your computer should be a net gain.
Activate Your Sleep Mode
Make sure to check your computer’s power down or sleep mode settings. An unused computer that is in sleep mode will consume considerably less energy than an unused computer that is humming along at full capacity.
Power down and sleep modes should not be confused with screen savers, which are typically not energy savers. In some cases, power-down features do not work when a screen saver is activated.
Beware of Standby Power
Standby power is the electric power consumed by electronic appliances while they are switched off. Many types of electronic equipment drain power even while they seem to be turned off, because they are in fact in standby mode. Standby power can be as high as 10-15 watts per device.2 An easy method of prevention is to plug all of your computer station electronics (monitor, tower, printer, fax, etc.) into a power strip or surge protector with an on/off switch. When none of the electronics are in use, turn off the switch to prevent standby power drain.
Every unit of energy conserved reduces the environmental impact of energy use. Make energy conservation a habit at your business and enjoy:
- A greener planet for future generations
- Cheaper energy bills
- Longer-lasting office equipment
Jake Westrich, EcoPhone Systems, LLC, http://phonesystemscincinnati.com/blog.asp