- Author: Karl Krist
A few weeks ago I posted about our efforts to save power in our server room. We're doing that by using the servers more efficiently- which allows us to decommission servers- therefore saving power.
It's a plan based both in necessity (our server room just can't handle any more power Jim!) and to alleviate my own guilt about sucking dead dinosaurs out of the ground.
So let's see if there is a way we can save electricity used by desktop computers- short of just taking the computer off your desk?
(Okay, I know that getting rid of the computer is your dream, but that's not going to happen- yet.)
The real question is can you save power and still use your computer?
In order to find out, we bought a 'Kill A Watt' thingy. It's a device that will monitor the power usage of anything plugged into it. This was about $30 from Amazon.com.
In the picture below, the Kill A Watt is displaying the power usage of my entire computer system:
Dell Optiplex 760
Intel Core 2 Duo E8500 @ 3.2GHz
2 19" LCD Monitors
1 small speaker bar
2.1 watts while in Sleep Mode
98 watts when on, but not actively being used
105 watts under load
57 watts with the monitors turned off
I highlighted that last part, because I think it is important. The monitors take a lot of power!
I also tested the system of one of our artists:
This was a Macintosh 'tower' with two large 24" monitors. At 'rest' it took a whopping 234 watts!
So I did learn a few things:
- LCD monitors can draw a lot of power
- Different computers will draw very different amounts of power
- Sleep mode is a good thing
- Macintosh computers are going to ruin the world one drop of fossil fuel at a time
With this fountain of electric knowledge spewing from my head, how can I use this knowledge for good? I can make a few simple suggestions to you!
- Set your computers to go to sleep!
- Set your computer to turn off the monitors after 10 minutes of inactivity
- Shut your computer down over the weekend!
This will make a BIG difference in the overall power consumption throughout the University. Would you leave a 100 watt lightbulb burning all weekend? Probably not. Unless you hate flowers. And puppies. So don't leave your computer on either.
Lastly, for comparison, here is the the power draw of some other appliances we have in the office:
Small Microwave: 835
Large Microwave: 1,535
I am currently re-thinking my lunch plans. Maybe I'll bring PB&J every day. Maybe I'll install a solar oven. Or maybe I'll just save so much computer power that I can use the microwave guilt-free.
More to come. We'll be trickling information out till it hertz.