Wednesday, October 19, 2011

31 Days: Day 18 - It Doesn't Compute

If this is your first visit I welcome you to my little corner of the world! You might want to start at the introduction of this series. It explains what 31 Days of Change is, and has links to each day's post as they occur. Just click on the 31 Days to Slash Your Budget Painlessly button at the top of my sidebar on the right.

I was shocked when I found out how much I've been wasting in electricity by leaving on computers 24/7.  I can remember when having just one computer was a luxury for us.  Now we have the desktop and 3 laptops in this house!  I have a notebook, my son just bought himself a laptop and my hubby uses my daughters old laptop to play card games.  When my daughter is home in the summer, she brings her laptop home too.

There is a lot of variance in how much energy is used by different computers, used in different ways.  Gaming uses more energy than emailing for instance.  If you set your computer to sleep automatically after 10-15 minutes, you will use much less energy.  

Laptops are much more energy efficient than desktops.   I set my laptop to sleep mode the day I turned it on for the first time.  Sleep mode saves 80-90% energy.  According to Mr. Electricity at Saving Electricity a laptop consumes anywhere between 15 - 45 watts.  So I downloaded Joulemeter at Microsoft to test my laptop.  It registered 22.7 watts. 

Using the formula found at Saving electricity my laptop would cost 7.6 cents per day or $27.84 per year if I used it 24 hours a day without sleep mode and never turned it off.  I do use sleep mode and turn it off at night, except Sundays when I leave it on to run my antivirus scan so I'm consuming very little electricity with it.  We are now shutting off all computers at night, or when not in use for extended hours during the day. 

Our desktop, on the other hand, was usually on all the time.  It runs Windows Vista, and Joulemeter is only available for Windows 7, so I couldn't get an accurate watt usage for it.  I used the calculator on this page at Saving Electricity to get an estimate of what my desktop probably uses.  It is constantly crunching for whatever reason, so I know it's working all the time it is on.

According to the calculator a desktop computer with a 17 inch LCD screen, like the one above (if you have an old CRT monitor - the great big kind, like the one below - you will use more energy),  that is on 24 hours/7days a week, at 14 cents per kwH (kilowatt hour), which is our local rate, averages $15.68 per month or $188 per year. Needless to say, it is now turned off most of the time. 

If you are benefiting from this series, I’d love it if you would grab my button from the top of my sidebar. I will be back with another money saving tip tomorrow.  I will keep up a running tally of my savings at the bottom of each new post. Just scroll down to the bottom to see. Thanks for stopping by. I hope you'll be back!

My tally so far:

1 comment:

  1. I never even thought of this! I leave my laptop on all the time and to be honest I am not sure if it goes into sleep mode. I should probably check that out. :) Thank you for the reminder!
    Have a great day!


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