Published on October 14th, 2014 | by Peter Young


3 Easy Ways To Make Your Computer More Energy Efficient


We live in the information age, where it seems that almost anything can be found by simply typing a few words into a Google search, but did you ever stop to think of how much that convenience might actually be costing you? The answer might surprise you. According to the International Energy Agency (IEA) computers and consumer electronics are responsible for 15% of the worlds residential energy consumption! So to help you lower your monthly electric bill, we’ve come up with three easy ways to make your computer more energy efficient:

3 easy ways to make your computer more energy efficient

1. Use the energy saving settings in your control panel (PC) or System Preferences (Mac).  Be sure to change your settings so that your computer will go to sleep, instead of staying idle when it’s not in use. Desktop computers will use, on average, 74w per hour when they’re idling and “not in use”.

Screen Shot 2014-10-22 at 3.13.04 PM

Set the display to go to sleep after 1 minute of non-use. As soon as you touch the mouse or the keypad, it’ll turn back on, but it’ll save you a lot of energy. Similarly, set the computer to go to sleep after half hour or an hour of non-use.

So if your computer idles for roughly 16hrs a day that adds up to 432.16kWh per year. Which, when multiplied by your energy rate (which is $.3438 on Oahu) that idle computer could be costing you as much as $149 per year! Do yourself a favor, put that computer to sleep.

2. Turn off that screen saver. The whole idea behind screen savers was to keep your computers monitor from getting images “burned into it”. However, computer technology has come a long way and this isn’t really a big concern for more modern computers, yet, they still have the screen saver function. Don’t be fooled. While it might be pretty fun to stare at the pipes wrapping around on your screen, paying for them isn’t. A desktop computer monitor that is running a screen saver will use, on average, 65.1w for a CRT monitor and 27.61w for an LCD. When you multiply that by the 16hrs per day they tend to idle, and factor in the cost per kWh, these screen savers could be costing you $130.71 (CRT) or $55.43 (LCD).  (These figures were determined using Oahu’s energy rate)

3. Turn down your monitors brightness. By turning down the brightness on your monitor you’ll make life easier for both your eyes and your wallet. On average, a CRT computer monitor will use 65.1w per hour while it’s on. If you turn your monitors brightness down to half, that will reduce it to 32.55w per hour, which when multiplied by an 8 hour day of use, 365 days a year, means you’ll be saving 95.05kWh per year! Or $32.68 if you live on Oahu.

If you’re looking for more ways to make your home or office more energy efficient, check out our green home improvement projects! Green Living Ideas, after all, is a top 20 home improvement website!

The following photos were provided by Flickr Creative Commons (computer monitors,

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About the Author

graduated from Pacific Lutheran University (PLU) with a degree in journalism and has made sustainability and eco-conscious living mainstays of both his professional and personal life. It was during his time at PLU that he began his journey with sustainability and it's what has led him to writing for Green Living Ideas. He currently resides in Honolulu and works for Pono Home, an energy efficiency company focused on reducing carbon emissions and promoting a healthier, greener lifestyle.

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