Energy Guidelines

Computers are one of the fastest growing electrical loads in the business world. Each year more and more computers are purchased and put to use. But it’s not just the number of computers which is driving energy consumption upward. The way that we use computers also adds to the increasing energy burden. Research reveals that most personal desktop computers are not being used the majority of the time they are running and many personal computers nationwide are needlessly left on continuously.

UA Little Rock IT Services would like to encourage all users to use the Power Management functions of their computers to effectively reduce the amount of power consumed on campus. If you’ve ever walked away from your computer for any length of time for lunch, meetings, or just to work on projects that don’t need a computer, that’s time the computer could shutdown either the monitor or hard drive or both.

Nearly all of us that work with an office and desk use a computer. Did you know that the computer monitor on your desk and the computer itself are consuming as much energy as two 80 watt light bulbs?? The good news is that there are ways to limit that energy use, and you have the ability to make the changes necessary to be a “green computer.”

If you have a desktop computer, you either have a “CRT” TV tube type display or a flat LCD screen. A typical CRT screen uses about 80-100 watts when the screen is on. The screen saver you may have, to create a moving design across the screen when not in use, DOES NOT save energy. However, there is a power saving mode you can set up typically through your screen saver setup. This mode will put your monitor to sleep after a user adjustable amount of no use, reducing the power use to 5 watts, a 94% reduction. A simple wiggle of the mouse will “wake it up” and restore your image in about 5 seconds.

The best thing to do at night and weekends is to shut the monitor off, as you shut the lights off on the way out of the office. A common misconception is that this will shorten the life of your monitor, this is not true. If you have recently purchased a new flat LCD type of display, these use considerably less energy than CRT’s. The LCD monitor uses about 35 watts, and still can be set to a power save mode just like the CRT that reduces it to about 5 watts when it is “asleep.” You need to set this mode, just like on the CRT, so please do so and shut it off when you are leaving the office at night.

What to do with your computer itself…The computer in many departments must remain on at least one night per week for backups or maintenance. In some instances, computers must remain on all the time for nightly network access. Please check with your computer support representative and find out when you can shut it down and do so. Don’t forget printers, server monitors, copiers and other office equipment. They all consume lots of electricity and may require you to set the “power save mode.”

Your system draws almost as much power when it’s in standby mode with a screen saver active as it does when you’re using it. By turning off your PC and peripherals when they’re idle, and by employing power management while they’re on, you can cut energy consumption dramatically. If you use your computer 6 hours a day, you could save
75 percent or more. (And even if you keep your PC on as a server, you’ll save energy by turning off the monitor when you don’t need it.)

Laser printers and fax machines in particular are energy spendthrifts. A typical multifunction laser printer and fax machine uses 300 watts when printing, 85 watts when on standby, and 10 watts when idle. To reduce your electric bill, plug your peripherals into a power strip and turn off the strip when you shut down your PC.
Finally, unplug all the wall chargers for PDAs, music players, digital cameras, and other gadgets when you’re not actually charging, or use the power-strip trick mentioned above to shut them off. They can draw up to 5 watts per hour apiece, even when nothing’s plugged into them.

You can use a number of techniques in Windows XP and 2000 to save power or help protect your privacy every time you leave your system unattended. It depends on what you want to do–and how often you want to do it.

Follow these simple steps to enable computer and monitor power management features for any windows OS.

1. Click “Start” at the bottom left side of your screen.
2. Go to “Settings” and Click on “Control Panel. ”
3. Open “Display” and Click on “Screen Save.”
4. Check “Low Power Standby” and “Shut Off Monitor” boxes.
5. Select the time (choose a short duration, eg. 5 minutes, to get monitor to sleep as soon as possible).
6. Go back to “Control Panel” and select “Power.”
7. Check “allow Windows to manage power” box.
8. Click on “disk drive” tab.
9. Select time (choose a short duration, eg. 5 minutes, to get monitor to sleep as soon as possible).
10. Applause!

When your computer goes into sleep mode, it is easy to wake it up. Just move the mouse.

About Screen Savers

“Screen saver” programs may save the phosphors in your monitor screen but they do not save energy. A screen saver which displays moving images causes your monitor to consume as much as electricity as it does when in active use. These screen saver programs also involve system interaction with your CPU which results in additional energy consumption. A blank screen saver is slightly better but even that only reduces monitor energy consumption by a few percent.

The best screen saver is also the best energy saver, i.e. turn off your monitor when you are not using it! This step also eliminates concern about exposure to any electromagnetic radiation emanating from the monitor.

The next best screen saver is using your computer’s power management feature to automatically shut the monitor down quickly when you are not using your computer, in this case, your monitor will come back to life in a few seconds as soon as you move your mouse.