Simple Ways to Cut Your PC Energy Use

Simple Ways to Cut Your PC Energy Use

Green IT isn't only about saving on big-iron projects like data centers. It also means smaller savings that can add up, such as cutting the energy use of individual PCs. I've got software and tips for doing just that.

Here's where to start: CNet has a very good article about how to save on energy on individual PCs. It recommends software such as Edison, which gives you fine-grained control over when your PC should automatically go to sleep, shut off its display and hard disk, and so on. It's fully automated, so just set the controls and let it go.

Another of the article's recommendations is Vista Battery Saver, which as its name implies, helps Vista users save on energy costs. How does it do it? By disabling energy-hogging Vista features that may be nice to look at, but don't serve useful purposes.

If you're like most people, you most likely keep your PC running all night, even when you don't use it. Smart enterprises use company-wide auto shutdown software. If your enterprise doesn't do that, and you want to do it yourself, don't rely on remembering every night to do it manually. Instead, get PC Auto Shutdown, which as its name implie, will automatically shut down your PC at a time your specify. It can also hibernate or suspend PCs at a time you specify as well.

Even when a PC is turned off, it still uses what's called phantom energy, or vampire power. To stop that, you'll have to unplug the power cord, even after you've turned off the PC. However, there's a simpler way --- get the Belkin Conserve Energy-Saving Surge Protector, which performs the equivalent of unplugging up to six devices.

Finally, if you want to save energy when using electronics at home, check out this excellent article from Computerworld which highlights a dozen devices to do just that.