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The economics of energy conservation

January 21, 2009

Do you know how much energy the electronics in your life use when you’re away?

Recently, I ran a rough calculation to determine the extra cost of leaving my computer and monitors on overnight and over the weekend. Based on the manufacturer datasheets, my computer draws 189W, and my two 20″ widescreen LCD monitors 55W each. Using electricity rates for November 2008, if I just put that single computer into standby/hibernate or turn it off when I leave the office, I could save about $21 per month. That’s $250 per year per computer.

Also, based on this number, I estimated the carbon footprint of that energy usage (assuming it was produced by a coal-powered plant), and it comes to about 142kg of CO2 per month. For perspective, my Toyota Prius expels about 470 kg of CO2 per month going 15k miles per year, according to this Carbon Footprint Calculator.

Check out this page at WeCanSolveIt.org for instructions on how to setup your PC or Mac computer to standby and hibernate. They also have a list of more ways to minimize your energy use and affect climate change.

Chad Schneider

Photo credit: Chad Schneider

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